Why do creative agencies need effective resource management?

February 23, 2021

The underlying fabric of most creative agencies is made up of a group of people who have plenty of unique talents. No matter what these talents are, they are what keeps each agency running and producing amazing creative work. Often, there will be multiple people who all have different skills under one agency’s roof. So, it can be hard to get everyone working as one machine, in order to get the best out of all the moving parts. This is where effective resource management can come in. While most creatives are great at their jobs, sometimes they can lack the skills of strategic oversight that allow everything to run as smoothly as possible from a business perspective. So, many agencies turn to a dedicated person who can manage these resources and ensure that a creative business is running successfully. It’s their job to look at the bigger picture and work out how separate departments and talents can work together as a whole. In today’s post, I’ll be attempting to answer the question of, why do creative agencies need effective resource management?, as well as looking at what this actually entails. 

So, what exactly is resource management?

Effective resource management looks at everything that’s needed for a project, in order for it to be completed successfully and efficiently. This includes everything from the people and particular skills needed, external suppliers such as photographers and illustrators, and any other resources such as technology or materials. To some, this sounds like a project manager. But the difference between the two is that a resource manager doesn’t just look at these things on a project-by-project basis. They will look at what’s required for the whole business to run smoothly, in the present and looking towards the future as well. 

In essence, effective resource management looks at what skills and people are needed, what area of the business they’re needed in, and when. This is on a project-by-project basis as well as looking at the bigger picture. They can then align the businesses’ functions to ensure that this becomes a reality. For example, if a creative agency is looking to take on more graphic design projects in six months time, but there is currently only one in-house graphic designer, a resource manager can work on either recruiting more or securing freelancers to meet these demands. 

Why do creative agencies need effective resource management?

So, I’ve already touched on the fact that effective resource management can work wonders for busy agencies who are perhaps feeling either out of their depth, or disorganised in terms of the bigger picture and allocating resources where they’re needed. But, here are a couple more of the benefits that can come with effective resource management, looked at in a little more depth:

Effective resource management allows everyone’s talents to shine

Many creative agency owners complain about feeling disorganised when it comes to the daily running of their businesses. Plenty of agencies have the luxury of always being busy, with lots of work coming in. However, this can lead to resource management quickly going out of the window, because it feels as though there is simply no time to look that far ahead, and ‘waste’ precious working hours trying to sort things out. As a result, many agencies take each project as it comes and simply try to keep their heads above water and get things delivered. This can lead to very stressful scenarios and is definitely not good for employee wellbeing! 

Or, some agencies try to implement effective resource management by making it everyone's responsibility. Instead of having one person or team that is dedicated to this area of business, the responsibilities are dished out between team members who may not have any experience dealing with it. The result is a fragmented approach to resource management that means that things easily get missed or pushed down the list of priorities in favour of the creative work that these team members specialise in.

Effective resource management looks a whole lot different to both of these scenarios. By truly dedicating it to someone who knows how to do the job (and do it well!), everyone else’s talents get a chance to shine as well. Everyone in the agency can focus on what they do best for the most part, and resource management doesn’t have to be a worry for everyone involved. If trying to manage resources is taken off their plate, productivity and efficiency should naturally rise as well. 

Think about what can happen if there’s no resource management?

When it comes to the question of why do creative agencies need effective resource management, the best answer simply lies in thinking about what could happen if there is none in place! Many agencies find that, in the beginning, they don’t need dedicated resource management as they are still growing, finding their feet, and aren’t busy enough to need it. But what happens when the business does grow, and still no processes for resource management are put in place? A huge amount of strain will be put on teams and projects, and efficiency will suffer. This will ultimately have a negative effect on profits, as everyone is scrambling to complete things with no real idea of what is happening and where things are going. 

Instead, think of all the positives that having effective resource management can bring to any organisation, but especially creative ones. It’s an opportunity to take on more projects, perhaps those that are worth more to the business, as you have the planning in place to account for the resources needed. And, it becomes far easier to plan well into the future. Do you want to expand? Perhaps you want to take on different types of projects? With the right resource management in place, all of this becomes easier to account for as you’ll have a clearer picture of what needs to be done and who you need in place to achieve it. 

How can creative agencies implement effective resource management?

Now I’ve hopefully helped answer the question of why do creative agencies need effective resource management, it’s time to look at how it can be put into place. Of course, ensuring that effective resource management is in place is easier said than done for many creative businesses. Having said that, there are some core things to think about that can help guide you in this journey, so let’s take a closer look:

Look at resource management as an integral part of your company

Where many people go wrong when it comes to effective resource management is that they see it as a separate entity within their business. As such, it doesn’t become ingrained into the fabric of the organisation in the way that it needs to to be as effective as possible. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, agencies need to put some real thought and investment into firstly hiring the right person or people for the job, and secondly, supporting them to carry out their role well. 

Communication is key

Similarly, for effective resource management to become embedded into a company’s culture, there needs to be plenty of open communication between managers and their teams. This is both before and after a resource manager is brought in. Every team member needs to understand why a resource manager is being brought on board, what their job is, and what each individual’s responsibility is to ensure that they can carry out this job effectively within the team. 

Who should you hire?

It’s vital that the right person for the job is hired if you want your resource management to be effective. If nobody in the organisation currently has much experience in it, hiring the right person can feel daunting. So, I would suggest that you approach it much in the same way you would approach any other hire! How will they fit into the business as a whole? Do your visions and values align well? Of course, their skills and experience in resource management are important, but they need to fit in with the wider team for their tasks to be effective.

Who can help?

If you don’t have much experience in resource management, it could be a good idea to take on the help of an outside consultant first. They’ll be able to give you advice on what needs to be done, and the sort of person who could be good for the job. And, they can even offer support to that person when they do come on board, which is particularly helpful if nobody else in the organisation quite understands the ins and outs of it! And, a consultant will be able to suggest training programmes and mentoring that can help the whole organisation in their transition to more effective resource management. 

A conclusion to why do creative agencies need effective resource management

Hopefully, this article has made clear some of the benefits that can come from effective resource management in your creative agency. If you’re struggling to keep on top of your current workload and plan for the future, you may want to consider getting in some help with this element to help ensure that this becomes less of an issue in the future. This will benefit your whole organisation and allow the creatives to do what they do best, without sacrificing planning for individual projects and indeed the future. 

I pride myself on being a trusted advisor for creative agencies who are looking to improve their efficiency and profitability. Part of this involves helping agencies look at challenges such as effective resource management, and how this can be improved. To find out more about what I do and how we could work together, please visit my website or get in touch today!

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