"Investing in our people isn’t just the right thing to do morally, it is the way we will grow our businesses and our collective industry while improving the lives of our individuals who make us what we are." This is the galvanising message delivered by IPA President Josh Krichefski at the recent IPA Business Growth Conference.
Addressing the packed industry audience, Krichefski set out why investing in our talent generates significant cost savings and creates long-term value, and highlighted the future opportunities that investing in talent will provide. His speech embodies his IPA presidential agenda to put People First by opening eyes, hearts and minds.
Making the business case, Krichefski drew on existing findings on the economic value of ‘belonging’ to companies’ bottom lines and highlighted the recent IPA Gold CPD-winning agencies, who despite another challenging year continued to make the business case for investing in learning and development.
On average, he explained, these winning agencies:
While these figures incorporate general learning and development, Krichefski was keen to point out that every single case, without exception, factored into their business growth a significant investment in the wellbeing of their people, resulting in a saving of money on recruitment fees and a concurrent growth in productivity from more engaged, happier employees.
Some of the universal initiatives of these Gold agencies that Krichefski listed, included: comprehensive investment in diversity and inclusivity training; mental health training; support and resources for neurodivergent staff; Employee Resource Groups, inclusive recruitment training; and regular surveys on well-being and mental health, as well as comprehensive onboarding, appraisals, buddy systems, and employee career paths. There were also more specific things seen as common themes this year which Josh outlined, including:
A number of the agencies also mentioned their investment in sustainability as a means of engaging better with their talent. This is something, explained Krichefski, that backs up the findings in the Ad Net Zero report that found that 71% of people working across the industry are worried about the negative impacts of the industry on the environment and 91% agree that knowing their organisation is taking climate action would improve their job satisfaction.
Regarding the value of investing in talent – not only will it improve our business from the inside out, but by creating a more satisfied, happier, inclusive, more purpose-fuelled workforce of people proud to work and say they work in adland, we can grow our business from the outside in, for which an ESG agenda will be ever more important.
Over the next few months – in addition to running some fantastic wellbeing training, covering Inclusive Leadership & Active Allyship; Inclusive Recruitment, and how to Recognise & Avoid Burnout In Your Teams – Krichefski announced that the IPA will be collating a hub of resources to help facilitate our agency people’s mental health and wellbeing to grow our collective success.
He will also be busy on a number of different awareness campaigns, with Government, with TikTok and IPA agencies to ensure future, diverse talent knows what a career in adland is, what it involves and how rewarding it can be.
In concluding, he also drew attention to the EACA’s new report 'Organisational health, the new competitive advantage in a post-COVID world' which, as well as featuring practical examples from agencies of wellbeing practices, provides a useful list of action points to help agencies on their journeys towards stronger organisational health.
To grow our businesses, investment in the mental health and wellbeing of our people must underpin everything we do. They are our life blood, and we must make them feel valued and feel that they belong.
The IPA Business Growth Conference was sponsored by Moore Kingston Smith, Paprika, and Red Hat Recruitment.