The search for talent is never-ending, requiring energy, creativity, and radar for those intangibles that help communicate character. At Base Beauty Creative Agency, I have learned over the years what works and what doesn’t in hiring to build our distinctive agency culture. One thing that stands out—obvious, perhaps, but underscored by experience—is that people can surprise you if you’re open to whatever they bring to the table.
We love young talent. I have always believed that a great idea can come from anyone—the summer intern, the recent grad, the brand-new hire—regardless of age or experience. But you have to be an active listener. We have always had a robust paid-internship program, with many of our interns successfully moving into full-time roles. But that success is not by chance. Hiring those right out of college who might never have worked in a business environment takes effort, planning, and maybe a little extra patience.
Our COO, Aleni Mackarey, PhD, MS, and I describe our organization as a team of strong swimmers, but throwing someone into the deep end of the pool who was taking finals and writing papers last week is not an effective training approach. In the fast-paced beauty and wellness industry, and with our particular office culture in mind, we have built thoughtful and deliberate programs to help the new kids on the block feel like part of the team from day one. Here are six keys to how we do that.
Each new hire, whatever their experience, is teamed with a veteran staffer outside of their department so they can learn from those familiar with how we work. Communication is encouraged with a “there-are-no-silly-questions” attitude. This gives junior team members a safe space for observing, venting, and growing into the strong swimmers we need.
CULTURE CHECK-INS WITH SENIOR LEADERSHIP
Our C-suite execs regularly reach out to get to know the newbies and make sure they are on course. These check-ins have the added benefit of encouraging cross-department collaboration and expanding learning, as well as helping us discover talents and interests that might not be part of a job description but can enrich and elevate the agency and a team member’s work. For example:
- A community management intern told us she was interested in video, always helping her friends bring their creative visions to life. So, we found a way to transition her to the production team to help with video edits.
- A media-focused PR intern talked about her interest in content creators and influencers, so we made it possible for her to also work on the community management team.
- A producer shared her background in musical theater and became a charming emcee for some of our virtual events.
It takes a little time and a willingness to listen, but the payoffs can be enormous for all.
CLEAR JOB DESCRIPTIONS
Early on, we learned the importance of detailed job descriptions that spell out every single element of a role, as well as how to measure success in that role. This is crucial for new hires so they don’t flounder amid fuzzy expectations. Clarity is key.
BUDGET FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
We offer opportunities for team members at every level to attend webinars, IRL seminars, and conferences, which is especially meaningful for young talent. Whenever possible, we invite new hires to join senior staff at industry events, following up by giving them a forum to share their learning. This fosters growth and provides additional POVs our whole team can share. Additionally, it gets junior staffers in the habit of staying on top of industry news and trends, which benefits us all. So far this year, our team members—newbies and veterans alike—have logged over 1,250 continuing education hours. Over and over, these investments in our people have paid off.
Even if a young staffer doesn’t seem to need their peer mentor, we have each mentor initiate regular check-ins for updates on what the newcomer has been working on so we can identify any speed bumps or pain points. This is how we understand what each person needs to perform to their fullest potential.
BE A CHEERLEADER AS WELL AS A COACH
We tell our young team members that we trust their abilities and know they are up to the job, even if their self-confidence is not there yet. We always communicate our unwavering belief that they can succeed. Sometimes, the team jokes that if you bring up a “fear,” we will create an opportunity for you to face it head on. When we’ve put people on stage for presentations or put them in charge of research projects, they are always grateful to have taken that leap. Facing something new and scary and succeeding at it teaches a lifelong skill that’s useful from the mailroom to the C-suite.
Over and over, we have experienced the joy of watching someone grow from a college grad to a poised and polished professional. Everyone wins.
Jodi Katz is the host of the long-running podcast, “Where Brains Meet Beauty.” She has been a respected voice in the beauty and wellness industry for over 20 years.