Ready for the Great Recovery?

During the economic downturn of 2008-2010, many PR agency leaders took serious, even drastic steps to make their numbers and simply survive, including major costs cutbacks, freezing salaries and, most devastatingly, conducting layoffs.

But now, after two years of negative economic news, the newest projections indicate that we are indeed at the beginning of the end. Although unemployment and the deficit remain high, Wall Street, home sales and other critical numbers that reflect the economy’s health are inching steadily up.

More important for most readers of this blog,  PR firms are reporting solid improvements in income and fee vs. one year ago, and agencies are once again hiring, apparently at all levels.

Are you ready to take advantage of this changed situation?

Here are five steps agency leaders can do to prepare for and maximize the upswing:

1)  Start Pursuing Talent: Even if you can’t hire them yet. The rising water of recovery lifts all boats, and the talented PR pros who’ve been staying at jobs they might have otherwise left had the Great Recession not hit will be out on the street before we know it.  Many already are.  Get them into your firm, getting to know your leadership and staff, before they begin a full-fledged job search.

2) Elevate Employee Morale Now: Many agencies reduced or eliminated their employee morale-building programs in a cost-cutting measure, although some enlightened agencies dialed up their efforts to keep morale high during challenging times. Whichever camp you were in, now is the time to rev up efforts to make employees feel wanted. If you don’t, some other agency will, and soon.

3) Reignite Your Training Program: I won’t make the argument that you should have kept your training program at full speed during difficult times. But with the potential for new business increasing, you need each staff member at the top of his or her game. Training, both with internal and external experts, is a critical way to achieve this.  For more thoughts on training, please click here: Training–Not Optional

4) Let Your Agency Stars Know You Love Them: As the economy rebounds, your competition will be doing its best to “pick-off” your best staffers.   In fact, they already are!  You must minimize these efforts by doing everything in your power to let your A and B+ players know that you value their contributions and are creating clear career paths for them.

5)  Don’t Fall Into SCS–Shoemaker’s Children Syndrome: You’d never execute a client PR or marketing campaign without a written plan, and your agency deserves no less. If you haven’t yet done so, create your agency new business plans, with monetary goals, specific client targets, actions and responsibilities. Countless studies show that if we articulate our goals and our action plans in writing, the greater the chance that we’ll achieve them.  For more on new business, please click here:  Finding time for new business

The long-awaited recovery will bring opportunity, but only to those who have prepared for it.

So what are you waiting for?

Ken Jacobs

I’m the principal of Jacobs Communications Consulting, which helps public relations and communications agencies and organizations grow and manage business, and enhance staff performance, leadership and communications skills.We do so via consulting, training, and coaching. To learn more, please click on the “Jacobs Communications Consulting” tab on the top.

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