Agencies ‘undervalue human resources to detriment of stressed staff’

Marketing communications agencies are woefully under resourced in their HR departments, to the detriment of stressed and over-worked staff, according to Aegis Media regional CEO Lee Stephens.  

Panellists at the Mumbrella Question Time forum spoke about the need to reassess the working culture in many agencies.

“It outrages me that there are so few HR departments in our industry. We really need a commitment to quality HR. We’ve got three people in HR and I couldn’t imagine life without them,” he said.

On stress in the workplace, Craig Davis, Publicis Mojo’s co-chairman and creative director, said that thinking about something apart from work is an important part of the creative process.

“There’s a certain point where switching off and resting is the best thing to do. Go talk to a duck, see a film, sleep or see a mate,” he said.

Peter McDonald, MD of pitch consultancy Agency Register, added that while he doesn’t agree that companies necessarily need HR, managers needs to take the time out to get to know their staff on a more personal level.

“It starts with the culture and DNA of a business. Studies have shown that there is a disconnect with between management and employees. You need to talk to people,” he said.

The comments coincided with the launch of the first suicide prevention R U OK? Day on Sunday. The initiative was the idea of Gavin Larkin, the CEO of creative agency The Brand Shop.

As part of the campaign, today sees the launch of R U OK? Arvo, targeted at the corporate community.

Lion Nathan, News Limited, STW Group, Nielsen and the ABC are among the companies that have signed up in support of the cause by letting staff have half an hour in the afternoon today to contact people in their lives to see if they’re okay.

Larkin talks about R U OK Day in the latest episode of The Mumbo Report:


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