Performance Sales Best Practices
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3 Things to Attract the Best Gen Y Performance Sales Talent

Andrew Ford
By | Uncategorized | August 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

My uncle worked his entire life for one company: Kodak. For another uncle it was BP, and in that case his father before him did too: two generations in one company, imagine that? Everyone knows that “Employment for Life” contracts like these are a thing of the past.

Unfortunately, most hiring processes today maintain the language and expectations from the time of “Employment for Life” contracts. Ironically, everyone knows this a fiction, but no one shares that knowledge out of fear of impacting the employee’s recruitment. Who would work for a company that explicitly says, “This is not an employment for life contract”? Who would hire an employee that said, “I expect to move on in a couple of years”?

The bad news is that this fiction can go very deep into everyone’s thinking. You still see language about “loyalty” in the assumptions of the employer/employee relationship. Then, when either party ends the contract, everyone feels misused: employees feel abandoned, and employers feel betrayed. What if there was a way to break this fiction and, by doing so, make your company more attractive to employees, not less?

Create an “Employability for Life” Contract

In the June 2013 issue of HBR there was an interesting idea: The “Employability for Life” Contract. (Article: Tours of Duty: the new employer/employee compact.) The idea is to transition from the fiction of the “Employment for Life” contract to the promise of opportunities for development that will enhance employability after this “job”. If you accept the reality that you cannot promise the young people you hire today a job for life, it will bring into focus the real problem these young people face: “How do I get ready for my Next Job”. Imagine if you could promise to help answer this question with your employment offer. How attractive would you be to other candidates if you could deliver on this promise? The answer is very attractive, and the ones who would be attracted are the ones who are thinking long term, imagining the future, and understand how to create value: exactly what your business needs!

How to create an “Employability for Life” Contract with Gen Y’s in your Performance Sales Team

This is relatively easy, but it does demand a change in thinking. Salespeople building a career need a good opportunity to accomplish three things:

  1. Build a track record of success; therefore, they have to believe they can win with your solution. You need to show them you are ready to help them succeed.
  2. Develop high performance sales skills; therefore, they have to believe they will learn something that will increase their competitiveness. You need to show you are committed to their development.
  3. Make connections that count; therefore, they have to believe they can build a reputation in a network that will translate into future opportunities. You need to show them that your company is market reputation focused too.

Creating an opportunity to deliver these three things for your salespeople requires a deployment plan that makes it easy to share best practices, creates multiple learning opportunities, and is collaborative to stimulate creativity and engagement. The change in thinking, however, is there has to be a development mindset in your business that accepts the reality of salesperson transitions. The good news is you will also be creating a repeatable recipe for attracting and developing future salespeople reducing the risk to the business from salesperson transitions. Also, consider, star salespeople only leave for “better” opportunities: do the above well, and you will build a reputation as the “best” opportunity and your stars will find it hard to leave.

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