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Talent Retention Secrets You Need to Know If You Run an Animation or Gaming Studio

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Retaining talent can involve multiple factors, yet when we boil it down to essentials, it’s really all about communication. However, communication happens to be one of the weak links among small-to-medium-sized studios in the animation and gaming industries. These companies are often launched by incredibly passionate visionary artists who have their eyes set on making a mark on the scene with a major project or sensational game. Except, when that whirlwind of a project wraps, that studio head looks around at the ranks and notices that employees have made plans to move on, leaving empty chairs and quite a sizable headache.

Holding on to vital talent is more than just offering valued employees an enticing project to add to their portfolios; it also requires a fair amount of understanding of where they’re coming from and what they need from their employer, as well as communicating your studio’s overarching plan in order for employees to envision themselves embedded in the company’s success over the long haul.

Here are a few insights that will be pivotal to helping studios hang onto talent they can rely on:

1. Make A Plan

The world may know your brilliant brand and projects, but your artistic and visionary talents can only get you so far. Laying out a long-term growth plan is an essential component of running a business. This involves setting a bit of time aside from the current project to look down the road. Are your superstars aware of your plans for them in your organizations beyond the current project or the project after that? Do they want to grow with your studio, or would they rather move on after this project? Making plans for a team member who isn’t on the same page as you can end up being a costly error. Now may be the time to consider the larger picture and make strides toward rolling out a concrete plan and communicating to your employees to create a good succession plan they will be able to participate.

2. Understand the Mindset of Your Talent

Truly understanding what motivates high-quality talent is one of the keys to ensuring your company can retain this specialized workforce over the long term. In this turbulent post-Covid time, where talk of recession is looming, the wants and needs of talent should be clear. Are they looking for a work-life balance to ease the stresses of the job or flexibility to work from a home office for at least part of the week? Perhaps they’re hoping a pay raise is in their cards, especially in light of record-breaking inflation. Make concerted inroads into understanding your talent’s priorities and find areas where you align to ensure you’re on the same page and can maximize your time together.

3. Communicate Your Plan

Outside of making that vital concrete plan, it’s imperative to actively communicate what your plan will look like to your staff. Without this essential step, employees may feel like their time at your studio is limited and will no doubt be seeking greener pastures. Stop bleeding talent by voicing your goals and the plan that will steer you there. Allow your employees the chance to envision themselves at your company 5-10 years down the line, so that they have the opportunity to grow alongside your company.

After implementing these three steps, you’ll spend less time looking to fill in the gaps and more time using your current talent to build toward a greater, more stable, and prosperous future together.

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