Productivity and happiness at work: How marketing teams can strike the balance

Whether you are in charge of a small team, multiple regions or responsible for your one-person department, you’ll understand how important productivity is in getting campaigns over the line. Through the years, the industry has earned a reputation for being tough, fast-paced and demanding.

It’s difficult to watch as some teams normalise skipping lunch, staying late and cracking the whip at all hours of the day. Mentality is important. Wanting to deliver the best campaigns possible is important. Being overworked and uninspired is not the way to achieve this.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, some companies confuse employee happiness with having to be completely laid back and informal, and while this is appealing for many, it’s not the be-all and end-all. In fact, being productive and feeling accomplished is often directly correlated with employee happiness.

So how do marketing teams strike the right balance? So that employees are engaged, content and happy, while delivering everything they need to meet deadlines?

Here’s a quickfire breakdown of 7 make or break factors for employee productivity and happiness. They have been selected to apply specifically to marketing teams, but the same basic principles apply across almost every area of work. 

Employees want to be…
Empowered but not overburdened

With great power comes great responsibility, but being trusted to make a decision is a lot different to giving someone more than they can handle. Sometimes employees are happy to take on additional work without understanding the full remit of what’s involved, because they see it as progression. And sometimes management teams don’t understand all the moving parts required in order to get something pushed through.

If a marketing team is empowered to make their own decisions, introduce tools and upskill where needed, the burden becomes progression. But without the support in place, the marketing production line can break down.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make sure everyone has a full list of their job responsibilities, including who they need to go to when they need help 
  • Ensure employees get a regular opportunity to feedback on workloads 
  • Make new positions available internally before advertising the role – it will give those looking to step up the opportunity to do so

Employees want to be…
Kept in the loop

Some matters have to remain in the boardroom, but when situations affect teams on a daily basis, it’s important that communication is open and forthcoming. When people feel something is being kept from them it can create hostility. Likewise, if they play a role in marketing production, being at the end of the line can be frustrating if the brief is second or even third hand. Make sure that when information is passed through it comes in a familiar and consistent format. Having information piecemeal will likely cause frustration.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Hold confidential meetings in private – don’t have animated discussions behind glass doors as it will give other employees the chance to speculate
  • Choose a standardised way of briefing different department, and ensure the briefing documents and meetings are refined as lessons are learnt
  • Make sure any big news is communicated by senior management, preferably in person where possible 

Employees want to be…
Encouraged to work differently

“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it” has been a phrase that’s served so many, so well. But in the world of marketing this mentality can do more harm than good. If everyone followed this mantra, there would never be any innovation, improvement or new invention. New ideas, concepts and tools should be actively encouraged providing that they’re both sensible and viable. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Put in place an employee improvement pitching day, where team members can put forward ideas up for consideration
  • Have an open-door policy, where team members can bring new solutions to managers without fear or judgement
  • Have a suggestion box that’s filtered out once a month and assessed by staff at varying levels 

Employees want to…Have the freedom to innovate

While constant innovation can be exhausting, the introduction of technology into the marketing production process is incredibly beneficial and ultimately, a necessity to keep up with demand. Looking into new tools and processes can be quite time-consuming initially, but the longer-term investment is worth it. Team managers and senior leaders should be able to request time during their working day to research new products or solutions that will streamline working practices.

Here’s what you can do:

  • When a tool or process is proposed, create a focus group that tests it out for a week – each person can provide feedback and inform any decisions about permanent implementation 
  • When senior management identifies a problem, invite members outside of this group to put forward suggestions 
  • Take time out once a year with key team members to work on the brand and company 

Employees want to…
Believe in the purpose

If your marketing team buy-in to your brand and everything it stands for, it will help forge an emotional connection with the company. This can’t just involve bringing up values and the wider purpose in an annual meeting, it needs to be apparent in the everyday, too. 

Take Papirfly’s purpose, for example, we believe in making complex marketing production simple. But more than this, we believe in doing this so that overworked marketing professionals can live a balanced life, go home on time and do all the things they want to do outside of work. If we were to ask our own marketing professionals to stay late all the time, we would completely contradict what we stand for as a brand. 

If you’re going to preach about all your great principles, make sure this is channelled across your marketing teams and beyond. A brand’s power lies within its authenticity and if employees don’t feel you are living up to it, they will become unhappy.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Create dedicated literature that’s provided to new team members upon joining
  • Get employees involved in events that authentically demonstrate your purpose
  • Stay true to the values of the brand, even if circumstances make this difficult 

Employees want to…
Contribute to the culture of feedback

It can take a long time to find your voice in a marketing team, particularly if you have joined at a relatively junior level. Ensuring that opinions and ideas are actively encouraged from the get-go will help to inspire an environment that’s open, honest and positive. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Don’t shoot down ideas with criticism, be constructive
  • Ask employees to bring solutions to any problems they raise 
  • Encourage retrospective project debriefs to improve processes in the future 

Employees want to…
Balance professional goals and personal life

Marketing is infamous for being an exhausting industry to work in, despite its equally ‘fun’ perception. Understanding marketing starts with understanding people, and if your marketing teams only focus on work, they will lose touch with reality. It’s important they are encouraged to live a balanced life, and not be completely overwhelmed with the demands of work. 

Many professional goals can be tied with personal ones. Understanding what your teams are working towards in their personal lives can help you shape their KPIs and expectations within the organisation. For example, if you know that someone is planning to have a family in a year or so, one of their goals could be to set the team up to be more self-sufficient in their absence. They are incentivised on both a personal and professional level, as it will help ease the burden and stress of their return. 

Here’s what you can do:

  • Allow ‘personal days’ in the holiday allowance if your budget allows it
  • Give flexible working where possible (providing you have SaaS tools such as BAM in place)
  • Introduce tools that make the working day more streamlined and productive 

What do the essences of productivity and happiness boil down to?

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one thing, but ultimately if you take care of your employees they will be loyal to your brand. Creating a culture of innovation, openness, communication and understanding will put you in the best possible position to grow a happy marketing team that will evolve naturally, and without too much coercion. 

The team will develop healthy habits both inside and outside the workplace, and you should see a more productive, happy workforce that focuses on problem-solving.

BAM by Papirfly™ doesn’t claim to have all the answers. But what we do have is an all-in-one marketing creation platform that has revolutionised the way marketing teams work. Delivery increases, but workloads are eased. Quality goes up, but time isn’t stretched. Teams are empowered, not reliant upon anyone but themselves.

Find out for yourself how BAM is changing lives for the better and book a demo today.