Managing young talent in our business: Porter Novelli shows the way

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A lot of the advertising & communication industry bigwigs worldwide agree that attracting and managing talent is the single biggest challenge facing us. But beyond a lot of whining, nothing much seems to be done about in a concerted manner by the industry (or so I think). In this context, comes this heartening piece of news.

Porter Novelli, a leading public relations agency in the US, has created an ‘agency within an agency’, staffed by younger employees. This unit is called Jack & Bill and comprises eight Porter Novelli account supervisors and account executives. The average age of this bunch: 26.

They are running this unit free of services and their tab is being picked up by the parent agency. Because of the younger profile they aim to showcase digital-media expertise and the fashion industry clients. They claim to bring together experience in fashion media relations, blogging, microblogging, viral video creation and social network branding – says their blog. Keeping with the spirit of doing things differently, Jack & Bill called for a pitch — where they invited potential clients to audition to win the agency’s free services. Brilliant, isn’t it? A great initiative from Porter Novelli and kudos to the Jack & Jill team.

Now how many of the agencies in India would ‘invest’ in such a project? The upsides are seemingly stacked in favour of the younger employees who are part of the second unit. After all, they get to polish entrepreneurial skills on the job with the backing of the parent agency. But in the long run the respect the parent agency would command among industry peers and potential employees would be invaluable.

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  1. This is absolutely amazing! Very innovative like I am not very sure but in the US, the advertising industry is far more evolved and bigger than in India? I do not say that this stops the Indian Ad Industry not do something similar but still this matters. As you said, still the attrition rates in this industry is among the top.

  2. is one of the best online shoe shop. If i am not wrong, it is a $1.5 bn firm now. What they do is after recruiting for their voice based customer care center, they give 1 month training to all the candidates. After the training is over, they actually give an offer to each of them, the offer being – “Quit now and get $1000”. Confused? Even i was! But zappos’ logic is that those who want to stay back will stay back and won’t be thinking of quitting at least for more than a year. And due to this offer, they lose around 8 – 10% employees on an average. And zappos call center is one of the most customer friendly and fun loving ones. The executives actually talk to you as if you are her/ his old friend!

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