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Think Twice Before You Hire New Marketing Talent

By Elizabeth Shaw | July 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

MarketingMarketing Organization and Operations

Our analyst bench fields marketing questions that run the gamut but one area, in particular, is generating significant volume: Org.  And rightfully so. We’re all navigating in a new era of marketing that requires different skills, competencies and ways of working. Between client conversations and recent survey data, we’re seeing marketers hiring new folks before they build out better processes, better tech and training within their existing teams.  While hiring may seem like the best quick fix in some scenarios, it’s most likely not.  Here’s why:

  • Hiring and onboarding new talent is a team-wide time suck.  Now, I don’t mean this in a negative way (I’m a glass-half-full gal), it’s just the simple truth.  Do some quick math and add up all the time and attention required by teams to creating (typically poor) job reqs, recruiting, interviewing, managing and participating in feedback loops, voting, onboarding training, mentoring and more.  We’re talking DAYS not hours.  What if that time went to skill training those employees instead?
  • It’s not cheaper. If you’re already flexing your math muscles on calculating time, run the numbers on how much that time costs.  Not to mention the technology to support the process and the involvement of cross-functional teams (HR, Legal, Accounting…) What if you reinvested those dollars into developing new programs that engage existing employees to inspire, teach, think, collaborate and contribute in new ways?
  • It can hurt employee morale.  I don’t care where you work, cultural politics exist everywhere.  If someone’s shown an interest in a role or a desire to learn new abilities and they’re overlooked for a position, that sends a poor message. Worst case (and I’ve seen multiple times first-hand), the role’s not communicated to the team and they don’t have a chance to make a play. Even if “new blood” is desired, that too should be communicated beforehand.
  • It’s not a quick fix.  Salary negotiations, background checks, 2 week-notices, time off between gigs and, finally, a start date.  Think you’re there?  Nope.  People need time to ramp.  New Nike employees are instructed to “be a sponge” for the first 6 months. Heck, even a Gartner analyst gets a full year to learn the ropes.  In most cases, you shouldn’t expect significant contributions out of the gate.

Don’t be so quick to hire against skill gaps without taking a close look at your existing bench first.  Chances are, you may have the raw talent that you’re looking for.  Do this by critically evaluating your team’s skills. Make sure you address gaps in perception versus delivery by assessing your colleagues’ feedback about your team (more great thinking on this by Lizzy Foo Kune).

In this era, every marketer should adopt a beginner’s mindset and become a student learner for life.  Remember, no one knows everything, marketing is iterative and we’re all learning as we go.  That’s why it’s the most exciting time to be a marketer.




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