3 Tips to Recruit & Retain Marketing Talent During COVID-19

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has created a difficult economic situation for many businesses, which is reflected in the over 26 million jobs that have been lost. For many businesses, the first thing to get cut is marketing spends which can result in laying off highly sought-after talent. On the flip side, this has created a significant opportunity to recruit freelance talent from a larger pool than has been seen in years.

Before you go on a hiring spree, make sure you have these key ingredients in place to attract and retain that talent:

The right culture

People want to work at a place that produces good quality work and makes a difference. They want to know that their work matters. For marketers, they have to know they have a seat at the table. In other words, a place where marketing isn’t just seen as a cost center, but as pivotal to company success. This is crucial for creating the type of company culture that cultivates talent and inspires them to do their best work.

As Dann Albright, Staff Writer at the Recruitment Blog, explains, “Some people say that company culture is the “personality” of your organization. That it is sort of like your internal company brand. It might be called the core of your company, your company’s soul, the glue that holds employees together, and all sorts of other things. In the end, you have to define it for yourself—because it’s absolutely crucial for recruiting and retaining great talent.”

Marketers are creative, and they want to work at a place where creativity is appreciated. This means the ability to try new things and take risks without fear. Not every marketing effort produces spectacular results. Fear of negative repercussions when things don’t go exactly as planned will prevent people from taking a risk. Promote an agile marketing methodology where small tests are encouraged to quickly learn from failures and scale the things that work. This gives creative marketing teams the freedom to try new things and find what works.

The right skills

Building a world-class digital marketing team takes people with the skills you need that can work together cohesively. A skills gap analysis can help define what skillsets you need to add to complement your team, as well as where you have extensive skills overlap. It’s just as important to have deep skillset knowledge as it is to not over-invest in the same skills across your team.

When identifying important skills your organization may be lacking, consider your job descriptions, company values, and business objectives. Have managers evaluate each team member’s skillsets and what skills may be required in the coming years.

Articulating these skills is important when you’re recruiting. When putting together job requirements, it’s tempting to list everything and try to build the perfect candidate. That person might not exist. Instead, focus on the key components you must have, then let prospects know what else you value.

For example, you might want people that are strong in data analytics, content marketing, or video production. You might need coders, graphic designers, writers, or media buyers. Highlight the expertise, but not at the expense of your must-have skills. As you build your team, look for team members that can fill in your skill gaps.

The human touch

It’s not just skill sets that make for great marketing teams. People must fit into your culture and be able to work both independently and with others. You need team members that aren’t afraid to speak their mind but able to do so respectfully. You want someone that will sell their ideas but not someone that goes into a shell if others don’t embrace their ideas.

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Look for team members that are emotionally intelligent (EQ). 90% of top performers score high in EQ assessments. Researchers say emotional intelligence is responsible for 58% of your performance.

Since marketers are paid to recognize behavior and patterns in consumers to uncover product benefits, it makes sense that they would be strong in this area.  They need to understand, anticipate, and influence behavior (and emotions) in others, and that includes other team members.

Things change all the time. In marketing, what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. You need people that are intellectually curious and willing to learn new skills and tactics. They also have to be able to adapt as situations evolve.

These human qualities are tougher to measure rather than hard skills. It’s easy to get blinded by someone’s technical expertise and overlook these areas. Often, it’s the personal abilities and qualities that can make marketers extraordinary.

Building the best digital marketing team

Following these guidelines won’t guarantee a world-class digital marketing team, but it will get you closer. Create the right culture, give them the tools they need, and hire for both technical skills and soft skills.

Celebrate success and reward creativity. Doing these things attracts top talent and keeps them engaged.

Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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