Blog - Keeping in-house teams trained and up-to-date
by James Diba
Much has been documented about the difficulty that brands face when looking to recruit and retain talent to fulfil their in-housing ambitions, particularly when competing for talent with agencies who are able to offer exposure to a range of client accounts. Some do it successfully, others are less successful, but once you have got the talent in place, how can you keep them trained and up-to-date to deliver their best work in what is a fast paced and ever-changing industry?
1. Internal knowledge share initiatives
Many brands already have a wealth of knowledge that exists internally, however, silos as well as busy schedules can mean that this knowledge is often not transferred between employees and departments. Implementing and encouraging processes which can enhance the level of knowledge sharing can quickly have an impact on the ability to upskill individuals, teams, as well as the wider organization.
In the long run, these initiatives lead not only to increased interest in programmatic from teams who are not involved in the day-to-day, but also an overall increase in digital knowledge across the business.
For the programmatically minded people, they can learn from other teams in the business to widen their skillsets and understanding of how different departments across an organization work – an opportunity that is not necessarily available when working at agencies.
2. Online & offline training resources
The pandemic has turbo-charged the amount of free online training resources that exist and brands should utilize these to their advantage. Many AdTech vendors, consultancies and agencies have released courses covering a wide range of digital marketing topics, many of which are focused on programmatic specifically.
Our sister brand The Programmatic University released a completely free ‘Programmatic Foundations’ course earlier this year to provide an introduction to some of the key topics that somebody looking to further their programmatic knowledge might need.
Conversely, the pandemic has put somewhat of a halt on offline training, but I’m hopeful that this will be able to resume soon. From previous experience working with clients directly and from partnering with the IAB to deliver their programmatic training, I have found that whilst online training democratizes access to training at scale, there is something unique about being able to train face-to-face, being able to really engage with the participants to help them to achieve their ambitions from the training course.
Brands should set aside specific budgets for training courses (or leverage budgets available from HR department), identify which of the different resources available meet their requirements and encourage/necessitate completion of relevant courses within employees development objectives.
3. Support from partners
Many brands have taken ownership of their technology contracts and have elements of support included in the contractual arrangements. Depending on the specifics, this provides an opportunity for brands to leverage the knowledge and skillsets of their partners. In addition, agencies, media owners and consultancies are all valuable resources that brands can and should tap into.
Brands should challenge their partners to support their learning and development initiatives and understand the resources that may be available either as part of their service or as additional fees.
4. Peer Networks
A benefit that is often touted by agencies is their ability to offer their employees an internal peer network, the ability to gain exposure across platforms and clients quickly, all of which contributes to their learning and experience. Whilst these things happen internally, rarely will employees network with peers outside of their agency, mostly due to strict confidentiality clauses, which can lead to a single track approach to product and process.
Advertisers have an opportunity to create peer-to-peer networks of in-house digital practitioners, where brands who are not in direct competition, have the ability to be much more open to sharing insights and knowledge, getting deeper into the weeds of processes and technology, to understand what may be the best approach from one brand to another.
These peer networks allow in-house employees to feel a part of a wider community, reducing isolation, and opening their eyes to untapped opportunities which may exist outside of their current approach.
At TPA we are fortunate enough to work with many advertisers who have asked for our support when it comes to training their teams. We do this organically via many of our ongoing workstreams with clients, as well as via bespoke training to meet the exact requirements of our clients teams.
Ultimately, those brands that are able to keep employee satisfaction and retention high are those that will have the most success when scaling in-house teams, training is a very important element of this.