An interesting fact to emerge from the Employer Satisfaction Survey published in the previous issue of Asia Research was the standout performance of Millward Brown when respondents assessed the agencies for “Good Training”.
Millward Brown is clearly associated with providing good training, which leads to the conclusion that they view training as an important aspect of the work environment, staff motivation, and retention.
Training is a significant investment for any agency. The fact that this aspect rates highly with Millward Brown during a period of soft market conditions indicates that they continue to address this ongoing need more effectively than their competitors. After all, training is an investment in upgrading researcher skills, staff advancement, and ensuring clients are well serviced.
This also brings to mind the question as to what agencies consider to be important in retaining and motivating researchers. In many ways, the only incentive for researchers is teaching new skills and enhancing existing ones on top of the usual compensation benefits.
By their very nature, researchers are inquisitive. They ask questions, analyse the answers, and then search for new ways of interpreting data and presenting findings. Those who are armed with the latest information are clearly in an advantageous position for both personal and career advancement.
As our industry undergoes significant changes from the modus operandi of the past, there is a critical need for researchers and clients to be not only aware of but also competent practitioners in the latest techniques and methodologies.
There was a time, not so long ago, when training was, at the least, an annual event for most researchers. A glance through a researcher’s résumé too frequently highlights a sudden end to training, irrespective of the seniority of the researcher. Cost saving eventually leads to a stagnation of skills development for the individual, a loss of the agency’s critical edge, and the research buyer being deprived of the latest intelligence in research findings. No one wins.
Isn’t it time all participants in the research industry recognised the need and benefit associated with providing training to researchers on a regular basis. Research buyers and providers need to agree that financial support for training is a necessity for the future of the industry. The return on investment will be seen. Of course, risks are involved, but that is another story. In the long run, all parties win.
Authored by Andrew Woods, Asia Talent