No matter the industry, companies depend upon their marketing to set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. Marketing campaigns can be the difference between life and death for a company.
Because of that fact, celebrity chef Bilal Jamal Eddine, who works in consulting and marketing for restaurants, went so far as to write for LinkedIn, “The heart of your business success lies in its marketing.”
But that’s not really true. Marketing may be the mouthpiece of your business, but the heart of an organization is its people. Marketing is really hard, and you cannot expect to create a marketing department that successfully connects with consumers — with people — if you don’t connect with and support your own people.
Why Satisfied Employees Are Essential
Analyzing the competition is a crucial way to ensure that a business knows where they stand in relation to the rest of the industry. But, no matter what industry you’re in, every company leading the pack has something in common: they have engaged employees.
Research consistently demonstrates that satisfied, happy employees are the most productive employees within an organization — a whole 20 percent more productive.
If organizations are interested in employing individuals who are actually going to be invested in using their resources fully on behalf of the company, then organizations need to be interested in the overall wellbeing of those employees.
Your employees are inevitably in the midst of a balancing act, and their relationship with your company is going to impact them. The question is whether or not it’ll be a positive impact.
As Doctor Camille Preston writes for Forbes, “Too many companies are overly focused on what they do but overlooking and minimizing who is doing the work, as well as how and why they are doing the work.
While job security and financial stability are important to job satisfaction, so are opportunities to use one's skills and abilities. The bottom line is that people need to continue to grow in order to remain engaged and productive.”
Thus, it’s not just that satisfied employees work harder, but that satisfaction is the very fuel that drives productivity. If the people who make up your marketing department aren’t given tools to bolster their workplace satisfaction, they’re not going to have what they need to do their jobs well.
What Employees Need
Given the fact that those who fill the ranks of your marketing department are human, the idea that they could potentially remain static in terms of their relationship with your organization is really not possible.
As human beings, we’re either doing well or we’re not. If an individual appears to be stagnant, what that really means is that things are not going well. They may not even recognize it themselves, but even those who appear consistent are either growing or withering under the weight of stagnation.
1. They Need to be Valued
One of the fundamental components that allow individuals to find satisfaction in their jobs is having the knowledge that what they do matters. Employees who believe their skills are valuable to the organization as a whole are going to perform better.
Studies have found that 74 percent of employees who have not celebrated accomplishments with their co-workers are more likely to leave their jobs.
You should be able to demonstrate why your company’s mission is valuable, and how your employees as individuals are directly connected to that mission. Why is their place in your company meaningful?
2. They Need to Feel Safe
Employees need to feel both emotionally and physically safe to do their best work. This is something that company leadership has to take seriously.
Employees who feel emotionally safe with leadership know they can raise concerns without experiencing negative pushback. When employees raise concerns, they’re attempting to help the company.
When they cause challenging social situations, there is likely an underlying issue that needs to be dealt with so that that employee can thrive.
Additionally, employees have a right to work in a place that is physically comfortable and secure. This isn’t just limited to AC in the summer and heat in the winter. Your people will be happier when they can count on a work environment that is fun and engaging.
Think outside the box. Is your organization doing all it can to protect employees from issues like workplace substance abuse, the formation of unfriendly cliques, and even break room thievery?
3. They Need to Feel Trusted
Do you want marketers who are confident, assertive, and willing to take on challenging projects? Then give them the opportunity to work without being micromanaged, and watch them flourish.
As we’ve noted before, “You may be the manager but always remember that the employee was hired because they demonstrated the required level of capability. Micromanagement is a sign that you do not trust your team to make even the most basic of decisions. Your team knows you are the boss but they won’t be too excited to work for you if they can barely breathe without your approval.”
What researchers have found is that the more leadership dictates, the fewer employees actually accomplish. It turns out one of the best ways to kill productivity and motivation in your workforce is to obsessively tell that workforce when and how to do their job.
“Studies show lack of autonomy at work elevates stress hormones and can have other negative health effects, potentially even hastening mortality,” writes Yuki Noguchi for NPR.
Again, this isn’t the kind of thing that can live on the neutral ground. Either employee will tackle their work with confidence, or they’ll use their energy combating the workplace anxiety that ineffective leadership brings, instead of using it to work creatively.
4. They Need Room For Growth
If the marketing professionals in your company aren’t working passionately in office, you can bet that they’re doing so elsewhere. The employees who are thriving and are able to happily innovate in their workplace are those who feel they are being given the opportunity to grow.
Mark Lukens wrote for Fast Company, “Smarter workforce development means rethinking not just what we train people in but who trains them, how they train them, and how we think and talk about development. It means using rewards and existing relationships in smarter ways.”
Not only should a company provide the opportunity for employees to move up the ladder, but your marketing department itself should be structured in such a way that employees have the opportunity to outperform their past selves and be rewarded for doing so.
Have you created a department wherein individuals are given the opportunity needed to grow beyond where there are? An easy way to assess this is to ask these questions:
- Is anyone within the department pursuing further business education?
- Are they taking on roles and projects within the department that naturally correspond to their strengths and interests?
- Does leadership value their non-work related priorities as well?
Asking these types of questions will help you determine whether or not you have a department that is capable of not only supporting but also encouraging growth among your employees.
Ultimately, the only employees who will be able to give your company the best possible marketing department are employees who are satisfied. Your department will be productive and innovative in direct correlation to how well you’re caring for the employees who operate it.
If your marketing efforts are struggling, it’s likely an indicator that the people within the department are in need of a change that will allow them to work better. It may seem counterintuitive, but focusing the best of leadership’s resources on employees is the best way to create an environment where those employees are able to focus their best resources on your company’s marketing success.