Posted by: Emily Smoothy

Posted on: .

Fantastic response to our first Talent in Digital Media and Technology event!

Oakleaf Partnership hosted the first of our “Talent in Digital Media and Technology” events this week at The Folly, where we were incredibly excited to welcome Zone Digital’s Chief People Officer, Melanie Oakley as the key note speaker. As a key member of Zone’s executive leadership team, she is hugely influential in helping them successfully increase their talent attraction, retention and development, and is currently helping them through their acquisition with Cognizant Technology. Melanie has worked with several fast-growing media and technology businesses over her career and was able to introduce insight to our round-table of great HR and Talent professionals in the industry.

Key learning points discussed include:

Recruitment/Talent Attraction

  • External attraction - Finding the right talent and ensuring you reach the people you need is all about external attraction. It’s no good waiting for them to step through your office door to get the “wow factor” on your business and what it’s like behind the scenes. They need to see what they would love about your business from the get-go.
  • Establish what your story is – Your company story needs to be continuous across the entire business when speaking with future employee and making sure it is out there for everyone to see.
  • Honesty – Provide honesty from the start by telling people exactly what they are coming into. By making it out to be something it isn’t, will only affect your retention further down the line and the experience of those individuals.
  • Future vision – If your business is going through a growth period, it is important to show future talent exactly what your future vision is past the growth period. You need to establish what that will look and feel like, and how you’re going to communicate this across the business.
  • Pre-onboarding – The onboarding process should start from the minute the employee signs their contract, not the day they walk through your front door. By having no formalised communication or engagement during the time between offers and start dates will only allow your future talent’s head to be turned by someone else.


  • Growth gives people development – Ensure your employees understand this is one of the benefits of the growth and do this by making sure communication and open doors are available across all levels of the business.
  • Loyalty – Ensure every Manager across the business shows loyalty to every employee’s needs and their development. This may involve offering alternative opportunities across the business, even if it isn’t the Manager’s ideal situation.
  • Only offer leadership to those who truly want it – Never feel pressured to strongly encourage well performing employees to become Managers. Ensure everyone who becomes a Manager truly wants that development and let those who want to stick with being great at what they are already doing, do just that.
  • Everything doesn’t have to be so fixed – Use the strengths you have in employee’s and listen to your leaders and employees
  • Engagement – As a business what do you need to unpack around engagement? What are you already doing around D&I, development and recognition and what do you need to change?
  • Continuous improvements – Understand that nothing should be a “quick-fix” when it comes to developing and retaining your staff. Everything needs to be continuously improved and it needs to be authentic.

The event was a huge success with a fantastic contribution to every attendee. For the next module we will be focussing on diversity and inclusion and would love to welcome more HR and Talent attendees within the media, digital and tech space. Please contact to register your interest.

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