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How to Keep Your Talent Around As the World Opens Up

As the world opens back up and brands seek to make a splashy return to the marketplace, there’s naturally been a boom in design work. At the same time, however, firms are confronting a labor shortage of graphic designers. That’s why it’s more important than ever that firms think about the best ways to retain their top creatives.

Where the Labor Market Stands

It’s not only that firms are having trouble hiring right now—employee retention is also becoming more and more difficult. There are a number of reasons for this, from pandemic-related burnout to increased workload to the desire on the part of many workers to seek out new opportunities as the economy rebounds. But the bottom line is it’s in a firm’s best interest to keep its top performers sticking around.

Four Ways Design Firms Can Hold Onto Their Top Performers

Obviously, pay increases are a great way to show your employees you value their work, but as many firms continue to stabilize their financials, it’s good to keep other strategies in mind as well.

1. Emphasize Connection

Communication is key when it comes to creating an environment that encourages top talent to stick around. Obviously, that was made even more challenging during the pandemic, when most designers were working from home. Communication isn’t just about letting employees know what they need to be working on and when — it’s also about supporting them, providing space for questions and concerns and regular check-ins, and making sure they’re able to connect with their coworkers.

2. Encourage Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Not only is an inclusive, diverse team a stronger team — with some studies showing that diverse companies are roughly 33% more likely to perform better than their competitors — it’s also a more cohesive team. When employees are comfortable being open and expressing their unique viewpoints and ideas, they’re far more likely to enjoy their workplace environment and stick around.

3. Keep Things Flexible

We’re not simply talking about work-from-home and hybrid work environments when we encourage you to keep things flexible. Graphic designers as a whole tend to value flexibility, and have by and large enjoyed the unprecedented work schedules provided by the pandemic. Our big piece of advice? Don’t be afraid to keep things flexible. Ultimately, your top performers are working hard for you, and are probably concerned about work-life balance. So make things easier for them when you can.

4. Foster Professional Development

Now more than ever, employees across a wide range of professions are rethinking their professional and career goals and asking themselves tough questions about what matters to them. If an employee feels like their options are limited at your firm, they won’t hesitate about looking for a new position. Offering leadership and training opportunities and scheduling regular check-ins can help your top performers feel that their future matters to you.


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