People

Preventing Burnout: Compensation Isn’t the Answer

Leaders in professional firms often struggle to prevent staff burnout; an issue that can seriously impact the success of their business. If a burnt out associate stays on at the firm, their productivity decreases and their attitudes worsen. And when an associate leaves, the firm suffers the loss of institutional knowledge, experience, project continuity, and key relationships that were developed with clients. Leaders then fear how they’ll get the work done and still deliver superior [...]

By | September 6th, 2016|People|

For PR Agencies, Culture Matters (A Lot)

It's repeated to the point that it's cliché: talent matters.  How you recruit, organize, engage, motivate, and deploy your people matters.  But with constant client demands and a changing landscape, it can be easy to let talent management fall by the wayside.  When recruiting new leaders, many firms recruit superstar individual contributors without thinking about whether those people can lead.  That's a mistake, and the numbers in our latest research bare it out. We took [...]

By | August 25th, 2016|People|

You Already Have The Best Technology For Feedback: A Conversation

With firms everywhere getting rid of annual performance reviews, the new mantra is continuous feedback.  To help support the shift, a variety of HR vendors have changed up their software from a long box that you have to fill out once a year to a shorter box you fill out more frequently, or an inbox that collects feedback from e-mails.   But beware technology-driven process changes that don't solve your real problem.  The most powerful technology for feedback [...]

By | August 23rd, 2016|People|

The New Hunters and Farmers: Compensation is about Risk, Not Incentives

One of the most common tropes when thinking about business developers is the dichotomy between "hunters" and "farmers". It tends to crop up when looking at business development styles: hunters going out and finding new business, then quickly move on. Farmers cultivating relationships over the long term. David Maister used a similar distinction to describe firm cultures. Hunter firms are made up of entrepreneurial partners working on their own books, while farmer firms work together [...]

By | July 8th, 2016|People|

What Do The New Overtime Rules Mean for an Agency’s Bottom Line?

Over the past few weeks, I've explored the ways I think new overtime rules will affect professional services firms here and here. But these articles looked at the sorts of larger trends or cultural shifts the new regulations might cause. When it comes down to it, what will these rules really do to an agency's bottom line? To model it out, I create a hypothetical 100 person agency and used salary data from the PR week to [...]

By | June 23rd, 2016|People|

“That Will Destroy Every Agency’s Talent Model” – More Thoughts on The DOL’s New Overtime Rules

When I was explaining the Department of Labor's new overtime rules to an ad-agency veteran over lunch, he nearly spit out his drink: "That will destroy every agency's talent model."  My earlier post on the subject was a little more subdued, but he's right that the new rules have potential to shake things up in the staid worlds of advertising, public relations, and marketing services.    In this article, I'll explore the reason agencies have had [...]

By | June 15th, 2016|People|

Firing is More Important Than Hiring

Building a great team has two parts: making sure you get the right people on it, and quickly getting the wrong people out. But while leaders spend a lot of time thinking about hiring, they push firing to the back of their minds. That's a problem, because while firing might be uncomfortable, it’s even more important than hiring. Why? Because under-performing employees are toxic to your entire organization. They undermine productivity by not doing the [...]

By | June 7th, 2016|People|

What Do New Overtime Rules Mean For Professional Services Firms?

Earlier this week, the US Department of Labor released new rules for overtime pay, doubling the income threshold below which firms are required to pay time-and-a-half to employees who work more than forty hours per week. Traditionally, long work hours have been the norm at professional services firms, who avoided providing overtime rules because professional and creative employees are generally considered overtime exempt. But the new thresholds would have entry level associates in industries like [...]

By | May 20th, 2016|People|