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David Johnston

Handle Recruitment

HR Division Director

Read more about David Johnston

Blog: AT&T – Taking talent management to the next level


Advancing technology is having a radical impact on the skills that companies need to attract and retain talent, particularly within the media and communications industries.

There is no disputing the power of social media, and because so much online conversation relates to events happening in real time, traditional marketing and advertising companies need to keep up to compete.
Established agencies have been forced to speed up turnaround times and almost act like news media to incorporate events of the day into their campaigns. HR departments play a huge part in managing the evolving teams which are essential to these firms’ survival. 
During the Olympics, US team sponsor AT&T edited footage of gold medalist Rebecca Soni into a pre-prepared advert so that the commercial – featuring her record breaking swim – could be aired in the ad break following the event. To the untrained eye this was an impressing piece of marketing.
But from a HR perspective this type of campaign is groundbreaking. According to a report in the Financial Times, the footage was instantly delivered by bike courier from the event to NBC’s London operation. Production staff then had just five hours to edit the piece before it was delivered to AT&T, the US Olympic Committee, and NBC for approval.
Talent management is essentially using available skills to the benefit of the organisation – but as the way we work advances, the hierarchy of needs evolves. Skills that were once desirable are now outdated and traditional organisational structures may no longer be conducive to efficient output.
HR departments need to take a close look at their people and audit their recruitment, training and development strategies to ensure that they are making the best use of talent available.
When media fragmentation and ad-avoidance are hot topics within the industry, agencies in the field are having to go above and beyond audience expectations to ensure their message is heard.
Although evidence suggests that promotion from within has a positive effect on staff retention rates – external hiring has a crucial function to play in the talent management strategy of a company. Fresh blood may offer businesses the spark that traditional pipelines of candidates may be missing.  
We are bombarded with the stamps of corporate identity wherever we look – and as AT&T has demonstrated, slapping up a logo is no longer the epitome of sponsorship. Marketing firms need to shift the culture of their businesses to succeed – and this is only achievable with a solid and savvy HR function.

David Johnston is director of Handle Recruitment‘s HR division.

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David Johnston

HR Division Director

Read more from David Johnston

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