Talented.Agency's Arantxa Aquino on retaining talent beyond salaries and perks

Arantxa Aquino, HR & Talent Experience at Talented Agency, took centre stage at Social Samosa's AgencyCon & Indian Agency Awards to discuss the industry's hiring challenges, Talented's innovative recruitment approach and much more.

Hiya Rupreja
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Arantxa Aquino

Arantxa Aquino, HR & Talent Experience at Talented Agency, took centre stage at Social Samosa's AgencyCon Festival & Indian Agency Awards, where her discussion encapsulated the industry's hiring challenges and Talented's innovative approach to fostering 'talent density' through personalised recruitment strategies.

Beginning the discussion, Aquino pointed out that while most people might think the hardest part of being in this industry is about being creative, she believes it's hiring. "The greatest job at Talented is hiring," she said. From hiring to every other duty, she felt our industry struggles with many basic processes.

"We're famously not a good industry to work in," she claimed.

So, how do we create better spaces for creative people to thrive, making it an ideal place to work in?

Aquino believes, “For that to happen, we need to leave aside all our agency business baggage that we've been carrying around for years.” 

Getting influenced by their tech friends, Aquino explained how Talented now has an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) pool, where upwards of 20% is fully employee-owned. "It's only right that everyone wins from what we build together at Talented."

Further delving into the topic, Aquino mentioned how the most unspoken dream of creative people is to be surrounded by more creative people, which she termed as 'Talent Density'. The term refers to constantly being surrounded by the best creative talent at any given time, as per Aquino. This fosters collaboration, inspiration, and the exchange of ideas, ultimately leading to better work and outcomes for the agency. 

Additionally, Aquino mentioned how conducting survey checks for decentralised decision-making for even the simplest things such as 'lunch break timings' can help to understand employees' opinions.

While every agency hires employees having an idea in mind about who would handle what brand, Aquino highlighted an approach used by Talented to personalize plans for every employee.

"We have a 3-6-12 month plan which we chalk out even before an offer letter is released wherein they don't have generalized job descriptions for their employees but chalk out personalized job descriptions for each employee they hire". 

This assists their employees in understanding their tasks and work better, giving them more clarity, upon joining the agency.

Moving further, Aquino further explained the practice of compensating applicants for their creative thinking time. However, she stressed that hiring managers are advised against giving tests to every candidate they meet. Instead, carefully select candidates they are highly confident about and only administer tests to those who may need a slight push for certainty.

Aquino also asserted that resumes might not accurately portray individuals. Agencies typically seek employees whose personal values align with those of the company. However, she emphasized that success ultimately hinges on the approach to hiring, managing, and promoting talent, as a job opportunity may merely be a LinkedIn message away otherwise.

"Salaries and perks are a start but they're never the real reason as to why employees leave you, they're not enough to retain an unhappy employee and they're not the only thing that will attract the best talent."

We'd like to thank all our partners for supporting this endeavour: 

  • Checkout Partner - Simpl
  • Live Streaming Partner - 24Frames
  • Beverage Partner - Sonnets by Tata Coffee  
  • Beauty Partner - Just Herbs 
  • Entertainment Partner - Times Prime 
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