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."
World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas
Rumours that the star wants to move on to pastures new
Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
- 3 Star Wars memorabilia called a 'bit of plastic' by Antiques Roadshow's Fiona Bruce valued at £50,000
- 4 Meet Thea, Norway's 12-year-old child bride
- 5 Russell Brand might seem like a sexy revolutionary worth getting behind, but he will only fail his fans
Ebola outbreak: What is bushmeat – and is it to blame for the disease that has killed thousands?
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: Olympic star must serve 10 years, prosecutor urges
Isis fighters 'crucify' 17-year-old boy in Syria
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Oscar Pistorius sentence: Athlete's wealth and notoriety provoke an overdue debate on South African prisons
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
iJobs Money & Business
£60,000 - £80,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is an leading Asset Manager based...
£27000 - £32000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large charity ...
£50000 - £55000 per annum + bonus + benefits: Ashdown Group: IT Relationship M...
Highly Attractive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NOTTINGHAM - BRILLIANT FIRM - You wil...