Savvy marketing managers know the first place to start any campaign or effort is to consider the available data. The process is no different for assessing your employees, as data can maximize your department’s potential. Your first step is to obtain each individual team member’s assessment. Learn as much about each individual as possible. If you do not understand how to read the results, there should be a trained HR specialist who can. If not, a talent management expert should be considered. With this information you have an empirical foundation to build upon; without it you’re simply guessing.
Your second step is to identify the breadth of skills and knowledge held by your department. The larger the department, the greater the need will be to understand how to manage that knowledge and pass it on. If you don’t understand how to gather this information, here are some easy steps through the process:
- Make sure the initiative is visibly endorsed from the highest level, otherwise employees will not collaborate with each other willingly and effectively.
- Capture solutions within your natural problem-solving process. Then analyze in small increments. Do not try to accumulate everything at once. You need only accumulate what is important to the identity of the organization and that which impacts the business drivers.
- Streamline, simplify and organize the knowledge into a manageable format, making it accessible to others in the department for content review. Create and refine best practice forms or templates to capture relevant details.
- Provide rewards and recognition to team members, based on their contributions. Make sure you change the notion that any one person should be the lone expert, or a repository of skills no one else can master.
- Implement in phases to ensure you can identify those people who are acquiring and using the knowledge for the organization’s betterment, as well as their own.
Your third step is to focus on individual employees, addressing their needs and aspirations. This effort will fill in any gaps that may exist in the employee’s mind, if you are thorough and attentive. The Personal Development Process (PDP) will help them fulfill departmental and individual goals, and provide them with the individual attention they require.
Your most important tool – The PDP (Performance Plan)
The PDP is a unique approach to ensuring your employees:
Achieve what you set out for them, as their manager
Mature and develop within the team construct, adding chemistry
Grow to what they want to be, for their own personal satisfaction.
Helping employees maximize their potential with their PDP
The very first thing you must do as a manager is to make sure that the employee’s plan is viable. There is no sense in developing a plan that will not work. If you follow the SMART process and use SMART objectives the chances of success quadruple. Here is explanation further explanation of SMART:
Specific – When you write your plan, be very precise. If your goal is to develop SEO skills, specify exactly what skills are needed, and why. If you are not specific, your chance of achieving your goals is minimal. Know your target, and know it well.
Measurable – You must know what the specific step you are about to take will look like once completed. If you are going to read a book on SEO, get some coaching, or go on a training course to help identify what the step looks like, and how it can be measured.
Attainable – Dreams are not always attainable goals. Make sure you know that with reasonable effort you can achieve the milestone. Start with something easy, like: I will read something about SEO four times a week, for 20 minutes a day. (Do NOT start by saying, “I want to be an SEO expert.”)
Relevant – Your goals must be your goals. They must be based on your desires, not those of your team members, your boss, or your spouse. Your behaviors, capacities and values will direct you towards something unique and specific to you.
Timely – If you do not set specific (day and time) parameters your plan will never occur. There will always be something urgent about to happen requiring your attention. You must be objective – know when the process starts and when it ends. Give the date and time involvement. When the time comes, finish up and move on.
Here is a SMART plan format:
As a marketing manager, your job is to help monitor your team’s progress – mainly their professional goals. There may be times when you provide advice and support for their personal objectives, as they may have a direct impact on employees’ capacities to improve in their positions.
You may want to incorporate their objectives into your regularly scheduled times of interaction. By doing this you can develop a solid working relationship as you establish expectations. With those aspects behind you, your interest will illustrate personal concern for their marketing success.
One of the ways you can most help your employees is with your experience and knowledge of differing marketing venues. The knowledge gained from your years of experience needs to be passed on to them as individuals, so they can understand the plethora of resources that abound within our industry.
This will require employees to use all aspects of their mind – their objectivity to plan and execute, their subjectivity to meet challenges and deal with people issues, and their beliefs, in themselves and the organization employing them.
The objective phase is the simplest, yet might challenge your employee because of personal bias. During this phase the employee must take information from his/her assessment and transfer it into a rubric (example below). The purpose of this is for the employee to see themselves as others see them. They will normally agree with most of the information, but may see themselves as either better or worse in certain areas than the scores indicate.
The important thing is that the assessment results provide an objective foundation for behaviors, values and beliefs, and how those factors impact their work, departmental chemistry and capacity for growth.
The subjective phase of the process is necessary to help the employee identify how those scores translate into real life, or apply their mental abilities. Certain aspects of their personalities translate into skills and capacities that help them complete their jobs and motivate them toward a higher degree of success.
Personal and professional beliefs are elements that can help or hinder your employees. If employees do not believe in themselves or the organization, their chances of contributing to your department are negligible. Even if they believe in the company, but not themselves, their production will be limited, and will likely never live up to individual potential.
You can ensure department success by fostering an environment in which employees believe not only in themselves and the company, but in you as their leader. Understand their strengths and weaknesses and you have the capacity to help them reach their goals.
Sample Objective and Subjective Information for PDP (Behaviors)
Strengths and Weaknesses
Strengths (High, Low, or Situational)
D score 43 h/l/s – Decisive, task focused when something important to be accomplished
I score 66 h/l/s – Optimistic, good communicator/encourager
S score 26 h/l/s – Enjoy change and challenge
C score 61 h/l/s – Good eye for detail.
Variety, lots of interaction with different people and experiences to avoid boredom. I am usually flexible with those I am around as long as we are having a good time and things are positive. I do not like to be unhappy.
Opportunities that allow me to persuade or sell. I don’t mind communicating with people by phone or correspondence but I prefer human contact. I love marketing projects enhancing people’s lives or making them feel better about whom they are or the products they are using.
D - Not as assertive as I could be.
I - Am sometimes a bit too trusting. Need to question more.
S - Sometimes make decisions without getting all the facts
C - I can get caught up in the detail and miss important things.
Confrontational people and controversial issues. I don’t like arguing. I need to stay away from too much routine and avoid staying in one place for a long time. I will avoid meetings for the sake of meetings – I get bored and disruptive.
Highly monotonous, repetitive roles that require me to be sitting in one place for too long. I need to avoid marketing roles that isolate me from others or that do not allow me to express my opinion. I also want to avoid a company that lacks vision or a progressive outlook.