Keeping Talent: Think outside the bucks

October 05, 2012  |  Michelle Warren  |  Comments

Marketing unveiled its 2012 Salary Benchmarks survey in its Oct. 8 issue, running a sector-by-sector breakdown of salary ranges for every level of the marketing industry alongside reporting and commentary on issues shaping the marketing job market. Over the coming days, will present some of that editorial package, explore freelancing, pay raises, title changes and talent retention.

Holding onto hot talent isn’t always about paying more

Even with the economy on shaky ground, the industry has no shortage of “job hoppers.” Individuals with hot skill sets whose resumes are populated with one- and two-year stints as they move from job to job to job, lured by the ubiquitous $10,000 salary boost.

It’s a trend that represents a big cost to employers, even the ones that don’t hire them, says Mark Rouse, partner, IQ Partners in Toronto. “They drive the market range for each of their successive positions higher, for every employer that has that position.”

The irony, say the experts, is that money isn’t to blame for all the moving around. In the bestseller Drive, author Daniel Pink draws on four decades of scientific research to examine the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Money doesn’t even make the list.

“Money is not a key motivator. But when employers offer none of the motivators that matter to their top talent, their top talent leaves—for money,” says Rouse. “In coming years, smart companies will leverage the real motivators and their talent will stay.”

He’s reached out to countless candidates and he sees the same patterns over and over.

“Those who want to leave tell us they feel that their success is not within their control, or that they aren’t learning what they need to advance their careers, or that the work they do has no personal meaning to them,” says Rouse. “Those who want to stay talk about culture, about engagement and about bosses that are mentoring them in their careers. They talk about how much they are learning and how they love the work they are doing. They don’t ask about money. Ever.”

He argues that in addition to better retention, companies that cultivate this reputation will reap the rewards of happier clients, greater productivity and will pay less (on average) for every role than their competitors.

Even their costs for acquiring talent—when they have to—will be lower because people will want to work there, says Rouse. They hire job hoppers too, but with one key difference. “The hopping then stops.”

Adopt these tactics to stop the hop

• Smart and consistent recognition for all levels

• Value the ideas and contributions of everyone

• Demonstrate trust by delegating, giving responsibility and allowing self-management (flex time and work location)

• Encourage innovation (let people work on/with emerging technology)

• Allow experimentation

• Formalize learning and mentorship into management job descriptions

• Be transparent by sharing the company’s big vision

• Create work that does social good or that provides purpose. What people want most is the chance to make a difference

• Apply strategy to modify behavior. Marketers are experts at driving desired behaviours so apply this to your team when creating non-salary rewards

• Clearly define and communicate what the result will be if the desired behaviors are performed (Make rewards meaningful to the recipient—no gold watches and grandfather clocks)

• Plan for the promotion of every hire during the initial hiring process. People expect to be promoted if they perform well over time—build this reality into your plans as early as possible

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