The number six sales trend for 2015 – Recruiting for Change and Evolution – is focused well and truly on adapting how we recruit. In short, we need to look for people who want to make a difference and can improve business.
People have been trying to identify how to hire the ‘right’ people, especially the right salespeople, for as long as jobs have existed. There are constant fluctuations and changes in recruitment processes, with people always striving to find the most accurate way of predicting on-the-job performance. Over the last decade, think psychometric testing, social media background checks, behavioural interview questions, assessment centres, etc. Whilst these aspects are still continuing strongly, there is now beginning to be a change in what is considered when looking for the ‘right’ person for the job.
Previously, the focus was on finding highly talented individuals who would fit into the culture of the organisation. However, the average tenure of employees in a given organisation is rapidly declining. McCrindle estimates that the current average tenure is around 3.3 years, and that based on current trends, it is likely that many people entering the job market today may have over 15 different jobs in their lifetime.
Given the increased employee fluctuation within workplaces, workplace environments themselves are in a constant state of flux. Subsequently, for many organisations, continuing to focus on fitting people into a given work environment seems unnecessary or superfluous.
Look for people who want to make a difference and can improve business
In recognition of the newly variable work environments, some organisations are now focusing on finding people who can help to improve their businesses, rather than merely ‘fit’ into it. The ‘right people’ has shifted from those who ‘fit’ the environment, to those who can bring about the greatest improvements.
Retaining top employees is still seen as a priority; however, there is a rising awareness in some firms that this may be a futile task. In general, employee motives have shifted from finding a “pay-check” job with nice people and a positive environment, to finding a job where they can make a difference.
If they feel they do not have the opportunity to do this in their current role, they are likely to leave. Even for people who do make a difference in a new job, once they feel they have made that difference (or at least a considerable contribution to a difference), they start searching for the next opportunity. This can lead them to a new company if such an opportunity is not immediately forthcoming in their current organisation.
In sales teams, having a clear sales strategy supported by an inspiring sales mission (purpose, strategy, standards and values) goes a long way to attracting and retaining highly talented salespeople.
Slowly, companies are starting to recognise this, and are changing their recruitment strategies to match this desire. Rather than looking at the tasks that need completing and finding the ‘right person’ to undertake these tasks, they are identifying areas of the business where improvements are possible or needed, and looking for people who can “make a difference” or instigate improvements in these areas in the (potentially short) time they will be there. This, of course, doesn’t preclude ‘boomerang’ employees from returning with new skills to make a new difference.
The potential of boomerang employees
Organisations that are searching for employees to make a difference in their firms are looking for a different skill set than more traditional recruiters would look for. Instead of focusing on task-specific skills and experiences, they are looking for people who are creative, achievement-focused, optimistic, future-minded, and tenacious.
The rising trend of re-hiring ex-employees (boomerang employees) has many benefits. From a traditional standpoint, there are decreased recruitment, orientation, and on-boarding costs; the employee already knows and ‘fits’ into the culture and working environment; and unique organisational processes and procedures are already known and embedded into their behavioural routine. From a less traditional perspective, they are able to return latent knowledge to the business.
In all, current practice is starting to see a shift from merely hiring “employees” to hiring effective “change agents” (whether they are new, existing, or previous employees). Businesses are recognising that markets are shifting and changing, that employee motivations are diverging from traditional models, and that they can no longer rely on the same old strategies (including recruitment strategies) to help their business grow. Instead, they are shifting to a more dynamic strategic model, which captures the type of change or difference needed at each level of the business, and the type of people who can effectively implement these changes.
Whilst the desire to retain top performing employees will not (and should not) ever completely abate, there does need to be a recognition that solely focusing on retention of existing employees can miss many business growth and development opportunities. Focusing on how employees can help improve the business meets both business and employee needs in a new and radical fashion, and will give these forward-thinking organisations and their sales teams an edge over their more traditional competitors over the next few years.
Remember, everybody lives by selling something.