Academic journal article
By Huberman, Arnold M.
Public Relations Journal , Vol. 46, No. 3
Managing loyalty in the creative services
Creativity is the essence of human initiative and success. Yet, it is also the most difficult human attribute to manage. Public relations and advertising are particularly dependent on the creative output of their employees. These individuals must work efficiently and with consistency, but still maintain a high level of creativity and originality. This type of independent thought requires a significant degree of intellectual freedom within the workplace.
The problem management faces is providing a creative environment without undermining necessary corporate administration. How can the manager of a creative services firm perform this balancing act? This seemingly insoluble dilemma does have a solution: the enhancement of corporate loyalty.
Without a strong creative staff, a firm would be unable to develop strategies and programs for its clients that can give one service or product an edge against its competitors. Individual talent is, to a large degree, responsible for a firm's good reputation and growth. But with individual talent comes a strong ego. This is especially true in public relations, where the ability to "sell oneself" and an idea is so vital. However, the ego can often come into conflict with the organizational requirements of company policy. Without an efficient administration, a firm will lose profitability and eventually fall by the wayside, even with a talented staff. So the ego must be tempered enough to embrace the team concept.
The need for two-way trust
Some argue that a policy of high job security can keep an individual within a required framework. In this environment of mergers, acquisitions and economic fluctuations, however, such locks can hinder a company's adaptability and the individual's opportunities for growth. After all, the only job security anyone really has is his or her own talent. Talented and creative members of the work force have the ability to move around within the job market. For this reason, job security is often not what they are looking for. With the establishment of loyalty, however, creative people will often choose to remain with a firm.
Rather than setting up impractical job guarantees, management should seek two-way trust in the management-employee relationship. If a firm engages in solid and intelligent hiring practices, a policy of promoting this mutual trust between the two levels will be highly effective. It will eventually lead to the growth of a stronger bond--loyalty.
The best way to create and develop this loyalty is through the establishment of a "corporate culture" that gives employees a stake in the well-being of the firm. This is not strictly a financial stake, although finances can play a role.
The corporate culture should cover a far broader spectrum of ideas. The creative talent should be drawn into a situation where they take the progress of the firm as a whole, and not just their own sections of it, personally. Management should attempt to achieve this psychological partnership through mutual trust.
Once a true sense of loyalty grows within the firm, it is essential that management grant more creative freedom to the staff. This does not mean, however, that specialists in a given area should not collaborate. Creative collaboration among different branches of the company, as well as between employees and management, will enhance the growth of a corporate culture.
Loyalty--a potent tool
The creative person's ego will thrive in an atmosphere where his or her ability to perform without a large degree of supervision, either alone or in collaboration, is not questioned. In addition, he or she will place more faith in management's decisions dealing with the business side of the firm. Moreover, while job security simply develops belief in one's safety at a firm, and can
actually breed complacency, loyalty is far more potent for a creative services firm because it creates an atmosphere in which the talents of each member are used to their greatest potential and directed towards the best possible purpose for that member. …