Eimear Walsh Career Advice
From the Great Return to the Great Resignation and now to the Great Re-evaluation, today’s workforce has gone through a major upheaval in the last two years, mostly for the better.Nowhere is this more truly reflected than in the marketing profession. Heavily involved in the digital transformation of businesses, marketing professionals had to rapidly realign their marketing strategies online, no longer able to reach out to their audiences in real life.
For the majority, this meant finding new channels to market and creating a collaborative virtual team in order to do so. However, some had to struggle to get buy-in from their organisations and once employers started bringing people back to the office, it was clear that dissatisfaction with roles, companies and work life balance was starting to make a difference in how marketing professionals viewed their next step.
So what do marketeers want from a role? There has been a dynamic shift in recent years and the pandemic only served to throw this into the spotlight.
To start with, company culture is paramount. A strong and vibrant company culture not only attracts key talent but also retains it, leading to a wider and deeper knowledge base and better chemistry amongst teams.HR departments everywhere have had to pivot to virtual interviews and virtual on-boarding whilst still trying to imbue the company culture into every step without having that in-person experience. Now people have returned to the office and are facing the very real possibility of working in offices they’ve never set foot in and with people that they’ve never met in real life. Company culture has never been so important, and it is what both brings people in and makes them want to stay. Savvy potential employees are reaching out to current and former employees of target companies and finding out what the company culture is like before going for interview. Creating an environment where everyone feels heard and valued is integral to talent attraction and retention. There’s also a direct correlation between happy employees and productivity so company culture not only enhances the employee experience but also directly contributes to the bottom line.
It’s no secret that no-one wants to return to the office full time. They either want fully remote or a hybrid model where they have the option to work from home a couple of days a week. Everyone became accustomed to working from home and enjoying the work life balance that this gave them. Marketing professionals in particular can easily work from home and they, along with IT staff, are well versed in the latest technologies to enable them to create collaborative team projects and environments virtually. Flexible working is probably first or second on any list of “must-haves” when job seeking and employers have to respond to that need or find themselves very quickly on the back foot when it comes to attracting new talent.
Competitive Remuneration Package
Obviously when moving jobs, a raise in salary is key and marketing professionals are more than capable of proving their worth in terms of qualifying sales in order to get an increase in salary when moving jobs. However, as recruiters in this market, we would caution against only looking at the base salary but instead looking at the overall remuneration package. Some companies are far more innovative when it comes to creating an overall package and often potential employees are attracted by the smaller points. Healthcare is a key issue when it comes to packages as are pension schemes but things like discount schemes, wellness days, gym memberships, education and training, access to new technologies,as well as carefully crafted parental packages and employee assistance programmes all add up.
One motivating factor in leaving a role is the lack of career progression within that organisation. This is something that is key, particularly in the younger generation who are eager to spring up the ladder at a far quicker pace. They want to be able to see the possibility of career progression yet do have the vision to understand that this may involve lateral moves as well. Being able to offer that potential to move up as well as autonomy within roles where possible, is vital to retaining key marketing talent and knowledge rather than repeating the cycle of training new talent only to lose them because there’s nowhere to go. When employees are offered career progression, it makes them feel valued and fosters a sense of loyalty with that organisation. A role that doesn’t change is incredibly monotonous. People, especially marketing professionals who are so creative and innovative by nature, want challenges in their role and they want to progress. Being able to offer that from the outset is key to any talent attraction and retention strategy.
Role With Purpose
Previous generations would have put salary as a prime reason to move jobs. This generation is increasingly aware of the value of having a role with purpose. While it’s not necessarily the employer’s job to provide that purpose, it is however their responsibility to support that for their employees. It’s about having a sense of direction and having the same aligned values. In this area, employers should be facilitators. Recent research by McKinsey show that over 70% of people define their purpose through work. However it’s not that they’re driven by work itself, it’s more that they see it as their job having to work for them. So whether it’s a role that challenges them on a daily basis, sparking innovation, curiosity and providing learning opportunities or if it’s a role that allows them to live their lives the way they want, a role with purpose is something that’s high on the agenda for any marketing professional now.
Wish-lists can be long when it comes to what marketing professionals (or indeed any professional) want out of their next role. The above points are the ones we are constantly told are the priority by marketers approaching us for help with their next step in their career. Employers too ask us how they can attract and retain the best marketing talent. It’s simple, create an environment where they would want to work!
Eimear Walsh is Managing Partner of Alternatives, part of the Brightwater Group.