Secret Marketer on people moves

The people issues are piling up at my place. This week I have had two surprises to deal with. The first was a lovely one and the second not so welcome. I could sense there was something in the air as I arrived back at the office after a few days out, and my suspicions were heightened when two of my team both requested an unplanned one-to-one ’chat’. In my experience this means one of three things: I am leaving; I am pregnant; or I want to have a moan.

First into the meeting room was my star senior brand manager. She breaks the news that she has some exciting ’incremental NPD’ and that the ’critical path’ (of her pregnancy) will mean she will be taking time out from September. I am genuinely delighted for her and this is one of those occasions where I shall be highly motivated to keep her role open and reshuffle the troops to provide the necessary flexibility. I have learned over the years that it is pointless asking people what their life-plan is in these situations as the thinking can change dramatically once parenthood arrives. Best to give people space and hope they enjoy working for you enough to not mess you about.

The maternity leave process can leave you in a right mess if people choose to manipulate things in their favour. I am confident there’ll be no such shenanigans on this occasion. We instead depart the room both delighted with the news and joking that this may yet be the first piece of NPD the team will have got through in a nine-month time frame.

Next for a quiet word was a more junior brand manager. He is a bright lad but a little obsessed about organisational politics and mapping out all of his future career moves before his time. Hot off the graduate scheme, he tends to be overly concerned about how he fares versus his peer group, and I think I know what is coming next. He doesn’t disappoint, with news that a bigger club have offered him more money, his first BMW and a shiny new iPhone.

I ask if there is anything I can do to make him stay and he indicates he has perhaps outgrown the company and only a substantial pay increase would make him think twice. I decide not to cause him the worry of more salary comparison homework. His head has been turned and there is little point dragging this one out. I urge him to remain professional and serve a good notice period. Marketing is a small world and I always find it best to leave on good terms.


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