How to Keep Your Marketing All-Stars Happy

61% of Americans are looking to leave their current jobs

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People build companies. Period.

No matter how great your product or service is, the talent you hire and retain will always make or break your success. Your marketing talent in particular is crucial to your growth and, now more than ever, with 61% of Americans looking to leave their current jobs, chief marketing officers and chief executive officers must proactively nurture their top performers to combat attrition.

Why are marketers leaving their jobs?

In February 2022, I wrote a blog post predicting that the “mass exodus” of 2021 would continue throughout 2022. Unfortunately, I could write this same post today about 2023, especially as it relates to marketing departments. Here’s why.

D-to-c has plummeted. When we were stuck in our homes two years ago, d-to-c companies thrived (and hired) because of the convenience they provided. With consumer spending shifting back to experiences vs. commerce, the industry is struggling, and so are the marketers who have dedicated the past three plus years of their careers to growing these businesses.

Ad costs are astronomical. With Facebook ad costs rising by 89% and TikTok’s CPM rising by 92%, digital marketers are feeling discouraged. They are trying to find new channels for growth but they can’t hit the ROI metrics found in digital and found in the past five-plus years of the booming economy.

Economic uncertainty. During recessions, marketing headcount and budgets are usually the first to be slashed. The result is frustration and low morale inside marketing departments. As a recruiting firm focused on hiring marketing leadership and teams, our inbox is flooded with people looking to leave their jobs thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere.

Burn out. Let’s face it. Marketing is hard. People are still coming off of the pandemic, trying to figure out WFH or office, and sorting through how important work is in their lives. A burnt-out employee is a tough employee to manage and retain and we are seeing all levels of marketers exhausted with what the past few years have delivered to them.

Keep top talent happy

The interesting thing about the past few years is that with all the fatigue and uncertainty, great marketers have stretched their skills and learned new technologies which are making the best talent, in extremely high demand. So the question becomes, how do you retain your top marketing talent?

Prioritize wellbeing

It may seem elementary, but a commitment to holistic employee wellness is crucial to keeping talent engaged. Given that low engagement is responsible for a $7.8 billion loss in the global economy, CEOs and CMOs must recognize that well-being programs are essential to boosting revenue.

There are three aspects of employee well-being that should be considered when thinking about how to retain talent:

  • Mental well-being refers to how employees view themselves within your organization. Are they confident in your company’s mission and vision? Are they given feedback that boosts their self-esteem? Do they feel secure in their roles? Don’t just assume what they need to uplevel their happiness; ask them what’s working and what’s not working, both as it relates to the company at large and to you as their manager.
  • Physical health. When WFH was the norm two years ago, it was easy for employees to remain active and make time for daily exercise. With many companies switching back to hybrid/in-office, this flexibility has severely decreased. Physical health is directly related not only to mental health, but also to productivity and improved cognitive function. CEOs and CMOs should not only encourage their teams to take time for physical activity, but they should also ensure that company culture allows for this time to be taken.
  • Social interaction. One of the biggest benefits of the return to hybrid/in-office work is the social aspect. For the past three years, remote workers have struggled with loneliness and isolation. Social interaction plays a significant role in employee happiness, which means that CEOs and CMOs at companies that are still fully remote or hybrid, have to make a conscious effort to provide their teams with the opportunity to interact meaningfully with their coworkers (beyond 15-minute Zoom happy hours).

Make time for career pathing

An alarming 71% of employees are unhappy with the career advancement opportunities in their companies. Your people are your power and if you don’t carve out time for them, you’ll lose out. Do you know where your team members want to be in 12 months? 24 months? Five years? Do you have the support infrastructure to get them there?

Take the time to look at your learning & development strategy. Do you have one? Do you need to bring in an outside resource? The percentage of learning and development professionals working with corporate executives has grown to 50% in the past year, as upleveling has emerged as a top priority for employees.

Pay up

The average salary is expected to increase by 4.1% in 2023, the largest increase in 15 years. It may feel like with the economy slowing so should the rise in salaries, but with inflation continuing to rise, and great talent in high demand, you need to pay up to retain your talent. Certainly, the above bullets are critical but money does as well and it is essential you consider what the competition may pay to recruit your marketing leader or top team member and get proactive to match that.

Define their purpose

Help people understand the value they bring to a company and why what they do matters. Why what they do matters to the customers they serve, the team they surround themselves with and the overall economy and global landscape. People are seeking purpose more than ever and it is critical that CEOs and CMOs continuously reinforce the meaning behind their team’s work.

Ultimately, your people are the secret to your growth and people don’t leave companies unless they are unhappy. Recruiting is getting easier right now because we are seeing so many people not feeling satisfied. If you truly take the time to listen to what your people need and take actionable steps to meet or exceed those needs, you can both hold onto your current rockstars and attract new talent to build a loyal team of all-star marketers.