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How to use technology to help attract and retain creative staff

Ana Perez

In a world of full employment, attracting and retaining staff has become a challenge that many businesses haven’t had to face before. With companies bidding for candidates through higher salaries, souped-up benefits packages, flexible working and much more, how can you give yourself the edge? Technology might be the answer you’re looking for…

We caught up with James Bonner, our Talent Acquisition Partner, and Liana Phillips, our Creative Services Manager, to see what they think could help businesses attract creative staff and which technologies could support staff retention strategies.

“Let’s start off by talking about why people are looking for jobs right now? What has changed in recent years that is making candidates search for new roles?”

James:“Looking at the last few years of recruitment the key thing is flexibility. People have adapted to having more flexibility between their home and work lives that in a lot of cases they want to hold on to. I think they’re still looking for an increase in pay like the old days, but things such as flexibility in hours, in remote working and those extra benefits that they had during periods of the pandemic are what’s driving a lot of the action.”


“As you say the pandemic changed a lot in terms of peoples’ expectations. How has it changed the technology we use for the better?”

James:“During the lockdowns, lots of creative organisations became accustomed to working from home, and in many cases performance didn’t necessarily dip. Now businesses are starting to say they would like people back in the office to help increase face-to-face interactions that aren’t through a video camera.

“At Jigsaw24 for example, the culture of the business thrives with everyone interacting with each other. There’s not really a magic answer to make people want to be back in an office, other than making that office environment appealing and, in the case of flexible workers, making switching between the office and home an easy one.”

Liana: “When Covid hit, we had to adapt very quickly. We were used to being in the office and all the design team had iMacs, so while there were some roles that were able to work in a hybrid way already, the design team couldn’t. Very quickly, we switched to giving the team high spec MacBook Pros that we knew would be able to handle multiple tasks. At any given time a designer might have three or four projects on the go, all running different software. The portability of the Mac notebook meant they could work in the office and at home on one device. We also had to provide adapters and accessories such as cases which we hadn’t had to think about for designers beforehand.

“The other big benefit about switching the designers to Mac notebooks was that, prior to Covid, we had meetings where most of the marketing team would be using a Mac in meetings while the designers were sitting with pen and notebook. It has completely changed that dynamic now and it’s far easier for everyone to be sharing work at any time.”


“How about collaboration? Did you find you had to make changes to your IT to keep the dialogue going?”

Liana:“When we were all in the office, we had a weekly meeting where people brought ideas and there was a bit of a show and tell. We found Miro in the early days of the pandemic, which enabled everyone to share ideas visually more easily and to talk through them without having to jump around sharing different windows. Now we’re back in the office part time, we have continued to use Miro for those ideas meetings. The AV in our meeting rooms has also been adjusted by our AV team to make it far easier for people to join from home and from the office through Microsoft Teams rooms. Keeping Miro means it’s a much more seamless experience for those joining from home.

“We were also already using Adobe Creative Cloud libraries, so we could easily share assets between different designers. We also use Extensis Portfolio for our asset management, so had a system in place that gave the team the ability to find files and avoid multiple versions of them. Both of those systems helped us make sure that people weren’t tempted to just save things on to their desktop, which causes all kinds of problems.

“Not to sound too focused on Adobe, but Creative Cloud also includes Acrobat and a few years ago we made the decision to go paperless with our proofing and approvals processes, so we already had that in place and literally didn’t need to change the way we were working there at all.”


“Have you come across candidates who are concerned about technical problems (collaborative and IT errors) when working from home?”

Liana:“It’s actually a challenge for us as a team and something we have found candidates realise could be a problem once they get into a role. Often being in a creative team, we have some unique challenges, such as server access, asset management logins, even little things such as choosing the right settings when on a Teams call that can just naturally be more of a challenge when you’re working from home – in our work, even half an hour of downtime can have a huge impact on deadlines.

“Thankfully the whole team uses Adobe Creative Cloud which, at least as far as software updates are concerned, is a breeze. It requires minimal end user input and essentially whenever new features are out, they are deployed direct to our team rather than requiring IT intervention. For broader IT issues, our internal support is second to none because we have robust device management and security implemented, but we also live and breathe by the support we offer to customers, so internally we use the tools that we use when handling customer cases. We even use our own Elevate24 platform so that if you need to download a specific piece of software for a project, you can easily do that without having to wait on IT to type in an admin password – so we’re able to work within the company’s security requirements without it impacting end user performance.”


“How important do you feel first impressions are when acquiring and retaining new talent?”

James:“It’s massive. Before a few years ago, video interviews were quite rare for a lot of roles. The pandemic changed a lot of that and things such as Microsoft Teams made it so easy for businesses to use video as part of their interview process in a way that hadn’t previously been possible. But my personal view is that it’s harder to get a true reflection of someone over video, and that creates a problem for managers because they have to try and unpick whether that person should get to a second in-person interview without really having a true sense of who they are.

“It’s also more challenging for candidates themselves because the interview is as much for them as it is for the employer. When I came to Jigsaw24 for example, I’d come from a background that was very reliant on wearing suits every day. Walking around our building, people were in far more comfortable clothing. I saw the crazy meeting rooms and everyone using a Mac at their desk and it just seemed really vibrant and like a place I wanted to work.”


“You mentioned the appeal of seeing Macs on desks – how important do you think technology is in swaying new recruits and giving them a good experience when they have started?”

James:“It was huge for me. On my first day, I was met with a MacBook Air, a case and everything I needed, and that gave me a really good feeling about the experience I was going to have. So I think there’s something important about having a seamless technology experience for everybody. But specifically for creative teams, offering them the right IT is so crucial. If it’s not going to work, and it’s not going to work for them, they will move to another business. It's as simple as that.”


Liana:“When it comes to people looking to join our team, there are three tools that we find are important. The first is clearly the Mac – we have had people come for interviews who can’t wait to get on to macOS. The second is the Adobe toolset. We know that there are alternatives out there, but because Creative Cloud has the full suite of apps it’s perfect for our needs as we work across all mediums – video, email, web, print, social. It’s also an industry standard so we find that the bulk of candidates have experience using it as well as graduates fresh out of uni. It’s also really important for us that our team feel like they’re getting value from their time with us and using that software gives them the chance to develop new skills. Adobe even have a ton of resources that help designers learn new tools and grow their portfolio.

“The last one is a bit of a hot topic in our team – Wacom. Often we find that designers come to us and they have loved using Wacom tablets in a previous role, or they haven’t used them at all. We always like to give people the option of whether they’d prefer to use a Wacom tablet or a Magic Mouse, and leave it up to their individual preference. It’s a debate we often have as to what’s best, but the Wacom converts always defend their Intuos Pro tablets without fail. Either way, we always make sure people get to use what they prefer using.”


“Another debate businesses often find that they have is around Mac and PC – what’s your view on it?”

James:“I think it’s something that businesses are having to deal with in a bigger way in recent years. I needed training on Mac when I joined, for example. It used to be that you were given a PC for most roles, and it was assumed that you had the skills to use that platform. Now, you have employees choosing to use Mac because they know and love it, or choosing it but with absolutely no experience of the Apple ecosystem. In either scenario, offering training to those employees to bring them up to speed and show them how intuitive it can be is important.”

Liana:“I have always used a Mac – it’s less about the hardware as it is about macOS. I know that platform inside out and feel incredibly comfortable using it. It’s completely a preference thing but right now, typically you find that designers tend to have been moved to Mac at a relatively early age. James said it best early on – when it comes to technology it’s about choice and ease of use, and if employees are able to enjoy and rely on their IT, it’s the cherry on top of a great role.”

If you’re looking to enable flexible working for a creative team, or want to use technology to help attract and retain talent, get in touch with the team. Our sales team can work with you to provide all of the hardware and accessories mentioned, Adobe Creative Cloud, asset management, as well as device management and support services. Speak to them about their Advanced Replacement service which will ensure minimal downtime for your team in the event of hardware failure.

Fill in the form and let them know how they can help.

We can help

If you’re looking to enable flexible working for a creative team, or want to use technology to help attract and retain talent, get in touch with the team. Our sales team can work with you to provide all of the hardware and accessories mentioned, Adobe Creative Cloud, asset management, as well as device management and support services. Speak to them about their Advanced Replacement service which will ensure minimal downtime for your team in the event of hardware failure.

Fill in the form and let them know how they can help.

Call 03332 409 321, email or pop your details in the form.

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