Have you got a sneaking suspicion that all isn’t quite right in your marketing department ?
You might be onto something.
Sometimes, it pays to follow your nose in business, and if you feel your marketing department isn’t as productive as it either has been in the past or is capable of being, it’s vital you jump on the issue before it gets toxic.
Why do teams become unproductive?
Teams within businesses are complex due to the variety of personalities they contain. Because of this, a team can either flourish without too much input from management or fail to gel and become nothing more than a financial drain on the company.
It’s also not uncommon for a team to transition from being a tightly-knit shining light within the business to an unproductive collection of people who seem intent on pushing each other out of the door.
This can happen for a number of reasons, for instance:
A change of management. New managers have a tough job. Depending on the out-going boss, they might have big shoes to fill, and if they rock the boat in any way, a team’s morale can take a serious dip – quickly.
A change of personnel. Just one new employee can have a catastrophic impact on the productivity of a team if they bring with them a toxic attitude.
A change within the industry. A new regulation that stifles creativity, or the introduction of what appears to be a competitor product that’s light years ahead of your own might demoralise the marketing team.
Personal issues. Despite best efforts, the effects of personal problems at home can creep into work and disrupt team stability.
Inter-department competition. Is the sales team completely smashing it at the moment? If they appear to be the golden child in the minds of the top brass, other teams might begin to feel jealous.
A lack of goals. Goals are made to be met, but if your marketing team does that and isn’t refreshed with a new set soon after, what should they be working towards?
Poor recognition. Being told by your peers and management that you’ve done a good job is a brilliant feeling, and if a team stops being recognised for its good work, you’d perhaps forgive them for feeling a little unmotivated.
Clearly, there are some elements above over which you have little control as the marketing manager or director, but the trick to stopping the rot before it creates serious problems is identifying when things are turning sour.
Here are five signs that your marketing team isn’t productive as it should be.
1. The team members don’t seem to know each other
If you’ve had an influx of new team members in marketing, they’ll need to take time to get to know each other, and while much of that is down to them as grown adults to do so, they might need some encouragement, too.
Team building days strike fear into the hearts of most people, but there’s no need to go down that route if you feel uncomfortable doing so. Instead, arrange regular team meetings and the occasional drink or lunch outing to boost moral and help everyone get to know each other.
Close friendships don’t have to develop in teams for them to be productive – a healthy working relationship and mutual respect is all that’s required.
2. You can hear a pin drop in the office
There’s nothing wrong with a silent marketing office (often, that means they’re hard at work doing something brilliant with your next campaign), but if the silence seems to prevail for far too long, something might be wrong.
When morale dips within a team, it doesn’t necessarily result in raised voices; in fact, it’s far more likely that the office will lose all vibrancy and energy as people clock watch instead of collaborate.
Always take a continually quiet office as an early warning sign that something might be wrong.
3. Attendance and timekeeping are becoming problematic
If you’re handing out more written warnings about timekeeping or the health of the marketing team appears to be deteriorating, productivity will almost definitely take a dip, too.
People have genuine reasons for being off sick, of course, but if sickness appears to be turning into an epidemic and there are no doctors letters to confirm that there really is something dreadful being contracted, it’s probably a good idea to look a little deeper at what’s going on.
Poor timekeeping is another classic signal that things aren’t right within the team. Flexible working hours working from home are becoming increasingly popular, but if you’ve implemented such a scheme only to find that the marketing team appear to be taking advantage of the new rules, it’s time to act.
4. Creativity appears stagnant
Being creative under pressure is something every great marketing team prides itself in.
Despite this, creativity is a difficult thing to maintain at high levels, therefore its impossible to expect your marketing team to be on point constantly with their output. If, however, creativity appears to have stagnated for a significant period of time, the matter will need further investigation.
Consistently poor output from your marketing team hints at a bunch of people who aren’t working effectively together. You (and they) know that they’re capable of being brilliantly creative, therefore something must be fairly seriously wrong within that team if they’re not letting their skills do the talking.
5. They’re not meeting company goals
This one requires a long, hard look in the mirror, unfortunately.
If the marketing team isn’t meeting company goals, it’ll be because they’re not productive enough. But why aren’t they productive? The root cause of this is what matters, and it may well be that they don’t understand what the company’s goals are.
Think about it: if you don’t know what the goal you’re working towards is, how can you do your best work? More importantly, why should you do your best work if you simply have no idea what the end game is?
Time if of the essence. If you recognise one or more of the signs above within your marketing team – act now.
The longer you leave problems like this to fester, the worse they’ll become. What’s more, they’ll possibly permeate throughout the rest of the business and end up infecting other teams.
Your marketing team was once great – they still can be great. Go forth and rediscover how awesome they are!