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Author: Ross Sturley – CIMCIG Committee Member (@rosssturley)

As we heard at the Glenigan Breakfast Briefing last month, the recovery is definitely on.  We have also see it in the Chartered Institute of Marketing's Construction Industry Group’s (CIMCIG) recent barometer survey, which found that marketing budgets are set to grow this year in around two thirds of construction sector companies. A third are also planning to increase marketing headcount.

This is a big swing from a year ago, of course, and presents marketing directors and managers with a new problem – recruiting the right people and keeping hold of good staff.GleniganNewsletter_CIMCIG_June-14

After several years of there being fewer jobs than people, ‘recruitment and retention of staff’ has become top of the strategic agenda. CIMCIG’s recent survey, produced jointly with Leading Edge, shows that marketing teams could be just as affected by a skills shortage as the operational delivery teams. 

It is important to remember what matters at times like these – people join you for opportunity to learn and develop, and they stay if they can see the possibility to progress. Financial reward is only part of the equation – an important part, of course – but not everything.

Make sure you have appraisals up to date, that you have a development plan for those staff you want to keep and that you talk to them regularly about how they might develop and progress. Don’t wait for them to hand their notice in before you start thinking about them – retention starts now, not after they’ve decided to leave.

You can also make your company look more attractive to work for. Are you expanding? Do you win awards like the Construction Marketing Awards? Are you working on prestigious jobs? All these things make a company look like it will offer more opportunity to new staff and make it somewhere good talent will target as a potential future employer.

Good people, once they’ve decided to look around, will have choice. If one in three companies is recruiting, then someone with talent is likely to get a few offers. Providing you’re not underpaying your staff (and if you are, now might be a good time to do something about that), they will choose based on their experience at interview, so make sure it’s a good one! Tidy up a bit, have lots of graphs on the walls going in the right direction, bring in cakes for the team that day so they look happy, make your place look like it’s going somewhere.

But remember the basics too – don’t be bamboozled by someone who looks good and talks the talk. It always pays to take a couple of references.

Whether times are good or bad, it’s the quality of your team which will determine your rate of growth, so pay attention to that now, before it becomes a problem.

Do you think the construction industry is facing a marketing skills shortage? Get in touch with your views on Glenigan's social media channels via the icons at the top of the page.

Ross Sturley is principal at Chart Lane, a strategic communications company specialising in construction, property and regeneration, and a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group.

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