Whilst this has been an horrific and bruising time for research agencies, it has also afforded us an opportunity to reflect on how we want to work, and how we want agencies to look.
Any move away from presentism is positive. Qual agencies shouldn’t be taking a register in the morning, you should be working with people you trust enough to not need line of sight to know they’re doing their job.
But as agencies start to think about the future we need to make sure we’re not allowing an awfully appealing short term solution to have long term consequences for our industry.
Talk of a new flexible workforce and dynamic agency models is very appealing for both agency owners and established researchers. For agencies a lower permanent head count, no office overheads and the ability to bring in senior people as required sounds great! For established researchers there’s work but also time to explore the cultural and intellectual hinterlands all great Quallies possess.
So everybody wins!
Well, not quite because mid and junior level researchers rather get in the way, there’s no place for them in this blissful future. Junior researchers can’t just get on with things. Every great Quallie learned their trade by watching, listening and copying. Junior researchers need a supportive office culture and need to be given the time to learn.
As an industry we need to find the time and space to bring in and nurture the next generation of talent, (ideally diverse talent). As senior figures within the industry plot the future we need to remember how we learned to be Qualitative researchers and our responsibility for the future of the industry.