Driving Sustainable Sales Growth through Employee Engagement
Take a moment to think about your top employees. Not just your leadership team – although you may have some of your top employees in that group. Your top employees could be anywhere in your organization. Asked another way, whose sudden departure would have the greatest, most gut-wrenching impact on you and your company? Yes, those employees. Can you picture them in your mind’s eye?
When is the last time you told them how much you appreciate them? What have you done to help them map out and plan for the next few steps in their career? How are you supporting them in terms of helping them achieve their personal goals? How confident are you that you know their personal goals?
Years ago Jim Collins studied over 500 companies, looked through reams of data, and using a very rigorous criteria narrowed the field down and selected 11 companies that went from good to great. And THE number one factor in that transition from good to great is about “getting the right people on the bus.” This is a topic that has been written about extensively and it still is worthy of your attention today. Because attracting and retaining the right people – the folks who just “get it” and will do whatever you need them to do to serve your clients and help your company grow – is perhaps your most important job as CEO or owner.
At my company, Intelligent Conversations, we focus on helping companies build over-achieving teams. Our primary focus is helping our clients build over-achieving sales teams although we’ve discovered that if you have really great salespeople and a weak operational team it’s impossible to sustain growth over time. Driving sustainable sales growth requires having the right people on the bus and in the right seats on the bus throughout your organization. And keeping these top employees challenged and engaged is crucial to driving growth and building a sustainable market advantage for your company.
What can you do to drive greater employee engagement? Here are a few questions to help you get started:
- Starting with your leadership team, how well do you know everyone’s personal and career goals? How often do you discuss them? What are you doing to help them achieve them?
- How well do your leaders understand their team’s goals? Can they articulate them? Have they helped each of their team members see your company as the means through which they can achieve their goals? These goals, by the way, can be monetary although more often than not they will include other things (more time with family, opportunity to volunteer, etc.).
- How many of your team members would enthusiastically working at your company to a friend or family member? If you measured your internal Net Promoter Score, what would you learn? What would you be prepared to change?
- How do you gather feedback and input from your team members? Would people on your team feel comfortable being brutally honest and candid? Do you have an easy way for people in your company to share their ideas and opinions? Are you ready to listen?
These are just a few ideas to get started. If you are serious about building a company with sustainable sales growth, paying attention to these types of questions is more important than ever. Your top employees are the very employees your competitors covet and if you’re not paying attention to them someone else will. And what will you do if they leave? Are you confident in your bench? Have you documented key processes and institutional knowledge? The companies who figure this out will have a significant advantage in their markets.