How emotional intelligence moved to the top of Adland’s talent agenda

With adland often citing retaining and nurturing the right talent, as one of its greatest challenges, developing the emotional intelligence of staff could be key to retaining and promoting a happier workforce. Mumbrella’s Abigail Dawson spoke to agency leaders across the board on how adland can balance the on-the-job capabilities and emotional intelligence of talent.

Excerpt from Article written by Abigail Dawson on Mumbrella
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It was self-reflection that helped Canning-Brook decide to end her stint at PR agency Mango after just one year to return to her previous agency Edelman. The decision was based around where she could learn, be self-aware and guided by her moral compass, she said.

“It wasn’t about the work style or culture at all. It was about shared values and working with a leader that I am inspired by.

“Edelman is a company with values that I share, and an agency I want to share a future with. It really came back to self-awareness and being guided by my moral compass. That made the decision easy for me,” Canning-Brook said.

However, this may prove more difficult for junior staff at the start of their careers as they might be less emotionally aware and being subjected to change, failure and criticism can be daunting, said Edelman talent director Lynette Edmonds.

Edmonds: “They may feel out of their comfort zone”

“So many phenomenal juniors arrive in agencyland with the hard skills, they are focused, they are smart and academically good. But even as they move up the ladder, if they aren’t equipped with the soft skills they may feel out of their comfort zone when they face different situations or when they receive negative feedback,” Edmonds said.

For those individuals struggling with those soft skills, Ogilvy’s Moore said career development and capabilities indicators such as 360 degree feedback, development goals, effective appraisals and training, could help them know if they are ready for their next role.

“Most people are already doing the job that’s one or two levels ahead of them, before they get the job. I suppose that’s how you know that they’re ready,” Moore said.

“The combination of resilience training, feedback from their manager, some scenario training and maybe some negotiation skills training, might be the package that you need. You almost need to have the three prongs which is the wellness, the emotional resilience type of training and then also the skills.”

At Edelman, Canning-Brook and Edmonds foster emotional skills through the agency’s training and mentoring program and actively look for soft skills when hiring new staff, including: signs of resilience, problem solving, understanding failure, experience of working collaboratively and experience in trying times in their careers and having learned lessons from them to both better their emotional and technical skills.

“Not everyone has such strong confidence and it can be easy to be swayed by what is real and right if they let too many distractions come in,” Edmonds said.

“At the end of the day you have to be pleased with your own decisions,” she continued.

The importance of managers and mentors was also emphasised, with Canning-Brook saying junior professionals should listen to advice and feedback given, using it as a positive learning tool.

“If you have a mentor, I encourage people to listen to their advice and feedback, because they are invested in wanting to help you progress and be better,” she says.

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