• Jane Fordham

- Talent Wars; On Stage @BAFTA

#futureofwork #PRCA2018 #talentmanagement #creativeindustries #PR

Delighted (and a bit scared) to have presented at the PRCA National Conference on Friday at BAFTA. Great event, great speakers with a screamingly obvious but undeniably relevant theme of ‘Embracing Change.’

My goal was to provoke a little, and to bring the PR industry of 2018 along on a journey of workplace revolution, creating more human workplaces. I will implode if we continue to have this talent ground hog day in perpetuity. Gallup says that 87% of global workforce is disengaged so we HAVE to do things differently in future to win the war.

So what is a ‘human workplace’ and how do we go about creating one? I believe are the 8 elements on this journey;

1. Organisational structure;

Structure is often used to suffocate an organisation rather than to unleash its power. Information flow, broadcast top down means that insight and potential is repressed at bottom AND multiple levels of management/complexity foster distrust.

2. Change Management

A business must match the astonishing pace of global change in the world today. If it stops evolving, it becomes linear, outdated and will stagnate. The best model of change management for a human workplace is ‘free-range change,' where you find engaged champions, co-create the change with them then allow them to seed and spread ideas within the organisation. Peer-to-peer comms is vastly more successful than top-down broadcast dictatorship.

3. Collaboration & Engagement

Collectively people are powerful. Because of the speed at which organisations need to adapt, their future success depends on the power of collaboration.

4. Wellbeing

The mental health epidemic is costing UK employers approx. £35 billion a year. The stats on male suicide are chilling as is the picture regarding incidence of mental ill health in children.

To help shape your thinking here on organisational wellbeing programmes, let’s have a quick look at the ‘5 ways to wellbeing’;

· Notice; don't ruminate on the past or worry about the future. Mindfulness is valuable here

· Learn; never stop learning and growing

· Connect; value of human relationships and positive interactions

· Give; might be something ‘small’ like a smile to a stranger or formal volunteering/CSR

· Exercise; need I say more? As good for the mind as it is for the body

5. Diversity

Hope I don’t need still need to make the business case for diversity BUT thinking specifically about talent shortages crudely in terms of supply & demand – the inputs have to be increased. One way to do this is through a more diverse pipeline. A common objection I hear is ‘but the quality and quantity isn’t there in a diverse pipeline.’ I say;

1) You have problem with bias, confirmation bias specifically. People that aren’t like you show up differently, have different experiences and sound different.

2) If you don’t like the pipeline, it’s your responsibility to help change and grow it. For inspiration I refer you to the excellent work of The Taylor Bennett Foundation, Elizabeth Bananuka and The Social Mobility Foundation.

6. Recruitment

Few key thoughts here;

1) Recruiter’s business models don’t incentivise for alternative approaches or change. Amanda Fone at F1 Recruitment is a change agent however and works hard to influence clients but it’s HARD!

2) Recruitment is marketing right? Don’t wait till you have an empty slot to engage the right people.

3) Supply; as per diversity point, you must find different people in different places. Then be prepared to onboard and support them differently.

For creative agencies and clients facing the same talent obstacles, why not work together? Golin are supporting the Back2Businessship ‘return to work’ scheme for the 4th year in 2019. Their client, Oracle is hosting and sponsoring the programme this year (founded by Amanda Fone and R/GA’s Liz Nottingham).

7. Reward & recognition

A purely financial strategy isn't the way to recruit & retain in 2018. Conviction, community & purpose beat transaction every time. Hershey introduced a ‘Global Peer Recognition programme’ three years ago to create a recognition culture. Now feedback & praise is on the spot, peer-to-peer and based around organisational values. In 3 years 73% of all global emps receive at least 1 recognition. Globoforce says recognised employees 50% more likely to stay with the organisation.

8. Development

Proper investment in development, establishing a learning culture, means you get more out of your team AND boost retention;

1. Theory based learning is pointless. It has to be scenario-based, relevant and timely. Solve real-time business challenges

2. I think 60% of the value in development is in the cohort connecting. It builds community and collaboration, helps people connect above and beyond the confines of a job description

3. In a creative industry, we shouldn’t just develop, we should also INSPIRE. Expand people’s minds, expose them to lateral stimulus

4. Because of the speed of change, above and beyond annual KPIs, millennials need support building a long-term career path. Work collaboratively with them on a joint future, coaching, inspire them and see if you can’t build a joint future

So, your mission should you choose to accept it is to explore how you can address these eight pillars and build a human workplace. Ask yourself often;

How can it be simpler?

How can it be better?

How can it be more human?

Each leader, each organisation and culture is different. Find your own way through. I want to leave you with some inspiration from Chris Barez Brown, author and entrepreneur. He talks about ‘upping your Elvis,’ as those who have more energy and love what they do, get more done. Vives la revolution!

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Jane Fordham Consulting

Stanyards Cottage, Chertsey Road



GU24 8JE​

Tel: 07500 725102


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