Retaining Top Talent: Enablement’s Role
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Bringing in top talent can make a drastic impact on all areas of a business, but retaining that talent is what translates to long-term success. When businesses make it their mission to provide employees with growth options, they are in turn able to curate a supportive work environment where professionals can thrive and feel empowered to stay.
Improving retention positively correlates with the development of a strong workplace culture, where the needs and desires of individuals across the board are fulfilled. According to new research on Creating Consistent Buyer Experiences Through Sales Enablement, organizations that provide career development support and invest in extrinsic motivators are 50% more likely to experience above-average employee engagement.
By being intentional in the ways that new employees are being integrated into the organization while ensuring the satisfaction of existing ones, businesses can retain sellers while transforming them into top performers who are able to consistently achieve their goals.
Here are a few ways to invest in the success of top talent to position them for continued growth long term.
Facilitate Succession Planning
Succession planning protects rep career growth and the business by creating a structure for training and development, maintaining brand identity, and planning long-term goals. By incorporating career mapping and planning into training and coaching programs, enablement can prepare all reps to perform adequately and succeed in their designated roles while helping them take proactive steps toward their career goals. By knowing what they need to do to perform in their roles, reps can also plan their next steps with a holistic understanding of how they can earn the next challenge.
More specifically, the directional investment between employers and employees can increase seller preparation, creating a culture of confidence from the very start. This not only helps reps understand the company mission and the overarching vision, but also transparently conveys to them the impact they are making on their prospects, customers, and the broader organization. Enablement can help in this process by providing clear guidance on career levels and working with managers to help them establish action plans with their teams to meet their career goals.
“We need to have something to work towards,” said Katie Maycock, co-founder of OMNIA. “With sales specifically, we can achieve a goal-oriented mindset because we can hit targets and metrics, which puts a little bit of pressure there. As leaders, having the right amount of pressure allows someone to work efficiently, stay focused, and be driven.”
Fulfillment in their individual roles can be highly motivating to reps, simultaneously increasing the number of high-achieving sellers while also encouraging those high achievers to stay with the organization to continue to experience success.
“We’re focused on continually developing and empowering the teams we support to make sure that they’re executing flawlessly, leveling up, and seeing progress in the organization,” said Devon McDermott, vice president of enablement and learning and development at Persado.
Tend to Intrinsic Needs
Beyond professional validation, it is also crucial to provide sellers with a career structure that extends to all of their needs, both personally and professionally. For example, by tending to all tiers of basic human needs as outlined in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, enablement can formulate a conducive and well-rounded approach to employee necessities. Consider the following strategies:
- Physiological Needs: Provide adequate compensation so that employees can access basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing.
- Safety Needs: Equitable pay also helps ensure security, as does ample work-life balance in order to ensure employees are able to maintain physical and emotional health.
- Love and Belonging: Create a culture where reps feel connected and supported.
- Esteem: Curate a space for sellers to feel valuable and deserving of respect with patience and active listening.
- Self-actualization: Support employees in growing their careers and pursuing their development goals.
By providing sellers with enablement, career pathing, and recognition, it becomes possible to curate a work environment that focuses on the journey more than the destination and prioritizes all categories of professional and personal growth.
Nurture Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Homogeneous environments do not allow employees to thrive to their fullest potential. By supporting all forms of diversity, extending and not limited to cultural, ethnic, racial, and gender liberty, teams can attain greater levels of success through exposure to different perspectives and ideas based on unique life experiences.
“Diverse teams are really the most impactful and successful,” said Myisha Procter, director of sales enablement at Custom Ink. “Diversity, inclusion, and equality are bridges to greater opportunities that may have not been there before because more seats at the table give us opportunities to unlock more opportunities.”
Creating a culture that meaningfully nurtures diversity can help ensure that all team members feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in the organization, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will feel committed to contributing their talents to help an organization meet its goals. In addition to recruiting diverse talent, enablement can help support reps and nurture a sense of belonging through the promotion of employee resource groups (ERGs).
By dedicating time and space for reps to gather with others who share common aspects of identity, enablement can communicate support for employee well-being. This also can lead to increased employee engagement, a more inclusive environment, and most importantly, an open forum for employees who share a common identity to meet and support one another to build community and a sense of belonging.
Encourage Transparent Communication
With the goal of long-term success, practitioners can consistently promote career growth by digging deeper into what reps want to accomplish and ensuring that there are sufficient plans in place to help them achieve their goals. Enablement can extract knowledge regarding the seller experience by building trust with reps to invite transparent communication on extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, core values, and fundamental needs.
“As a whole, communication needs to get to the salespeople,” said Anita Nielsen, sales performance coach at Forbes Coaches Council and president and owner of LDK Advisory Services. “They need to feel like they’re part of something bigger and that they have their thumb on the pulse of what’s going on around them.”
By providing employees with the opportunity to express themselves safely while working toward understanding all aspects of the employee experience, it becomes easier to bridge barriers and construct attainable solutions.
Doing so with the support of leadership further increases the feasibility of changes aimed at improving seller satisfaction within the organization. Beyond building trustworthy relationships with reps, leaders are able to maintain and nurture those connections, as frequent and genuine communication allows for the exchange of thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
Analyze Retention Data
Lastly, gathering data on why people leave allows businesses to improve retention rates and prevent attrition. In conjunction with the importance of transparency in communication, conversations with departing reps about both the positives and negatives of their experience provide enablement with insight into what needs refinement in order to create seamless experiences across sales teams.
Sufficient work-life balance, competent and engaged management, a candid system of rewards, and more can impact how a rep perceives their experience with an organization. Identifying gaps in these components can help enablement identify the reasons why reps might leave before they do so, and enablement can seek transparent feedback from both former and current reps to support these observations.
Ultimately, retention involves seamlessly integrating new hires and then supporting them through the multiple aspects of their selling journey so that they can clearly envision their growth trajectory. Beyond providing reps with professional development opportunities, it is equally important to support their basic needs of safety, security, and belonging to ensure they feel fulfilled in their roles.
With these integrated elements, enablement can positively impact retention while holistically supporting rep success, personally and professionally.