By Jessica Houston – School of Marketing Ambassador
Employees are a company's biggest asset. Agree? We think so, and this is why.
We talk to many senior marketing leaders who prioritise the training and development of their employees to ensure they have the best talent for the job. People are the heart and soul of the company; they are the ones who are going to be on the ground doing the work, interacting with customers and driving business growth. So, it makes sense to focus resources on building teams, skills and capabilities to ensure marketers have the tools to do the most effective job they can.
But, training isn't something that happens once, and that's it ticked off the list. It's continuous. There needs to be an always-on approach to learning within any organisation, especially when the pace of change is so tremendous like we are experiencing today. I liken this to high-performance sports (or anyone who is at the top of their game). To become the best at something, it takes time. Hours and hours of practice being fully emerged in the thing you are doing; allowing yourself time and space to fail fast, which we know is where we grow the most. Continually learning new skills to remain relevant is essential, and having the determination to push yourself a bit further each day is what will keep you going.
This reminded me of a quote I read recently:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit"
The more time an individual gives to learning, the more experienced and knowledgable they become. So when we are thinking about marketing, marketers need to learn their craft and practice, practice, and practice, which will drive marketing performance. And this needs to happen at every level of the organisation. Leaders have a responsibility to foster this talent and drive a culture that allows people to develop. When these two things meet in the middle, magic happens!
Let's take a closer look at the real benefits of investing in talent.
1. Improves employee skills and knowledge
We know that we are living in a world of rapid change. No one knows what the future holds. But we know that we need to stay ahead of technological changes that impact the way business is done today and in the future. There is a digital skills gap in the UK (and globally) that needs addressing, which is true across many industries, including marketing. Marketing departments should consider what digital skills they need to develop within their teams to help employees remain relevant and knowledgable.
2. Reduces the need for supervision
With increased skills and knowledge, comes reduced supervision which, is essential for team members looking to progress within the company. The goal is to empower them with more responsibility, giving them the space to put into practice what they've learned. Doing this will free up time for more senior members in the team to complete their tasks and responsibilities.
3. Creates a better workplace environment
Investing in employees' learning and development is a crucial consideration when joining a company for most individuals. This investment demonstrates an act of care and commitment from the organisation to the employees. It will foster a better, and more inclusive, work environment that people enjoy.
4. Increased productivity and performance
Increased employee motivation will have a positive effect on productivity and performance. Employees that feel satisfied and respected in their jobs, and see the benefits of working for their organisation, generally work harder to achieve the company goals. Of course, the opposite is right, so it's crucial to think about the culture and feelings you are driving within your team.
5. Attracting top talent
Companies that invest in their people will see the rewards of employee advocacy shine through. By nurturing top talent with a reliable development programme, the organisation becomes more attractive to external candidates. It's a bit of a cycle. Organisations investing in their people and growing high performing teams will gain a positive reputation for this, increasing the attractiveness of the company to new talent. The trick here is to hold onto that top talent when you find it!
If we learned anything in 2020, it's that our employee's matter. Build a great team of marketers, and you'll thrive.
Get in touch for more information on our upcoming marketing apprenticeship scheme.
Big Thinking: Thinking Big with Richard Huntington, Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi London Group
Apprentice interview guide: Marketing apprentice interview questions for employers
Leading at Speed with Sophie Devonshire, CEO at The Marketing Society
Making Global Change with James Brett, Founder of Plant for Peace