Now that's creative freedom
Advertising staff are being given ways to fulfil themselves within the firms that fostered them, says Roger Trapp
Sunday 30 May 1999
The result, says Marco Rimini, director of strategy and development in the London office of the J Walter Thompson advertising agency, is that organisations can lose talented personnel on whom they have spent a great deal of money recruiting and training. It is a problem that more and more senior executives claim has the potential to rival the internet and globalisation in terms of the challenges facing them.
To address this issue, JWT has come up with an initiative designed to enable its staff to have the security that most desire at the same time as the flexibility that is becoming increasingly necessary.
Mr Rimini says the move is not an attempt to cut the business's costs by putting some people on short-term contracts or a freelance basis. Instead, the agency is presenting it as "the ideal solution" to a dilemma facing many advertising agency planners.
The dilemma is how to keep up the creativity, teamwork and fun parts of working in an agency, yet at the same time make room for work on interesting personal projects which have the potential to generate personal income.
JWT, one of the best-known advertising agencies with clients that include Kellogg's, Unilever and Shell, is not the only business to be looking at this sort of approach. Several years ago, for example, the financial information provider Reuters created a "virtual organisation", drawing on experts in various fields to produce screens better suited to customers' needs.
More recently, Lloyds TSB launched a programme designed to give nearly all its employees the opportunity to work flexibly, provided they could make a sound business case for it. The bank already had many people - largely women - working flexibly under ad hoc schemes, but it wanted to move flexible working away from being just an issue for women with children.
Business considerations are also driving Mr Rimini's thinking. Those becoming part of "atJWT" - as the attempt to - enlarge the agency's "pool of talent" is known - will be carefully screened to ensure that they are offering services the organisation can genuinely use and that they are capable of working alone without direct supervision. They will also be given financial targets to meet.
"It's not driven by a short-term profit motive," says Mr Rimini, while stressing that "the hard-nosed business side of it" is that the agency is seeking to derive income from the venture.
But, beyond providing a space within the firm's Berkeley Square offices for the people to work in if required, he insists he is not worried about how they go about their projects. It is likely that those involved will spend some time in the offices meeting each other and clients, and the rest working from home.
In the interests of maintaining quality levels, and making it possible to manage, he sees the initiative involving only about 10 people initially, though he accepts that if the idea is taken up internationally it could mushroom.
The first recruit is JWT's planning director, Meny Baskin, who will spend part of her week in that role and the rest with atJWT.
JWT prides itself on an enlightened employment policy that it believes contributes to a low staff turnover rate. But Ms Baskin says: "This just has to be a better way of working."
As Mr Rimini explains: "You have to have the best people. And to get the best people, you have to organise yourself in a way that they are motivated rather than being asked to work in a particular sort of way."
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Why this father didn’t hide his daughter’s heroin overdose in her obituary
- 3 Smartphones are making children borderline autistic, says psychiatrist
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
Nepal earthquake in pictures: Photos show devastation caused by 7.8 magnitude earthquake
Nepal earthquake: More than 1,100 killed across four countries and in Mount Everest avalanche
Royal baby: Live updates as superbug closes ward at St Mary's Hospital where Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth
Hermann Goering's daughter fails to reclaim items looted by Nazi deputy during WWII
Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
iJobs Money & Business
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£50000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Service...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is the o...