Recruiting (and retaining) talent with autonomy

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This morning I was reading about Proximity BBDO’s “Farm” project – a recruitment strategy that brings recent graduates into an “agency within the agency” environment where they develop skills and lead projects.

It reminded me of the new work culture – often referenced and attributed to the current entrants to workforce. Surveys find that this group expects to job hop more frequently and demands more autonomy in the office. They often take early leadership positions.

The danger, of course, is that training dollars could go to waste or benefit the competition when a recent hire walks out the door with all these cultured skills. The most important thing an employer can do is give to this generation is self-directed projects and control similar to what the BBDO program outlines. Independence and training can become a very delicate balance for employers – in particular when there are techniques, protocol and a lot of marketing insight that are not taught in schools.

How are you recruiting and keeping your best talent these days? Has employee churn increased over the past five years and is it more visible in the younger set? E-mail me at

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