It seems appropriate as a follow up to look at this from another angle – what are the challenges that face employers looking to maintain, and grow their ad ops teams?
I made the point in my last post that candidates with ad ops experience are highly employable. Not only are they extremely rare in the job market due to their overall scarcity, but they are also in near-constant demand from employers.
It’s this tension between supply and demand that lies behind some major challenges that employers face right now if they run an ad ops team.
In a candidate-starved marketplace it’s a major challenge to staff up to appropriate levels – that’s simple maths.
It follows that if you’re not staffed up to appropriate levels, your incumbent staff will be more likely to feel overworked, stressed and worn out.
That’s a bad situation for an employer. Nothing pushes staff out of your door and into the arms of your competition more quickly than working them too hard on a daily basis.
Once your staff starts leaving, the work/resource problem is quickly exacerbated. Your reputation amongst candidates will suffer too – once word spreads that you’re overworking your staff, it becomes harder still to attract new talent to your team.
Naturally that’s a situation that any employer would want to avoid – but how?
It can be tempting to start hiring at very junior levels, and it’s perfectly logical to think along those lines. Bring new talent into the organisation, train them up, and get the burden spread.
Indeed for the long term future of the industry, it’s essential that this process happens. However, I would urge caution – it can lead to further difficulties.
Inexperienced staff can turn into a drain on the time and energy of your more experienced team members. Frequently the task of training new starters will fall in part or totally to the rest of the team. You can see the potential issue – by drawing your team’s efforts into training, as well as the stacks of work they already have to get through, you can end up adding to their stresses.
Investing in fresh talent is essential. But to make it truly work for your business, make sure you equally invest in training new talent – through professional trainers if necessary. After all, they have the time and expertise to do a good job without impacting on the work of the rest of the team.
It can be equally important, as well as looking to bring new talent into your team, to review internal processes and the workflows between your ad ops team and other teams in the business.
Are your ad ops processes efficient? Is your ad ops staff actually carrying more than their fair share of certain burdens?
Certain examples spring to mind – administration of insertion orders, liaising with clients directly on technical matters, helping with internal IT issues.
If your ad ops team is already undermanned, do them a favour and take a look at where the slack can be taken up elsewhere. This requires no further hiring, just smart management.
Above all else, remember – your ad ops team may well be a crucial, nay, utterly critical resource in the day-to-day survival of your business. However, you ignore the aims and aspirations of your ad ops team at your peril. Just because you want them to be happy with a tactical, fire-fighting job for the rest of their careers doesn’t mean that they will be.
So make sure that you’re offering your precious ad ops people what they desire. Take the time to listen to their aspirations and make the effort to help them achieve their goals. By doing so, you’ll drastically reduce turnover, improve morale, and build your reputation as an employer that really takes care of its ad ops people.