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Strategies for Maintaining High Staff Retention Among Marketers

about 2 months ago by Jordan Waobikeze

​From speaking to Brand, Digital & Category marketers day in and day out, there are a few common themes that constantly rear their heads. The more you’re able to cater to the expectations of the market, the longer you can keep them in the business and benefit from the value they add – whilst avoiding the headache of trying to find a replacement every quarter.

Beyond that, the world of food & fresh produce is niche, marketers from other sectors, speaking candidly, aren’t as valuable as those with industry-specific experience. Limiting the candidate pool to those in the sector already.

Right now, we’re seeing a highly candidate-driven market – with the supply-demand curve heavily weighted in favour of the candidate, making it more important than ever to ensure the talent you have, stays in the business.

Here are tailored strategies focusing on how to maximise the retention of your team, based on conversations I have with marketers daily who are looking to leave their roles:

1. Competitive Compensation to Meet Salary Expectations:

Money isn’t everything, but it’s 70% of the equation. If your staff find out they’re being underpaid compared to your competitors – the countdown to them asking for a ‘quick chat’ where they hand in their notice has begun. Marketers, like professionals in any field, have salary expectations commensurate with their skills, experience, and market value. Unfortunately, some of the larger businesses that can afford to out-compete the market have skewed candidate expectations.

The market however is the market. The cost of regular pay reviews and incremental increases can pale in comparison to the headache of trying to find their replacement in a candidate-thin market, where you’ll have to meet current market expectations anyway!

Small but regular pay raises can be a more cost-effective option to replacing your team with new talent. It makes them feel valued and appreciated and can buy a lot of loyalty to the business. Over the long term, especially in a large team, it’s cheaper to retain than replace.

2. Clear Paths for Career Progression:

Career advancement opportunities are critical, we all know that. It keeps people motivated and engaged in their roles. A core tenant for keeping anyone in the business. Feeling stagnant, or worse feeling held back, is one of the strongest push factors for the marketers I speak to.

Often marketers rise through the ranks quickly, it’s one of the highly attractive features of our industry. Top graduates come out of university with ambition and high expectations, which are affirmed when they make mid-management by their late 20s.

For example, an MSc Grad comes out of Uni at 22, works as a Marketing Executive for 18 months, then as Assistant Brand Manager for 2 years, and as Brand Manager for 3 years – the best talent can be at Senior Brand Manager level by 28 – some even sooner! Things then, naturally, slow down as the next career step – ‘Head of’ can take 5+ years to achieve. This period can become frustrating for those used to progressing – they’ll either stay in your business if clear progression pathways & criteria have been communicated – or, they’ll leave the business for an opportunity elsewhere.

If they can’t progress in your business, it’ll be another.

Clear targets, and transparent communication on the timeline for progression, are what every candidate craves. I’ve often spoken to candidates who’ve turned down notable progression opportunities because they know they’re on track to achieving the same in their own business. Transparent communication like this can buy a lot of loyalty from your team and reduce the fear factor of them jumping ship when you can’t afford them to.

3. Embrace Work-from-Home Flexibility:

I know, I know – the trend is moving back to office work. It’ll take time but candidates will soon have their expectations realigned I’m sure. I predict in the next couple of years, 4 days in the office, 1-day WFH will become the industry standard. This being said site-based working patterns, 5 days a week, is firmly a practice of old. COVID let the WFH genie out of the bottle and for marketers especially, an element of hybrid working will always remain the case. 3 days in the office, 2 days WFH is currently industry standard. 2 days in the office, 3 days WFH is highly sought after.

Pushing candidates to give up work from home altogether, however, is a recipe for mass exodus. A fair approach could be a WFH pattern based on the daily commute for the employee – those further afield can flex WFH more. Those closer to the office can work the standard hybrid work pattern.

4. Alignment with Brand Values:

Marketers want to be passionate about the brands/businesses they represent. You’re asking them to shout about your brand & your business – that’s hard to do unless they’ve bought into it. Arguably this is more of a screening process at interview, but even for those currently in your team, checking in to see how much they’ve truly bought into their marketing can be a worthwhile exercise. Those who feel aligned with company values, messaging & ethics are far more likely to ride out the peaks and troughs of their role compared to jumping ship at the first opportunity. Perhaps it’s worth having this candid conversation with your team – how much have they bought into the brand & business?

Maintaining high staff retention among marketers requires a holistic approach that addresses salary expectations, career progression opportunities, work-from-home flexibility and alignment with brand values. By prioritizing these factors and fostering a proactive approach to staff retention, you can focus on achieving wider brand strategies and objectives without constantly having to replace core members of your team – and paying me in the process!