Saatchi-Saatchi-Office-funkt-1
Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bulgaria office, via design-milk.com

When I decided to move jobs to an ad agency, people told me I had better be ready to hit the ground running. Don’t expect them to invest time training you like they did at P&G they said. And to be honest, it’s kind of true. Most things I’ve learned at Ogilvy I’ve learned on the job. Some coworkers have been nice enough to offer their time teaching me how to do things, and I have been working up the courage to ask more people for help. But I definitely had much more formal training at P&G.

The thing is, I am in a talent business. When I worked at P&G, I was selling products. At Ogilvy, I am selling myself. My insights, my strategies, literally, my hours.

But despite being in a talent business, there is not a culture of investing in talent. This is not a knock on Ogilvy, because I have heard the same about other agencies, and other planners have written articles about the dearth of training in planning (this is a good one).

I’ll cut agencies some slack. Being in a talent business comes with being paid by how many hours you bill – which means every hour you invest in training is an hour of billing lost. In the short term it makes sense to push off having senior people train juniors if you have a client who wants to pay for you now.

Unless..

ROI of training > short term gain from billing more hours.

It seems like it would be tough to quantify the value of training. But to be honest, it’s not.

When I joined Ogilvy, I was interviewing at quite a few agencies. And most of these agencies knocked my lack of agency experience, despite me having worked multiple years for the company that invented brand management. I took a lateral move to gain agency experience at Ogilvy. Less than a year later (1o months) I am being contacted by recruiters left and right. And they are mentioning salaries that are double what I am earning now. Companies that wouldn’t offer me a junior role because I had no experience, now willing to pony up tens of thousands of dollars more because someone else has trained me. 

Then, if I am not mistaken, the value of training is high. It’s worth a year of my salary.

Training isn’t just a good thing to do for your employees. It’s good business. Especially in talent.

And, the first agency to not just brand their creative process (which every agency does) but to brand how they’ve trained their employees, might be onto a competitive advantage.

 

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