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Managing Through Talent Attrition

If you are a marketing leader today, chances are, you have been hit with attrition. It is no surprise that during the current tech and investment boom, great marketers (and perhaps even not so great ones) are in high demand. Many fast growing tech companies are taking those big VC checks and pumping them into growth, and in technology, that means doubling down on go-to-market execution and the roles that fuel it.

Not only has Covid brought a mountain of new opportunities and innovation in technology, but it has simultaneously removed geographic borders from talent recruiting, thereby providing marketers with a near endless supply of job opportunities. Never in my career have I witnessed such an aggressive and over ripe war for marketing talent.

In many ways this is an exciting moment for B2B marketing. For all the talk about the value of performance marketing over the past several years, business leaders are finally viewing marketing as a key driver of growth and are willing to invest in great leaders and practitioners to power their revenue engines. 

But as a marketing leader, the disruption this red hot talent market has caused, is nothing short of exhausting. Ultra competitive offers and some downright crazy ones can make it challenging to keep teams intact and can make the process of recruiting new talent hyper competitive. Having survived a bit of attrition I wanted to share three tips that have helped me weather the talent storm:

  1. Do not shelter your team from the challenges that attrition presents. It’s not our job to pretend that challenges and change don’t exist, but instead to normalize change and make our teams feel less afraid of the turbulence. We need to own the fact that it’s hard when people leave but putting our heads in the sand or waiting until the last minute to announce a departure serves no one. Be honest with your team, treat them like adults and be as transparent as possible as you navigate changes.
  2. Look for the bright spot. When key people leave, our go-to reaction should not be panic. It can be hard to imagine how we will survive without important roles but more often than not, when leaders get closer to functions that have been vacated they are able to learn and evolve processes and even rethink whole org structures or talent profiles. Take the opportunity to get in the weeds and learn some things before you make that knee jerk reaction to immediately backfill and you might find an opportunity for transformation.
  3. Level up! In the event that you are going to backfill or hire for a key role, you get the opportunity to really think about your hiring profile and potentially level up skill sets or hire for new competencies. We often find that roles have formed themselves around the people in them but when we get to rethink the skill sets we need, there is a chance to add whole new dimensions and capabilities to our teams.

I won’t pretend that attrition doesn’t hurt and it can be challenging to future proof your team in an environment with so much active recruiting but with a little fortitude and the right attitude, you can come out on top.



Elle Woulfe

Elle is a performance marketing leader and veteran of the MarTech industry with expertise in Revenue Marketing and marketing operations. She has a track record of implementing high-impact marketing transformation strategies and building best-in-class performance marketing teams for B2B tech companies.

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