Key Trends for In-House Leaders

person sitting in an office building working on two laptops and talking on the phone

With ongoing changes in our work and home environments over the past year and a half, creative teams have needed to constantly adapt. Marketing campaigns to attract and engage customers shifted drastically. Some teams had to do more with fewer resources. And almost all teams had to suddenly work from home. So, it’s no surprise that creative professionals’ opinions on their careers and workplaces are different today than they were before the pandemic.

To learn more about these changed perspectives, global talent solutions firm Robert Half partnered with AIGA, the professional association for design, to survey more than 400 creative professionals in the U.S. Here are key trends from our Creative Career and Workplace research to help creative leaders consider how to approach the employee experience in today’s business environment.

Re-Working the Workplace.
The employee experience overall has been a heightened area of focus for companies throughout the pandemic, inclusive of professional development and growth, recognition, wellness and more. Companies are now defining their policies for returning to the office including if they’ll stay partially or fully remote. The research highlighted certain experiences that creative professionals have had while working remotely:

• 66% said their work-life balance has improved.

• 66% said they can successfully manage work and personal obligations.

• 52% said they feel their work is recognized.

• 42% said they are more productive and creative when working remotely.

It’s clear that in many professions, like creative and design, remote and flexible arrangements can work. Seventy-five percent of survey respondents noted being able to work effectively while fully remote, and a majority report that they would prefer not to go back to the office five days a week.

pie chart of back to office survey responses

Are you considering a hybrid work environment for your in-house creative team? While it may pose some challenges to connect and collaborate effectively, this past year has shown us that offering flexible work arrangements can help with employees’ job satisfaction and work-life balance.

Adapting to Digital Acceleration.
Another result of the pandemic has been the acceleration of everything digital, and some marketing and creative teams may still be in the process of adapting. When asked to rate their company’s efforts to adopt new digital marketing or digital transformation strategies and technologies, only 18% of creative professionals said “excellent.” The top response for how to improve these efforts? Improve collaboration across teams or departments.

With high-priority digital marketing initiatives and ongoing workplace changes, it will be critical for teams to reassess how they collaborate in a hybrid work environment. This means reviewing how their teams operate both internally and externally with groups and partners across the business. Having an openness to understanding how to improve day-to-day work across functions to ease processes and expedite deliveries will be critical for success in this new world for creative teams.

Creative Career Concerns.
Our research shows that despite working remotely, creatives have shown a continued commitment to their careers and employers—49% said they developed new skills to add value to their roles and companies during the pandemic. However, three-fourths of professionals said it will be challenging to keep their skills up to date:

graphic of employee skills survey responses

Professional development programs may prove to be a strong retention strategy for leaders by helping to build creatives’ careers in house and offering opportunities for advancement.

This research shows that many creatives prefer the option to work remotely at least a few days a week, allowing for improved work-life balance and flexibility. It also highlights the importance for in-house creative leaders to consider long-term recruitment and retention strategies, paying closer attention to professional development and collaboration across departments. With these trends in mind, consider asking your employees how they feel about their careers and workplace preferences to help your team best evolve with the ever-changing dynamics of our businesses.

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