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Is comms moving towards a state of mediocrity?

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over 6 years ago by Claire Tuffin, Group Managing Director, VMA Group

Is comms moving towards a state of mediocrity?

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Is caution and cost creating a state of mediocrity in the communications profession? And when did "only the best will do" suddenly become "that will do"?

In our experience, the last few years have increasingly seen cost being the driving force behind hiring new talent, rather than just one factor in the decision making process.

More often than not,  companies are being tasked with doing their own specialist recruitment and, of course, it can be successful. But does the very best person get appointed to the role or someone ‘who will do’, someone who is simply ‘good enough’?

And if that is the case,  then what impact will it have on the quality of the individuals and services within the profession? What is the immediate and long-term impact on the performance of a business now that it is widely accepted that communications activity – through reputation management and employee engagement in particular – tangibly affects the bottom line?

Basing specialist hiring decisions on cost is an incredibly short-term approach and one that is potentially going to cause problems for the profession in future years.

The main issue with this approach is that real stars are not being found and excellence has to be identified, tracked, nurtured and developed. The very best talent is not necessarily active on LinkedIn or trawling job boards responding to ads. The best people are often happy where they are, appreciated and well looked after. However, most positions have a natural lifespan, no matter how forward thinking a business is in developing its talent.  People need to move for new challenges, status, salary and, very often, just new surroundings.

So, if great talent isn’t being actively sought out, it stays put and becomes less great. No matter how good you are, out-living a role / company and becoming stale is a fact of life.

The people who are increasingly getting the jobs now are not necessarily the very best out there and so we are left with ‘good enough’ people getting appointed and excellent people staying in roles so long that they end up being just ‘good enough’.

Gone are the days of a job for life, movement is healthy – for both the business and the individual. But we need to keep driving quality and professionalism and this can only be done through demanding excellence and not settling for anything less than the very best.

Obviously there are always exceptions to any rule, but this is a genuine issue the profession is facing. The current trend for generalist resourcers (in-house or agency) being tasked to find specialist talent will prove to be a false economy as the lack of excellence in the future leaves the Communications world ending up wondering where all the stars are.

If you are interested in finding out about how we can help you hire the best communications talent into your team, find out more here. Or, call Sophie Collins (permanent opportunities) or Andy Macleod (interim opportunities) today. 

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