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Here’s How CMOs Can Build More Diverse and Creative Teams in 2019

By Dan Steiner

Chief Marketing Officers, you can’t be a chief if you aren’t leading a team, and every CMO knows that creating powerful marketing campaigns is a team sport.

CMOs Will Battle the Temptation for Creatives to Job Hop in 2019

In 2019, employers will need to be ready to go above and beyond to compete for the best talent. In the latest BLS report, unemployment remained steady at 3.7%. This is the highest level of employment in America since 1969.

This means it has never been easier for creative talent to job hop and chase new opportunities. If you’re like me, I want the most talented marketing pros to hop aboard my team. And the last thing I want to do is to bleed creative to the competition, with them taking all the skills and knowledge they gained on our team to a new employer.

Attracting and Retaining a Diverse Team Is a Key Ingredient for Marketing Success

The other over-arching goal of great CMOs is to attract a diverse team of talent. The customers that you target with your marketing campaigns will have a variety of backgrounds and experiences. When you embrace organizational diversity empowering those with different perspectives to contribute to the work-flow you dramatically improve the chance of making a connection with your target audience.

You might be scratching your head, thinking that it’s the HR team’s responsibility to go out and recruit, recruit, recruit. This is partially true, but retention falls solely on management. A recent study of Facebook’s talent retention challenges shows that employees are leaving jobs when managers fail to create an environment that speaks to their passions and unique abilities. CMOs need to empower their management team to effectively nurture creativity and employee engagement.

That said, let’s dive into a few key things CMOs can do in the New Year to improve their chances of building and maintaining a killer team of creative gurus.

Nurture an Environment Where Team Members Can Pursue the Roles That Best Fit Them

I recently worked with a creative team that was tasked with creating a marketing rollout for a new snack bar. If you know anything about the grocery industry, you know that a supermarket shelf is one of the fiercest places to compete in retail.

The seven people that reported to me were experienced and capable¾all a real pleasure to work with. But I noticed something: One of our team members responsible for PPC graphic design was spending a ton of time with our packaging team. She had some killer ideas for helping the box visually leap off the shelf.

Her work on the PPC graphics was solid, but it was clear her interest lay elsewhere. She couldn’t help herself, and I was loving the synergy. As my time with the organization came to a close, I provided some thoughts in my exit interview about realigning their creative team to give this woman an opportunity to pursue her passions without being forced to leave.

My instincts were right. I later learned that she left the team for another opportunity shortly after my departure. She knew what she found interesting, and she was talented enough to make it happen with someone else, since we couldn’t better accommodate her.

If CMOs want to hold onto killer talent, it’s time to empower team members to job hop within the organization. This might sound chaotic, but it can be done. And if you fail to pursue a more flexible organization chart, they might just job hop across the street.

Generation Z Craves Mentorship, and They’re on The Way In

Those born after 1995 are rapidly climbing the ladders of corporate America. CMOs need to future-proof their retention strategies by adopting policies that speak to the unique desires of a generation that skipped dial-up internet and sent text messages in middle school.

According to a recent report on Generation Z entering the workforce, they crave mentorship and opportunities to constantly learn which is only natural considering they probably learned how to perform basic coding functions in high school. This builds upon my previous point about empowering employees to discover and pursue their passions within your organization. Millennials of all stripes prefer to work in organizations that provide mentors. In fact, more than two-thirds are likelier to stay with a company for more than five years if they are part of a mentorship program.

A mentorship program has an added benefit in that it strengthens the bonds between senior management and entry-level team members. For CMOs, this can mean a management team that is more well versed in the perspectives and desires of younger generations.

Gen Z has a buying power of $500 billion in today’s economy. Any initiative that helps creative management speak to this demographic has the potential to move the needle in the right direction.

In conclusion, CMOs need to double-down on workforce diversity initiatives in 2019. By combining a flatter organizational structure with enhanced mentorship programs, CMOs can better meet the needs of their brand’s customers and the people that craft their marketing initiatives in the year ahead.

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