Despite growing global economic uncertainty remaining elevated and mass redundances from prominent tech firms continuing, many companies are still experiencing challenges hiring new employees and – crucially – retaining existing personnel.
Keeping and motivating your top talent as budgets continue to be stretched should be one of the key focus areas for every CMO. However, as simple as it sounds it is not always simple to execute in practice in these post-pandemic times. According to the World Economic Forum ‘The Great Resignation’ of 2022 continues so what do CMOs need to do to address this growing trend?
Who better to speak to then than Joe Hart, President & CEO of the global personal and professional training and development company Dale Carnegie and co-author of the just released Take Command book. Joe is highly experienced at working with different business leaders and helping them navigate the biggest challenges around – such as retaining talent!
1. Compete for Top Talent
Hart believes CMOs need to step up their game, personally engage each of their employees one-on-one, and through “creating employee work groups and affinity groups to allow team members to interact with each other from across all facets of the organization.”
Hart: “In the aftermath of the Great Resignation, employees are demanding more than ever. That means CMOs – and other corporate leaders – must be willing to offer more competitive strategies to compete for top talent – from offering an inviting and welcoming onboarding process, flexible work options, and a wide range of training and development opportunities.
2. Provide Feedback
The current generation of marketing professionals demand real-time feedback.
Hart: “Providing feedback is pivotal to retain top talent so that each person has an opportunity to improve and have the opportunity for advancement, bonuses or salary increases.”
Hart believes there is no better way for marketing leaders to build trust with their team members than giving them the autonomy to work where they feel most productive – this is especially key for companies eager to recruit and retain’ GenZ’ team members who greatly value flexible working: “Flexibility creates a more inviting and welcoming corporate culture. CMOs and other corporate leaders have to understand what motivates their younger employees. Our research shows that GenZ struggles with work-life balance more so than other generations. One of the essential ingredients in collaborating with these younger team members is on-going feedback. I’m not talking about micromanaging. What I’m recommending is that younger employees want to know their value. They want to learn how they can improve in real-time, not just at semi-annual or annual evaluations. That’s also another clever way to build trust and engage with these employees.”
3. Flexibility Remains Crucial
Joe is used to navigating the post pandemic world of work running operations in over 75 countries and helping teams through in-person, online and hybrid programs. The subject of the return to the office has been hotly debated and is something Joe feels is key to addressing the challenge of growing and retaining talent.
Hart: “Companies should consider several factors when asking their team members to return to the office. They should start by asking themselves if it is possible to do their jobs without physically working in the office. If possible, can they schedule times when team members should be in the office to foster in-person collaboration or team-based duties?”
4. Address Individual Needs
Hart and his team have found that marketing leaders should take time to meet with their individual employees and their teams to discuss how they can balance the need for working in person and the value of flexibility to get the best results: “Now more than ever, flexibility is key. If you force people back to the office, you may send a message that you really don’t trust your employees. Companies who can offer a more flexible work schedule are likely to appeal to their team members who have learned how to be hugely productive while working remotely. Post-pandemic more employees are looking for a continued improved work-life balance – which can ultimately lead to happier and more engaged team members.”
5. Develop Empathy
Hart is also keen that today’s CMO takes a more empathetic approach to addressing the fears of their workforce.
Hart: “There’s so much uncertainty and anxiety in today’s world. Future workplace culture is going to improve only when team members are able to embrace their vision and purpose. One of the conversations I have with my co-workers at Dale Carnegie and with others as I travel around the world is how they view what their purpose is. What is so important now – and in the future – is for corporate leaders to spend time embracing what their own vision and purpose is personally – and for the company. This exercise is worthwhile for every leader and employee within any company of any size, and I believe will help team members become more focused and productive.”
It is clear that every CMO needs to develop a greater understanding of how they can inspire trust and create an environment of psychological safety. As Hart observes, this, in turn, will drive employee engagement and instil a culture of creativity and resilience.
As the world continues to change in 2023 and beyond it is crucial that this generation of marketing leaders implement this strategy – or risk getting left behind.