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How to engage your marketing staff and keep them

How to engage your marketing staff and keep them

By Andy Lister, MD at Grass Roots

There is a good argument to be made that engagement is not merely part of managing marketers, but very nearly the whole of it.

Marketing employee engagement is not just about wise words from the latest motivation guru or a pep talk from the managing director. The most common complaint made by employees is that they are neither told nor consulted enough, and whilst this may be largely the product of reflex rather than reflection, it is nevertheless an issue worth addressing – and being seen to address.

Those marketers responsible for directing resource and effort to achieve business aims must begin by explaining to individuals, clearly and persuasively, what is required and expected of them, and how their role fits into the bigger picture.

The clearest definition of engagement is whatever it takes to convince someone that their job is worth doing, so that they enjoy it and want to do it well. We must never lose sight of the fact that internally motivated teams and individuals have higher levels of interest, excitement and confidence, and consequently perform better.

Many marketers still believe that motivation is an inborn personality trait, but in fact there is much that can be done by employers to encourage and promote it.

As well as providing appropriate incentives and rewards, organisations must ensure their people have as much autonomy as possible, feel confident and valued in what they are doing and have adequate personal support.

In our experience, there are four basic ingredients to successful employee engagement:


It is it absolutely clear what is being asked and why? Many managers and team leaders fall into the trap of issuing instructions without setting them in context or conveying how the work to be carried out fits into the overall picture.


Does the person have the requisite skills and competencies? If not, how can any necessary training be obtained?


Are there well-defined goals and evidence of progress towards them, in any given project as well as in the individual’s overall career?


How will success be recognised? This is absolutely key. Read almost any employee survey and a cry for greater recognition is invariably high up on the wish list.

The first three of these underpin the fourth, reward being, as it were, the icing on the cake.

In today’s ‘instant’ society, benefits enabling marketing employees to enjoy an immediate boost to their lifestyle are becoming increasingly popular, particularly when used in tandem with longer-term benefits like pensions.

These ‘here and now’ schemes enable firms to offer their staff the chance to get things like childcare, mobile phones and bikes for work, net of tax and national insurance payments.

Organisations that specialise in the provision of these benefits are usually able to handle all third party payments, manage the communication and allow staff to see the savings they can make through secure online websites.

While benefits schemes offer a tried and tested method of incentivising and motivating marketing staff, we must not forget that, in the final analysis, why we do what we do varies enormously from person to person, from task to task, and indeed from organisational culture to organisational culture.

So whilst the basic ingredients of employee engagement might be known, it is the way in which they are combined and the nature of the additives that can make all the difference.

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