What should agencies keep in mind about the direct marketing business when hiring?

The agency business, often led by direct marketing, is fundamentally re-orienting toward accountability and collaboration. This means that all kinds of agencies must work together to prove and improve their results for clients. The recent economic slow­down will only increase the speed at which this occurs. Here are some ways you can seek, find and hire the best agency professionals in this rapidly changing environment.

First of all, make accountability the core of your culture. An orga­nization that relentlessly improves the way it interacts with employees almost automatically creates a culture of accountability toward its clients. You know you’re succeeding when your employees become the driv­ing force for change and continuous improvement.

Second, hire to your culture more than your job openings. Once your culture becomes accountable at all levels, you’ll begin to see employees adapting to the needs of the client and to each other regardless of formal roles. For your hiring practice, this means the cultural fit of new employees is more important than matching them right away to a precisely defined role. You know you’re succeeding when you hire people based mostly on cultural fit, and in a few short weeks on the job, they have a clear and impactful role for your agency and clients.

Finally, accept the dynamic nature of your employee base. Your employees will want to move to other clients, other roles or even other agencies. Encourage them. As they grow, they will bring new perspectives on approaching their work, working with fellow employees and helping clients.

You’ll also create a powerful talent “gravity” that attracts the best employ­ees. You know you’re succeeding when employees who have left for other agen­cies return to become stars.

These steps will help strengthen your agency’s position in the changing busi­ness climate, while packing your halls with the best talent in the industry.

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