Culture Shock: How to Stop Losing Star Performers

BY Kathy Crosett
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If you’re like many leaders today, you’re growing aware of the increased emphasis on positive company culture. With the economy now on firm footing, employees who don’t like their current company cultures are seeking new opportunities. It’s not always easy to fix your culture, but Matthew Gonnering, the CEO of Widen, has a few ideas.

SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith recently pointed out some astounding finds regarding the impact of poor culture on sales reps.  According to a recent survey fielded by SalesFuel, only 18% of sales reps feel their employer cares more about them than about profits.  And as SalesFuel’s What Your Salespeople are Afraid to Tell You white paper indicates, 35% of sales reps have left a company because they can’t make the corporate culture work for them. We can imagine that a bad culture doesn’t just drive away sales reps. Employees at all levels are bound to update their resumes if they’re dreading arriving at the office every morning.

This negative scenario can cost you plenty of money. Another white paper, Investing in the Sales Process – Coaching and Metrics for Success, sponsored by BIA/​Kelsey and SalesFuel, notes that losing a senior sales professional can translate to a $100,000+ hit to the bottom line by the time you hire a replacement.

To reduce the loss of key employees, you need to engage in a little culture shock. Get rid of the fear and dread your employees are feeling and infuse your workplace with positivity. Shake things up as Gonnering suggests:

Hiring Leaders with Emotional Intelligence – Your managers are dealing with their team members multiple times a day. These individuals set part of the corporate culture through these interactions so make sure their emotional intelligence is where it should be. Screen potential managers carefully before you give them extra responsibility. And, offer regular training to support managers who don’t show enough emotional intelligence. Otherwise, employees might feel belittled or think their ideas don’t matter, and then you’ll have a problem.

Using Onboarding Mentors – To make sure new employees understand and appreciate the company culture, match them with mentors. When your new employee has someone she can mirror, she’ll learn quickly about how successful team members operate in the organization. A strong mentor can show her that asking questions and suggesting changes are encouraged at your company.

If your top contributors keep exiting, stop denying that you have a culture problem. Take positive steps to roll out real change. Once you get culture right, star performers will come to you and stay with you.