“Do I need to increase sales compensation?”
You may have heard of the Great Resignation. Whether or not you believe it, it is real, it’s happening now, and it’s having a significant impact on many businesses. Small and mid-sized companies have the risk of taking it especially hard because of the difference losing even one key player can make. However, the good news is that the Great Resignation doesn’t have to affect your organization negatively. In fact, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that there’s actually great opportunity in the current state of the workforce. Let’s dive in to learn how your business can benefit from the Great Resignation.
While you may hear stories about people leaving their current roles to live their dream and chase their passions, this isn’t what exit interviews are showing. In many cases, turnover results from people feeling empowered to explore what else is out there, including new and more enticing opportunities. In market conditions like this, unfavorable and previously tolerated business settings can motivate employees to seek new opportunities in their careers. People are re-evaluating their priorities. As a business, you can take this opportunity to ensure you have the proper compensation, culture, and career opportunities to set your company up to attract top talent looking for greener pastures.
Whether you’re aware or not, your employees are being recruited. They’ve probably had recruiters reach out with new opportunities offering better pay or remote work options that provide a better work/life balance. It’s up to you to make sure you build an organization that people want to be a part of.
If you are conducting exit interviews with outgoing employees (which you absolutely should be doing), you might be hearing that they have accepted a new job because of better pay. This is one of the most common reasons people resign from their role and move on to a new company. But when someone leaves (or joins) your organization, it’s not usually just about the money. This is especially true when it comes to salespeople. For more on creating the right sales organization to attract top talent, refer to my recent article, “Why Can’t I Find the Right Salespeople?”. If you’ve lost salespeople recently due to pay, you might be asking yourself, “Do I need to offer higher compensation to avoid losing and continue attracting top sales talent?” It’s easy to think salespeople will stick around if you raise your base salary. While that might be the case, it could also disrupt your entire business by throwing off profit goals and disincentivizing desired sales performance.
Should you pay your top-performing salespeople more? Yes, when they earn their keep through an adequately balanced performance-based comp plan that encourages and rewards top performance. Should you raise base salary across the board, so everyone is happy? Probably not, unless you consistently hear from those leaving the company that you don’t pay enough. That should be your trigger to conduct a sales compensation review to ensure your overall package aligns with the market. Before you throw more money at the problem, think about how you go about creating a competitive plan and some of the pitfalls that might come with certain strategies. For example, weighing the base salary component too heavily may not give your salespeople the right level of incentive to strive to hit their numbers. On the other hand, increasing commission sharing or bonus incentives will create increased hunger in sellers to capitalize on the upswing in the market. However, keep in mind that top sales talent will size up an organization and decide whether or not they can reach the big commission numbers you used to attract them.
A company is a community of people striving for the same goal. Every community has certain expectations for behavior and actions that define its culture. These expectations can allow organizations to thrive, or cause them to become stagnant, dying organizations. Therefore, as the leader of the organization, it is essential to ensure you are creating the space for your people to feel involved, valued, and engaged.
Remember, it’s not just about free bagels in the breakroom or company-branded T-shirts. The Great Resignation has prompted many to look at where and how they spend their time. They’re looking for an environment where they feel welcomed, supported, and valued not only in their work but in the way the company gives back to their community.
Many unsatisfied employees leave companies when they sense they don’t have a voice in matters that directly affect their job. As a result, they feel they have little control over their individual success. This can make them question where the company is going and if they even play a role in its future. When an employee doesn’t feel engaged with their company, they see the writing on the wall and conclude: this place doesn’t value me, so I should look for somewhere that does.
In today’s day and age, employees have an incredible amount of leverage in the job market. With so many organizations scrambling to fill open seats, promotions and increased wages allow many in the workforce to take the next big step in their career.
What you need to do is make sure that the top performers in your company — the people you want to build your organization around — know that they are essential to your current success and are a big part of your future.
Do you routinely reward and recognize your employees? Do you acknowledge the extra effort your employees put in during difficult or long-winded projects? Have you let people know that their work now is paving the way to their next promotion? If not, you’re setting yourself up to have underappreciated, fed-up employees.
Beyond recognizing your employees and letting them know where they stand in the long run, are you truly investing in the growth and success of your people? What are you doing in terms of professional development? Are you hiring sales coaches or other professionals to show your salespeople you are committed to helping them find success? Are you grooming your employees to take on expanded roles as the company grows? When you show your people that you are all-in on helping them achieve their potential, they’re much more likely to go all-in on overcoming challenges in their roles.
The Golden Rule applies here: treat others the way you want to be treated. Become the boss that inspires them to rise to new challenges, and let them know that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
So how do you take advantage of the Great Resignation?
Find a way to create the company everyone wants to work at, and no one wants to leave. Will some people part ways? Of course. Sometimes a new job opportunity is the next step for an employee to achieve their personal goals.
Remember, if you dedicate time to making sure your employees feel valued and recognized, you will win their loyalty.
Make sure your top performers are paid for their work with a solid compensation plan designed to keep them hungry and rewarded for the extra effort they put in.
When you let people know that they are a vital part of your company’s future, they are more likely to pass up a shiny new job offer because they know they are important and significant contributors to your organization. Be the boss they want to work for and you’ll not only survive the Great Resignation, but you’ll thrive by becoming the company that people are lining up to work for.
If you’d like to discuss how you can find opportunity in the Great Resignation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I am part of a national group of Senior Sales Leaders who collaborate to share insights like the examples shown in this article. We formed because of our shared passion to help business leaders exponentially grow their revenue.