Managing the Creative Class – HR Challenges

This is a discussion in CiteHR identifying two areas in managing ‘The Creative Class’. We take a closer look at this class to understand how to manage them and deal with other HR challenges

Richard Florida in his book ‘Rise of the Creative Class’ defines creative class as, “the class including not only the world of traditional artists (writers, painters, actors, musicians, entertainers etc. which Florida calls the “bohemians”) but everybody for whom creativity or intellectual work is an essential element of his or her personal and professional life. It includes all types of knowledge workers, who produce or deal with ideas and intellectual capital, such as software developers, advertisers, designers, architects, engineers, scientists, inventors, consultants, educators, and many more.”

HR Challenges for creative firm lies in identifying the talent, training and grooming the talent to a level where they are productive. The pull and the push factors need to be identified to hold the talent back in the organization. In this vertical, the type of talent intake is defined right during hiring. The talent is further groomed to deliver in the role, through numerous training programs and on-the–job mentoring. The emphasis on the best fit during the training program is required as it sets the learning curve. The talent will require the natural capabilities to remain creative even during stress situation. Apart from talent retention and best fit identification, compensation structure and mobility will remain a concern. As the hiring increase it creates an increased pressure on the creative firms to scale up their compensation structure with monetary and non-monetary benefits. Incase, the salary offered is not increased certain non-benefits including up-skilling is offered. This is important as it increases the value offered by each talent .Consequently maintaining the talent mobility to ensure lowest risk and highest production becomes a paramount importance. For e.g.: A consultancy may build on the expat program to ensure maximum gain through global mobility. They may deploy the talent at the client’s site to ensure fastest delivery and least downtime to what have been mentioned in the service level agreement.

Roland Deiser shared the challenges in ‘Talent Management in Creative Age’ as , talent management needs to have a strong voice in organizational design , talent management needs to reach out beyond boundaries , dealing with those who refuse to join , managing alumni talent relationship ,managing trust and brand reputation and managing the attractive strategic locations .

Linda Thornbug writes in HR in year 2010 that the biggest challenges of this vertical were “Keeping pace with an incredibly resilient, accountable, diverse, spirited workforce–people who have the ability to synthesize, and excel at dealing with ambiguity and change. I focus fiercely on today’s objectives, but also on unmet and unimagined needs and a vibrant flow of fresh ideas–just like the rest of our people. Ensuring a bank of talent to meet our business goals. Helping the Corporate Leadership Team understand flexibility in terms of people is a necessity.”  Identification of these concern areas is a part of the solution. Though there may be certain limitation to implement them, as the economy would need more time to revive globally. BCG in ‘Creating people advantage 2010’ mentions the top few HR initiatives taken to manage the challenges since last year. It includes cut back on bonus payment to continue , overtime no longer paid out , base salaries reduced, pension plans were reduced , employees forced to take vacation , part-time work arrangement s increased , unpaid leaves were increased , employee encouraged to go on sabbatical , recruitment have started yet certain cut backs exists ,employees were laid off , more temporary employees hired and early retirement was increased.

Finally as written by Roland Deiser, “Talent Management in the creative age is an interorganizational, multidimensional process in which the traditional tools of HR and Organizational Development represent only a small part of the equation. Comprehensive Human Capital Management is also a strategic and organizational management practice, as it transcends the conventional boundaries of an organization and must include the ability to deal with cross-boundary networks and with independent free agent talent. The responsibility for people does not start with hiring and end with firing. As important are context nurturing mechanisms that assure a positively branded relationship with key talent before and after their tenure at the company, and mechanisms that create general attractiveness and sustainable relationships with key talent that prefers to remain outside.”