The Most Valuable Asset
As a producer my decision-making process is based on numbers, efficiency and low impact solutions. I run on the idea that nothing is indispensable, my goal is to keep the show running no matter what. Although I agree with the argument that no one is indispensable and everything and everyone can be replaced, I firmly believe that having artist turnover in a studio is definitely not a desirable thing and something to actively avoid. In my experience, artist turnover has a financial impact of 3 -4 months of wages and collateral expenses. What I mean is that when we hire an artist to replace someone who left, we are spending around 3 months of “training” and losing quota and work that otherwise would’ve been done during that time. For small productions or studios the aim should be to avoid turnover as much as possible. I have made a simple list of key things that I consider essential in avoiding artist turnover: 1. Forget that you have employees. Do NOT treat artists like employees. A standard office environment is not encouraging for them. Prepare to toss out the window strict work office rules and small boring cubicles. Try to show some degree of flexibility, give the office some color and as much open spaces as possible to encourage communication and work sharing, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, invest in good ergonomic chairs with awesome lumbar support. I swear that will generate more company loyalty that having casual Fridays or company barbecues. 2. Encourage job rotation. Job rotation is a tactic that has proven to lower employee turnover, and in my experience it works. If you see someone in the art department that has potential, switch them over temporarily to the texture department, see if they are adapting well and offer a change. Keep your artists motivated by challenging them with training and task rotation, your aim should be to help them expand their skill set, grow within the studio and avoid boredom. If you want to read more about employee rotation, I recommend reading this article Job Rotation: Keys to Successful Job Rotation 4. Feed the artists And I don’t mean with food ( although having a lunch room with plenty of healthy options available is a great energy booster for everyone! ) but feed their creativity and thirst for learning as well. There are many things that can be done that are fun, inspirational, challenging, encourage team work and are not expensive like: 1. Having a blank wall where a mural can be painted and that changes every 6 months or so. 2. Having a “Drawing club” every other Tuesday, the studio can provide drawing utensils, paper, a nude model etc. 3. Inviting someone over to give a masterclass 4. “Smash” tournament anyone? These are just a few examples, but there is so much that can be done, “feeding” the artists creatively is a great way to generate company value between your team . 5. Be a good leader Showing appreciation and warmth towards your team is a key element. Recognize their triumphs , do not satanize their mistakes, let them show you their work, listen and learn what they do as carefully as you can, show them that you value the work that they are doing, and above all: talk a talk, TALK to them about everything, having a good artist/producer relationship is pure gold. Have any other good tips? Comment below!