Advertising agencies are complex work environments and it can be hard to integrate new employees. The volume of work, the number of clients, and the pace of work make it difficult for them to get started. And the difficulty is even greater for an entry-level hire who has to learn not only about your agency, but about the advertising industry as a whole. Get them up to speed, and they can become a valuable member of your team; leave them to fend for themselves, and you may have to start the search for a new hire all over again. A few simple steps can go a long way to setting up your new team member for success.
Give them the right amount of work
Seems pretty obvious, but having too much or to too little to do can be frustrating to anyone, but it’s even worse for someone who is just learning how things work in an ad agency. Having a long list of things to do can leave a new hire feeling overwhelmed and defeated. But not having enough to do can make them feel bored, and second-guess their career choices. A good way to welcome an entry-level employee is with a small list of easy tasks to complete, and some guidance on what to do when those tasks are finished. It’s also a good way to learn what they do if they find themselves with free time: do they ask coworkers if they can help with anything? Do they proactively seek out information to help them learn more about your agency?
Include them in meetings and learning opportunities
When I was just beginning in my first job after college, I remember being curious about how everything works. The natural curiosity an entry-level team member has will help them learn things very quickly. Invite them to listen in on meetings, even if the content of the meeting isn’t directly related to their work. The faster they can get a big-picture understanding of how your agency works, the more valuable they will become. It was helpful for me to sit-in on meetings about all of our clients and partners, even those that I wasn’t going to be in touch with, because I learned the standard process for certain types of projects much quicker than I would have if I was only involved with one or two client meetings. For a designer, it may be helpful for them to have frequent meetings with the Creative Director, so they can learn the brand and styles of each client that they will work on.
Solicit their opinions and feedback
Asking someone for their input gives them a way to express their concerns, or demonstrate their understanding of the content. When I was able to offer ideas for how to improve processes within our team, I learned what has or hasn’t worked for each client in the past, and I felt like my opinion was important. This helped me integrate with everyone much faster, because we were able to share ideas with no sense of “hierarchy.” I felt important, even though I was still learning how everything worked. As your new team member shares their ideas, be flexible, allowing for changes in processes if it will make their work more efficient.
Bringing someone new on board can feel a little risky, but if you make sure to set them up for success, chances are good that you will end up with a valuable employee who is ready to grow and help your agency thrive.