July 17, 2019

Agency View – Staffing Strategy: The Liquid Workforce

by Bethany Harris EVP, Strategic Partnership Group

 

At Active, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to engage with dozens of agencies, large and small, nearly every day.

While pundits comment on the struggles of ad agencies, we’re seeing that the majority of those we work with still manage to dazzle their clients, even amid this time of constant change and increased demands. As clients look for lower costs, less fees and deeper capabilities, agencies are turning around and delivering solutions, in very short time frames. They’re finding resources for these solutions in their staffing strategy. An agile workforce for many agencies equals an agile business.

Those agencies who have fully embraced that the agency model is being reinvented, seem to be thriving the most. Building teams based on real-time demands has become a significant trend. Accenture highlighted this trend three years ago in their People First Report, 2016:  

The liquid workforce is rapidly becoming the new normal for how businesses organize themselves. Traditional methods cannot keep up with the pace of change in the digital age and forward-thinking businesses are already beginning to learn that their workforce strategy has the potential to be a major competitive advantage.”

While the pressure to invest in technology and other tools to keep ahead and stay relevant looms, agency leaders realize that a fluid source of talent resources, being brought in as needed, is more efficient than staffing every department up. The traditional agency FTE (“Full-Time-Equivalent”) model becomes rigid and costly, sometimes causing agencies to need to skimp on hours or inflate them to come in line with the project. Having a flexible workforce is proving to be more efficient.

The “Freelancing in America: 2018” report, jointly commissioned by Freelancers Union and Upwork, supports this trend as well across industries, citing that more than one in three (35%) Americans freelanced in 2018. And they predict by 2027, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be freelance.

Extending existing agency resources by tapping into freelance is certainly one way to fulfill client demands. It’s also an area that Active has been able to provide support for our agency partners. Specifically, our extensive in-house media buying team serves as a resource for securing Local Media, DRTV, and other types of media, depending on the agency needs. Our teams have become the consistent buying arm for agencies at their specific direction, without fees (due to our trading model). We help improve buying capabilities for agencies’ existing clients, as well as come in at the pitch stage to help win and staff new clients.

The result enables the agencies that we partner with to provide clients with the expertise they require more efficiently, retain and win more business, and drive profit to the agency’s bottom line.

 

Source:

Accenture: People First: The Primacy of People in a Digital Age Report, 2016

https://www.accenture.com/t00010101T000000__w__/au-en/_acnmedia/PDF-7/Accenture-Technology-Trends-Technology-Vision-2016.pdf)

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