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January 2008

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Retaining Top Creative Staff in a Competitive Market
By Eric Kimble

The most talented marketing and advertising professionals are routinely courted by other businesses, and employers may not realize their compensation isn't competitive until people start leaving.

To make sure your star creative doesn't have one foot out the door, keep the following tips in mind:

o Be proactive. Don't wait until key staff members receive enticing offers from competing firms to respond to their career needs. “Re-recruit” your team members on a regular basis by asking whether they're content in their positions, providing positive reinforcement and clearly explaining your long-term vision for them in the organization.

o Adjust compensation. To bring in talented new creatives, many firms are sweetening the pot by increasing starting salaries and enhancing benefits. But don't forget to also boost the salaries and benefits of your more seasoned workers to ensure equitable compensation and high morale among current staff.

o Demonstrate flexibility. Maintaining work/life balance is important to virtually all employees. When feasible, consider offering flexible arrangements, such as telecommuting options or job-sharing.

Embrace mentoring programs. Professionals at all stages of their careers can benefit from working with supportive and experienced mentors. Providing opportunities for tutelage also shows employees that you care about their professional progress and potential.

o You never want to lose your “creative genius” to the competition. By proactively keeping top performers on board, you'll prevent them from moving on to greener pastures.

Eric Kimble is division director of the Denver office of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing firm placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project basis. To receive a complimentary copy of The Creative Group 2008 Salary Guide, please call 303.296.1010. For more information about The Creative Group, please visit

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