Company C undertook a top down review and formulated a 5 year strategic plan. New business development became the primary focus to deliver the goals and objectives of the corporation in line with the plan. A thorough review of the existing capability of the sales team was undertaken and the diagnosis became clear – wrong people in wrong jobs.
In order to achieve the challenging goals outlined in the strategic plan a complete restructure and overhaul of the new business team and its function would be required. Davidson Consulting was engaged to define the roles and acquire top talent to fulfil the needs of the business.
A full job analysis was undertaken along with redefining roles and the compilation of in-depth job descriptions. This enabled DC to identify core competencies required for success within the role. Once this phase of the project had been completed, DC began sourcing the premium talent available from the market place. A comprehensive shortlist of suitable and interested candidates was compiled and delivered to the company. DC devised and implemented an appropriate interview and selection process incorporating Competency based interviews, candidate presentations and psychometric profiling. This enabled hiring managers to make an informed choice on the candidates, linking skills and experience to clearly defined job roles and responsibilities. DC assisted in job offer negotiations and post offer support allowing the client company to secure their first choice of candidates.
2 complete new business teams were recruited, the client safe in the knowledge that the best available people in the marketplace were hired and their skills, abilities and experience closely matched the company’s and the job’s requirements. During the first quarter the new teams had secured contract values in excess of four times the previous year’s total revenue.
Company B preferred to promote from within, typically promoting a high performing sales person to Sales Manager and a Head of Department to General Manager. Whilst these individuals had performed well in previous roles and were typically promoted on merit they lacked the skills or preparation to take on a bigger and more demanding role. No tangible Talent Management policy or succession plan was in evidence.
Newly promoted Managers lacking the skills to tackle the complexities of their new role typically lead to underperformance, loss of confidence and usually resignation. The net effect of this process was twofold;
The Company lost a valued team member who had performed well in previous roles. The fallout across the Company resulted in capable employees shunning promotion and their own opportunities for advancement.\r\nThe changes were unsettling for staff who sought leadership and stability resulting in overall loss of performance and results for the business unit.
Davidson Consulting advised the Board and implemented the following recommendations:
- An employee benchmarking system was undertaken identifying traits, skills and attributes of high performing Managers
- Core competencies and behaviours measured through an internal Assessment process underpinned any future promotions
- Regular strategy meetings were introduced to identify future openings and likely replacements allowing a positive plan to be implemented
- A Management Development Programme was designed and implemented allowing future managers to acquire the necessary skills before being promoted
- An ILM leadership module was introduced adding credibility with a recognised formal qualification
The introduction of these measures had the following effects:
- The Board were able to promote with more tangible factual information aiding the decision making process
- The introduction of a formal Management Development Programme had an overall positive effect on Company employees and their loyalty
- Newly promoted Managers were able to make a more speedy contribution and positive impact within their new role
- Successful Sales Personnel and Department Heads were not over promoted, but retained within roles more suited to their abilities
Company A suffered high turnover of sales teams throughout its multiple UK sites. Turnover rate was running at in excess of 100% per annum. Between 75 and 100 new sales people were hired annually with the majority leaving within the year. Loss rate within the first 4 weeks of start date was dramatic. Hiring, Training and continuity disruption were a drain on financial resource and had a negative impact upon a generally loyal customer base. Davidson Consulting undertook investigations to establish the root cause of the problem and arrived at the following conclusions:
- Hiring managers were untrained in interview and selection techniques resulting in ‘wrong’ hires
- Candidates were given an inaccurate view of the job role and company expectations
- No formal induction process or initial training was undertaken
- Little Company or on site managerial support during the first crucial weeks resulted in new starters being left to fend for themselves
- A remuneration structure focussed entirely on individual performance resulted in existing sales people viewing newcomers as a threat
Findings were fed back to the Board and an action plan agreed to address the issues raised:
- A standardised, competency based interview process was introduced
- All hiring managers were trained in interview techniques and received company accreditation
- The interview process included an introduction to the role and company values via presentation and specially commissioned video
- A 30 day induction programme was designed and implemented with key areas identified and completed
- A support programme was implemented and delivered with managerial input giving feedback to new starters and managers via 360 style ‘mini’ appraisal
- Whilst the commission structure was not altered form an individual basis greater teamwork and colleague support was fostered via training sessions
With the implementation of the above interventions several positive results were recorded. Significantly turnover was reduced to 35% over a 2 year period. Research and results analysis demonstrated new starters became more productive producing typically 15% more net business in their first year of employment. Managers were given increased mentoring and coaching skills and benefited from the interview training. A greater sense of teamwork was fostered resulting in increased cooperation between individuals and departments.