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Why Cultivating Your Marketing Talent Isn't Optional

Posted by Brad Voeller on May 21, 2015

reviewing talent cultivation plan

 This article was edited on January 11th, 2019

Do you currently hire primarily based on a candidate’s skill set? Many small businesses are accustomed to hiring employees for skills they developed in school. It seems logical. However, traditional education hasn’t been able to keep up with the rapid acceleration of technology. This requires successful marketers (and potential new hires) to become continuous learners.

No longer is it effective to plug in employees with certain skills into static positions. Small businesses can instead gain a competitive advantage by hiring entry-level talent with the right dispositions and investing in the cultivation of their talent. Growth-oriented hires who are committed to continual learning will help shape your team into what you need, both in the present and in the future. And investing in marketing talent is a key differentiator, according to HubSpot.

Are you ready to hire for disposition? You can begin cultivating growth oriented talent by implementing the following seven steps.

  1. Appoint a leader
    Designate a talent cultivation leader within your business. This person should understand the significance of digital transformation and genuinely love helping and watching people grow.
  2. Articulate your vision
    Identify clear goals and objectives for your organization. Then ask all employees to create personal growth plans aligned with the company goals. Encourage each employee to set learning objectives that are relevant and interesting to them and beneficial to the company.
  3. Conduct a skills audit
    This practice helps you identify which skills to prioritize and where to focus future development training. View our digital marketing skills assessment template as a starting place.
  4. Create a support system
    Identify skilled coaches and mentors for your talent and establish regular sessions to help maintain motivation and focus on growth and development.
  5. Focus on intrinsic rewards
    The 2015 Millennial Workforce Study by Elance-oDesk found that millennials do well with intrinsic motivation, so businesses should place more focus on mentorship, people, and exciting or meaningful work. This may be more impactful than raises, bonuses, or other extrinsic rewards.
  6. Create a measurement and recognition system
    Consider assigning point values to learning challenges. Set goals and identify milestones, measure employee progress, and celebrate their accomplishments.
  7. Hold performance reviews
    While many businesses already conduct reviews on a regular basis, the focus is usually on metrics. Instead, place a major focus on professional development and learning goals. Measure progress based on their application of learning to the problems and opportunities they’ve encountered on the job.

Challenges to overcome

The increasing cost of talent creates a barrier to building a great marketing team. An effective solution is to hire marketing professionals who may have less experience, but are growth-oriented. By investing in entry-level talent now, your overall cost of talent will be lower than the competition.

Millennials will occupy 75% of the workplace by 2025, according to a 2014 survey by Deloitte. While millennials can infuse businesses with energy, new ideas, and tech savvy, some have unrealistic expectations, a sense of entitlement in the workplace, and/or a lack a strong commitment to personal growth, according to the OMI Digital Talent Report. It is critical to carefully evaluate the character and attitude of a potential candidate.

College graduates may have little experience or may lack specific digital marketing skills since both are often developed in the context of work. As a result, on the job training becomes a necessity. And training takes time. But you will be amazed how this investment of time and resources at the beginning will have significant dividends later.

Take action now

Switching from a plug and play mindset to a culture of intentional talent cultivation is essential for continued success in digital marketing. It is time to build a team committed to learning fast and embracing emerging trends and technologies.

Learn on the go. Teach on the job. (Tweet this)  

If your business is based in San Antonio or Austin, we would love to show you how apprenticeship offers a turnkey solution for cultivating marketing talent. We also suggest you consider hiring one of our growth oriented apprentices.

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Topics: For Small or Medium Enterprises