In our last blog post we pointed out that roughly 51% of digital measurement professionals have changed positions in the past 12 months.
If you are going to be a data-driven company this is a very expensive problem.
We all know how hard it is to find top-notch digital measurement talent. Most companies are spending a lot of time, energy and money to find the right people for these roles. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could hold on to them and get a bit of a return on your investment?
Our suggestion is to LEAD with retention… meaning that you should focus on retention as you begin the recruiting process for digital measurement professionals. Here is how you do that:
1. Hire down and train up: If you have a laundry list of needs that you are trying to satisfy with one candidate then you have 3 problems:
- It is going to be extremely tough to find someone with all of those skills.
- If you do find someone with all of those skills they are probably going to be a pretty senior-level, expensive candidate.
- It is going to be very hard to pay attention to MOTIVATION AND FIT FACTORS. The longer the list of requirements the more MOTIVATION AND FIT FACTORS go to the back burner.
So you hire someone that enables you to check off as many boxes as possible, but they don’t fit within your organization and they leave in 6-12 months…
You can hire someone with a few of the most important skills and give them a growth path where they can continue to learn and grow into the role. This person should be a great FIT within your team and they should be MOTIVATED in the right ways. They may even be junior enough (and inexpensive enough) to hire 2!
2. Don’t focus on your short-term pain… hire the best athlete:
Most companies are fire fighting… they spent a bunch of money on analytics and they are under pressure from management to make shit happen.
They have a bunch of new tools that they don’t know how to use, so they start looking for people that can run those tools, rather than people that can take the data valuable.
Tool managers turn over quickly. There is actually a growing secondary market of contractors that fill this niche.
It would be wonderful if you could get someone that is BOTH a great technical tool manager and a great analyst, but those people are rare. If you have to pick one or the other you should really hire the good analyst. You can always get a contractor (even on a part-time basis) or a consulting company to do your technical work.
It is very hard to stay disciplined about this. When it’s time to make a job offer the guy with the right tools usually wins… So does the guy that lives in the geographic area, btw… The best athlete is often left standing at the altar.
3. Have a plan for whatever comes next: In the bigger picture companies often create roles as part of a business plan that takes them from A to B. But what happens then??
Starting at the 6-month mark your digital measurement professional will get relentless calls from recruiters. They should know WHY they are staying. They should know that as soon as they master X and Y someone is going to teach them Z… If they don’t KNOW that they will be growing into something else at least annually, they will leave.
Sometimes it is tricky to guarantee these things up front, but growth and cross-training need to be part of the conversation from the start.
After they are on board there are lots of things that will help to retain digital measurement professionals, but these are a few things that you can think about before you even start the hiring process.
5 thoughts on “How to Retain Digital Measurement Professionals”
Great post! Definitely hire the athlete and train them. Use consultants to fill in gaps… You don’t always need people with 10 years of experience to do solid web analysis…
Could not agree more. Just like web analytics is becoming a commodity, talent that can simply run analytic tools is becoming a commodity too. Much more rare, and much more valuable is talent that can actually do something of value with the data (which is the definition of a good analyst).
Well said–I think this is your best and most important post so far. Defining a role that has growth is essential. There are too many companies that hire talent, in any field, because they focus on getting help with tasks rather than creating a position that truly makes sense within the organization. Many companies just suck at organizational planning so they just add new hires like Lego blocks.
If you want to retain employees, not just analysts, then just paying them to perform tasks is not enough. You also have to onboard them properly and integrate them into the company so that they are set up for success. If you do the right things within the first 3 months then you’re likely to have an employee for 3 years.
Great post. I am in the process of hiring my first direct report on in the newly formed analytics team. I was struging with this very question and appreciate your guidance!