Success Story: APR
Jillian Gibbs | CEO
Teresa Charles | VP Human Resources
Success Story: APR
Advertising production consultancy partners with TalenTrust to scale quickly and meet client needs
“We are in a niche industry and it’s challenging to find the right people with the right skillset and distinct cultural fit.”
— Teresa Charles, VP Human Resources, APR
“We needed to scale; and we needed to scale quickly,” stated APR Founder and CEO Jillian Gibbs. “In professional services it’s all about the people. The people drive the success of the company, so choosing the right people – finding them, vetting them – is critical.”
“Our people make the difference,” is a firm mantra, and APR strives to enable a high performing workforce and engaging employee experience. With ever changing client needs, the firm must be able to quickly scale and grow to meet these demands.
APR offers the collective wisdom, energy and desire of its entire team to make a difference in the world of content production. The APR culture is rooted in these values: Enthusiastic, Proactive, Inclusive, Curious and Authentic. The firm’s collaborative approach with clients, agencies and vendors is why relationships span an average of 8+ years with clients.
“If we didn’t have the right talent at APR, it would drastically affect our ability to serve our clients,” emphasized Teresa Charles, the firm’s VP of Human Resources.
APR sought strategic counsel from TalenTrust beginning in November 2016.
Charles stated, “Why did we decide to partner with TalenTrust? Trust. Relationships. We are truly partners. It was very clear that TalenTrust wanted to understand who we are, our industry, our culture, and the nuanced roles and responsibilities needed for our team.”
Charles was seeking support in strategic recruitment as well as in creating systems and processes to help organize their recruitment data and track their efforts. TalenTrust helped to implement a new Applicant Tracking System and design a process and workflow to suit their business needs. Over the course of the partnership, TalenTrust advised APR to revise their very robust recruiting process multiple times, to fulfill the needs of their internal customers/hiring managers while advising them on opportunities for efficiency.
In January 2018, TalenTrust also launched a project related to culture and employee engagement. This included design and administration of an employee survey, and analysis and presentation of the results to their Executive Leadership Team and then to their Steering Committee. The results of that initial survey allowed APR to identify and select areas of opportunity for the next year. APR created internal taskforces to address those, and launched another impact survey in 2019 that revealed improvement in employee engagement scores in several of the aspects that were selected as focus areas the year prior. In February 2019, TalenTrust also delivered a customized Interview Training to the leaders and managers at APR.
“The results of the partnership with TalenTrust have been very strong,” emphasized Charles. “In 2018, we screened 1,848 candidates, garnered 50 employee referrals, and made 67 hires. For a business of our size, those are very strong numbers. We would not have been able to duplicate those results with internal resources.”
Among the critical hires were the following positions: Subject Matter Experts, (a key functional production consultant position for APR), Production Analysts, Managing Directors, Brand Executive Producers, Client Services & Project Coordinators, HR Managers and Generalists, Data Analysts, Software Project Managers, Marketing and Social Media Specialists, and Business Development Directors.
Charles added that efforts to engage candidates and develop a talent pipeline for future needs was equally as important as making the critical hires.
“Perhaps we aren’t hiring them today, but we may in two or three years. That talent pipeline is paramount to our success.”
She also joked that the partnership helped end her sleepless nights; worrying about meeting client expectations. “We are in the people industry in consulting, so hiring the right people is massively critical,” stated Charles.
Gibbs noted the importance of the employee engagement survey results. “That insight was vital. It has informed how we can better support our team members and contractors within the APR family.”
Gibbs said, “I would recommend TalenTrust to other business leaders. They can augment your current HR team in a variety of ways – from recruiting to data analysis and insight on key talent and culture trends. TalenTrust is a valuable strategic partner.”
Description: Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Advertising Production Resources (APR) is the world’s largest advertising production consultancy. APR has over 200 associates in 28 countries with offices in Denver, New York, Detroit, and London. Founded in 2000 by Jillian Gibbs, APR provides content production expertise by partnering with global brands, agencies, and suppliers across all content platforms, including TV commercials, online videos, social content, websites, banner ads, apps, mobile content, print and photography, experiential and events. The firm is a privately-held woman-owned company with women consisting of over 63% of its workforce and is fully certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council WEBENC).