Turnover has always been a problem for Canadian businesses, but the economic rollercoaster Canada and the world have ridden during the coronavirus pandemic has made turnover an even more acute concern in the world of sales.
Work from home orders have expanded the employment options of sales associates, and the experience of being furloughed, fired or cooped up at home doing the same thing day-in and day-out has caused many sales professionals to rethink their careers — which has only exacerbated the problem for corporations that were already suffering from substantial turnover rates.
Tackling turnover will be an important task for sales teams in 2021, as the vaccine rollout reduces caseloads and helps the world get back to normal. Here are the three most important ways Canadian companies should approach the problem.
1. Review Hiring Practices
The best way to reduce turnover is to hire candidates looking for long-term jobs in your industry. This means doing more to attract talent than simply putting up a job posting.
Most large companies work with sales recruiters who can help identify high-quality candidates, as this increases the chances that the people hired will be a good fit for the workplace culture. For example, if you are hiring for sales jobs in Toronto, sales recruitment agencies can use their detailed databases to help find potential hires who want to build careers in the city.
Creating hiring policies that are explicitly designed to reduce turnover may require a little extra effort in the short term, but the time invested will be worth it: once you’ve found a sales recruiter who can deliver the goods, future hires will go much more smoothly.
2. Change the Incentive Structures
Much as people may enjoy their work and feel a sense of fulfillment about a job well done, the sales industry runs on incentives. Salaries and commissions are one example of this; flexible work hours, the option to work remotely, and the benefit package are others.
When many salespeople have gotten a taste for doing their job from anywhere, reviewing the incentive structure and finding out what perks would encourage members of your sales team to stay on could help you find a formula for reducing turnover.
3. Create Onboarding Protocols for Today’s Workplace
As many companies have discovered, having a workforce that operates from home creates significant challenges when onboarding new employees.
When people are working close to each other, it is a lot easier for employees to learn how the company functions and feel a sense of camaraderie with their colleagues. When working remotely, onboarding needs to be more targeted and intentional.
While sales teams may work from their offices again soon, experts believe that working remotely isn’t going anywhere. Firms that want to reduce turnover need to figure out how to create onboarding protocols that will help new hires feel included and supported even when not physically present.
High turnover rates come with a measurable price tag: it is estimated that replacing an employee who has left can cost up to 33% of their annual salary. But constantly hiring and losing sales personnel also weakens the morale of the department as a whole.
If Canadian businesses are serious about reducing turnover, they need to reconsider the root causes and design procedures and protocols to address them.