Form Follows Function: A staffing approach for in-house teams

TeamAt a high level, there are fundamental skills, aptitudes and talents that need to be captured in an in-house creative team in order for that team to be successful. Yet there are many other considerations that need to be addressed when assembling or refining a group and the design adage “form follows function” is often an appropriate approach to take.

It’s easy to default to allowing a team to grow organically to meet business needs and in some cases that tactic works well. The problem is that business needs are changing very quickly; from print to interactive, tactical to more strategic and single service to multi-service models. If creative teams don’t proactively adapt their staffs accordingly, they’ll become irrelevant.

The key is to continually assess your market. Interviewing clients and upper management and asking where they see their creative needs evolving in the short- and long-term is the most obvious action to take. In addition, reading the creative industry trades as well as publications focused on your company’s business is equally important. Finally, constantly checking in with your team members who are in the trenches and have a first-hand view of what’s going on in your marketplace will round out the strategies you should adopt to keep your finger on the pulse of your company’s creative services requirements.

As you become aware of new services gaps, you’ll need to true up your team’s expertise to bridge those areas of misalignment. There are a number of staffing options available for this. You may bring in freelancers on an as-needed basis. If the need is ongoing, then part-time flex-staffers may be in order. When there’s truly a major business shift, an assertive restructure with reduction in unneeded team members and a buildup of talent whose skills best meet the new business environment may be the best approach. Cross-training and professional development for existing team members is also an option worth considering.

Whatever environment you find yourself and your team in, the form your team takes should be a reflection of the functions required of it to meet current and future creative services needs.

In-house Designer Resource

You’ll be ready to tackle in-house specific issues with this Collection, featuring exceptional presentations from the 2013 InHOWse Managers Conference. Learn new strategies and techniques for managing an in-house team, workflow and more. With nearly 14 hours of professional advice, you’ll discover plenty of new ideas!