Figuring out the right talent mix may never have been more challenging for CMOs than it is right now. 61% of marketing leaders say that their team has grown over the past twelve months, despite challenges in both attracting and retaining talent.1 What’s driving the expansion of marketing departments? 58% of CMOs said that they do not have the capabilities to achieve their strategy objectives within their marketing organizations.2
You might think CMOs would be turning to their agencies and service providers to fill the gaps, but their budget splits between in-house labor and external partners remain largely unchanged from 2021 to 2022.2 In fact, tight budgets continue to drive rebalancing of the agency and service provider mix, with many CMOs bringing capabilities in house.1 The pressure is on for marketing leaders to either hire new talent or upskill their existing teams, neither of which offers an immediate solution.
As you plan for 2023, consider your current talent picture. Identify where you can upskill existing talent versus hiring in new resources by following these steps.
Step 1: Inventory Current Skills
Start by working with the people managers on your team to conduct an employee self-assessment. Focus on identifying any gaps, misalignments or capacity issues. To get a clear picture of the skills available, be sure to include any skills that go beyond official job descriptions or titles.3
For each employee, capture the following:
- Aspirations – Ask employees about their hopes for their current job role as well as long-term career goals. Focus on capturing the skills related to these ambitions.
- Demonstrated Ability – Understand where employees have proven skills, even if it is outside of their current job role.
- Self-reported Skills – Gather information on what the employee believes is their current skill set, even if it has not been demonstrated.
The intersection of these three areas will provide insight into emerging skills and a basis for talent development. For example, if a marcom generalist has career ambitions to work in social media marketing, demonstrated ability in coordinating public relations activities, and self-reported (but unproven) skill in copywriting, consider providing them with development opportunities in social media marketing if you have a talent or capacity gap.
Step 2: Establish Foundational Skills
To create a future-proof marketing team, consider defining foundational skills that are common to all team members. Foundational skills define how people get their jobs done and are shared by all jobs and roles. Hiring with a preference for these skills and developing them in current employees can ensure that your team will be able to adapt to change quickly. They provide the basis for learning any job-role-specific skills.4
Step 3: Plan Upskilling Using the 70-20-10 Framework
To accelerate employee development, make sure you have the scaffolding required. Putting a few key programs and processes in place can make all the difference.4
- Recognize that most learning is hands-on, so work with people managers to create opportunities for stretch assignments, job rotations, and participation in fusion teams.
- Create a peer mentor program to quickly onboard new employees or develop current employees. Take a similar approach with leadership shadowing to expose individuals to growth opportunities and the skills required.
- Supplement experiential and relationship-based programs with formal training for role-specific or net-new skills.
Keep in mind that anyone, at any level, has the potential to develop new skills. Rather than viewing skill development as a static process driving towards a single competency model, see it as an opportunity to support continuous learning.
1 2022 Gartner Marketing and Communications Organization Survey
2 2022 Gartner CMO Strategy and Spend Survey
3 4 Steps to Bridge the Strategy-Execution Gap With Adaptive Capabilities
4 Agile Learning: Use Progressive Layering of Skills to Upskill and Develop Employees
For more information, Gartner clients can access:
A 3-Step Interview Guide for Hiring Marketing Talent
Attract and Retain the Right Marketing Talent Mix
The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.