Managing employee turnover is a challenge for every organization, even those with relatively strong staff retention. While no one is irreplaceable, valuable knowledge and competitive advantages are lost every time a great team member walks out the door.
Filling a critical vacancy in your marketing organization is difficult and an expensive drain on your financial and management resources. And a long or delayed marketing/media recruitment for a replacement can be even more costly, burdening the rest of the team with additional responsibilities and weakening the overall effectiveness of your marketing.
In the field of marketing, the problem is often amplified because the work is a very customized and individual process. Unlike accounting and HR, which have fairly standard procedures, processes, and guidelines, marketing practices should vary heavily from company to company. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” marketing strategy. When a key marketer leaves your business, the lack of continuity in strategy, messaging, creative, branding and more creates ripples that undermine your company’s image, strategic outreach, sales, customer engagement, team morale and more.
The Unique Challenges of Retaining Marketing Talent
Finding a talented professional with the right skillset is hard enough; it can be even more difficult to find the right kind of person with a marketing mindset that fits your company’s personality and culture. Exceptional marketers possess an uncommon passion for creativity and analytical improvement, and they are relentlessly driven to see the proven success of their work.
Adding to the complexity, we’ve found that elite marketers aren’t motivated by the same things other professionals pursue. They crave challenge and are often more motivated by an interesting job than salary or bonus compared to other career paths. That’s part of why marketers of all levels–from entry-level creative staffing to CMOs–change jobs more frequently than most other professionals.
Causes of Marketing Staff Churn
The tendency toward turnover should be very alarming for any companies that rely on marketing as a major contributor to business success. Keeping your marketing team satisfied, engaged and motivated must be a top priority at every level.
What scares off top talent? There are almost innumerable potential causes: stale/repetitive work, poor communication, an unpleasant work environment, not enough recognition/reward, low potential for career growth–the list goes on and on. What exactly is driving your best marketers away will vary from organization to organization, but there are a few things every business can do to reduce turnover and hang on to your best talent longer:
Hire right the first time
Time and effort invested into finding an excellent fit for your role and company will pay dividends in the long run. Marketing and media recruitment is harder than ever in today’s fast-paced environment, and identifying true expertise isn’t easy. But taking care to ensure you’re hiring someone with the talent to fill your vacancy both immediately and for the foreseeable future means that you won’t find yourself with an employee who’s in over their head a few months down the road.
Time and effort invested into finding an excellent fit for your role and company will pay dividends in the long run.
Another frequently-overlooked aspect of marketing recruitment is culture fit. Companies have a tendency to focus on skillset and experience, but overlook whether a candidate has the right mindset and attitude to survive and thrive in their workplace environment. Strong team chemistry and a mindset that compliments your company’s goals and ambitions is more important in marketing than almost anywhere else–you can’t expect quality results from someone who doesn’t care about who they’re working with and for.
Tailor your media recruitment process to avoid marketers with a history of “job hopping.” And adopt a rigorous internal hiring process that vets for both ability and culture fit or partner with a seasoned marketing recruiter experienced at identifying phenomenal talent and matching personalities with workplace environments.
Allow for creative freedom
Assuming you’ve hired well, your marketers are very talented individuals that chose the marketing field because they’re passionate about it, studied hard to reach the professional level, and are constantly pushing to improve and stay on the cutting edge. Micromanaging their every move and questioning every decision inhibits the quality of their work and makes them feel constricted. Successful brands of the future won’t get ahead by playing it safe and doing the same things.
Give them the opportunity and creative space to do what they’re trained to do, which includes providing ample time to devise more than one mock-up or to propose ideas to solve business challenges with innovative ways to apply their expertise.
Most of the best marketers aren’t motivated primarily by salary–but that doesn’t mean they’re willing to work for less than they’re worth, either. If a professional feels underpaid, they’ll feel unappreciated–and even if they enjoy their work, other opportunities with competitive salaries will start looking more and more attractive.
Exceptional marketing talent is going for a premium right now, and if you haven’t haven’t been in the market for new expertise for a while, the price tag might surprise you. Make sure you’re offering a competitive rate by researching industry reports, asking your professional network, or consulting with a marketing recruiter who has an up-to-date perspective.
Carefully manage workloads
Some people work great under pressure and can crank out outstanding marketing work quickly. Others need more time to brainstorm, conceptualize, and methodically work through a challenge. It’s not a failure of their work ethic, nor an indication of their skill level or even their productivity; it’s just a difference in the way people work.
Any experienced marketer has had times where they’ve had to handle massive amounts of work, occasionally stay late at the office, and otherwise deal with being overwhelmed. But if you regularly demand your marketing team to shoulder too much work at once, it can cripple their creativity, cause them to feel overwhelmed and bring productivity to a halt. Assess current capacity before taking on and assigning new work to keep from overloading your team and pushing them to the breaking point. And be thorough–just because you don’t notice backbreaking loads doesn’t mean they’re not there.
Automate as much as you can
While you certainly can’t automate creativity and innovation, you can and should be finding ways to automate menial, time-consuming tasks that don’t take advantage of your team’s intelligence. By automating where you can, you reduce the daily grind and keep your best talent focused on interesting challenges rather than repetitive busy work.
Stop turnover in its tracks
It’s much cheaper to maintain a great marketing team than replace it. Keeping marketers energized, engaged, and doing their best work is about more than just stepping off the turnover treadmill and the headaches that go along with it.
You’ll never be able to keep all your employees from leaving, but you can maximize their tenure and take steps to keep the most talented marketers around for as long as possible. It’s about ensuring your company is putting its best face forward in all marketing efforts by keeping your marketing team satisfied and doing what they love.
Article Source: iMedia Connection
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