Russell Parsons: Your staff can be your biggest brand advocates, so look after them

What would your reaction be if I was to tell you that more than three quarters of your colleagues were going to up and leave your brand within three years?

Russell thumb

For the majority, I would wager that your first response would be surprise, quickly followed by anxiety and despair. This is not an exercise in stress testing, it is a reality many brands are facing.

In Marketing Week’s 2015 Salary Survey, unveiled here, the UK’s biggest annual poll of marketers finds that 81% of respondents say they plan to leave their job in the next three years.

It doesn’t take an economist to conclude why. Pay is cited as the primary reason for moving on (by 69% of respondents), right in line with the all but stationary wage inflation the majority of Britons have been suffering for almost six years.

Companies might not be splashing the cash on wage increases but they are feeling more optimistic about their and their sectors’ chance. The trickle of news about the green-shoots of economic recovery has turned into a steady flow and firms are increasing headcount and therefore fuelling the rather promiscuous market.

Some level of employee turnover can be advantageous. John Lewis marketing director Craig Inglis points out that it can provide “healthy new perspectives”. However, lose too many employees and a brand can lose sight of its purpose.

This is not a call-to-arms to pay your people more but brands need to strike a balance between embracing change and finding ways to nurture, develop and engage what should be their biggest advocates – their staff. It also highlights the imperative to define a clear brand purpose to lessen the possibility of dilution through change of personnel.

Online we have developed a salary calculator, a fun and perhaps even debate-starting tool where you can compare your salary with others in your sector, region and job title. Try it out here, you never know, it could provide ammunition when negotiating your next pay increase.

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