It’s a story I’ve heard too many times to count from commercial real estate leaders over the last several years: “I woke up in the morning and my marketing team was gone. And I have no idea why it happened.”
I am not sure why real estate marketing departments have had a disproportionate number of departures over the last five years, but I do have some theories. Some are common sense; others are more nuanced. Regardless of why, it can be crippling when you lose a piece or the whole team with little or no notice.
It is a painful fact that when one person leaves a team, there is often a domino effect prompting others to leave. A departure can create a scenario where remaining team members are disconnected, overworked, or even disillusioned.
Social connections for marketing teams are imperative for creativity and cohesiveness, but they can also be a double-edged sword. Employee departures communicate to existing team members that the grass may be greener somewhere else, and prompt people to look critically at their own employment experience. They may contemplate whether they are in the right place, enjoy their work, are receiving fair compensation, and other important questions. More often than not the end result is more departures.
With full transparency, Identity has been the beneficiary of this trend. We have filled gaps, expanded programs, and even replaced full teams that departed in unison. As a fully integrated PR and marketing agency with deep experience and expertise working with commercial real estate developers, managers, and service providers — we can mobilize quickly and support organizations of all sizes.
We prefer to work with strong internal marketing teams and have a vested interest in making sure your team does not walk out the door. Here are a few things you should consider to fortify your team:
Appreciate your team
Start by making sure your marketing team members’ compensation and benefits are in alignment with industry standards. But don’t stop there—take the time to get to know them, both personally and professionally. The better you understand and appreciate who they are, what they do, and how they do it, the more certain you can be that there is alignment.
Immerse your team
Ensure your marketing team understands your product, your brand, and your mission.
Make it clear they are a part of something bigger: part of a unified team moving in the same direction. Inspire them—and don’t just tell them they are part of the team, show them. Bring them into the inner circle to an extent that they feel both involved and invested. One of the best ways to help do that is to demonstrate your passion and tell your story. Let them know where you came from, where you’re going, and what it is that makes you and your company unique.
Invest in your team
Encourage and support professional training and continuing education. Support participation in industry groups and professional organizations and provide them with the funding and flexibility to pursue those endeavors. Provide opportunities to get inspired by what their peers are doing. Take marketing team members with you when you attend conferences and client events, and involve them in a meaningful way. Don’t fly them to a destination and have them stand around handing out keychains for two days. The first step in creating a strong culture is making sure your team feels valued and empowered.
Support your team
Too many business owners and decision-makers assume that supporting their marketing team begins and ends with a paycheck. But no matter how well-compensated your employees are, they can’t do it all without the right resources and outside support. Many of the best companies realize they must complement their internal teams with external PR and marketing expertise.
One obvious example is media relations. Critical relationships need to be nurtured over extended periods of time or on the digital or creative side, pricey tools (high-end photo or video support, drones for developers) and specialized access or expertise can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and isn’t feasible for an in-house team. Your mindset as a leader should be that your internal team is the beginning, not the end.
Assist your team
When someone does leave, act fast to support them. A departure can be disruptive and disheartening, especially for smaller teams, and you want to do everything you can to avoid a snowball effect.
Have a plan, let your team know you have a plan, and act quickly to implement that plan when a departure occurs. Those post-departure time periods can serve as a kind of referendum for remaining employees on how well the company supports them.
Are you providing them with resources to handle the extra workload? Are you throwing them a life raft or is the boat still moving and leaving them behind? Communication, consistency, and continuity are critical in the wake of a departure. So is the support and relief that a trusted external PR and marketing partner can provide. Outside agency support not only helps handle overflow work, but may even be able to help you backfill by referring and vetting new candidates.
As anyone who owns or runs a business knows only too well, people come and go. That’s reality. But if you integrate these ideas and priorities into how you lead and manage your marketing team, it can go a long way to eliminating the herd mentality that can turn one person leaving into a cascade of departures. Your marketing team and your bottom line will both benefit from that stability and continuity.