Employee retention is a problem for employers everywhere. But if you're leading a sales team, it's likely even more of an issue. The average turnover rate across all industries is 13 percent, but in sales it's almost three times that much, coming in at a staggering 35 percent.
That's particularly problematic when you consider that the average cost of replacing an employee is 21 percent of their annual salary. With turnover costing U.S. businesses something to the tune of $1T a year, that seemingly high figure's not too hard to fathom.
With those numbers in mind, don't let all the hard work you did building a high-performing sales team go to waste. Hold on to more of your business's hard-earned funds and keep your team together with these tips to improve retention.
keep your pay rates competitive
One of the major contributing factors behind the rise of job hopping is that a new position at a new company will typically come with a higher salary than the standard annual raise. In fact, one Gallup poll found that a pay bump of 20 percent would be all it takes for a majority of disengaged employees to leave their current companies.
To help you stave off turnover, make sure your salary levels are in-line with those of your competitors. Here's what you can do:
Use an online salary calculator. An online salary calculator is a great source of current pay data that you can use as a reference when setting your pay rates.
Filter settings by job title and location to find the average rates for your area — then make sure to match them.
Keep an eye on salary fluctuations at least once a year to make sure what you're offering is still able to match — or beat — the market.
improve work perks and benefits
Strong salaries backed by best-in-class benefits are a winning combination for employee retention. In fact, 78 percent of employees said their benefits packages were just as important as their salaries in keeping them at their current jobs. So what, then, should you be offering? Here's what employees told us they were interested in most:
And even if leading the market on both salary and benefits isn't realistic for your business, tipping the scales more in favor of benefits could yield similar results: Sixty-one percent of employees said they'd be willing to accept a lower salary if a company had a great benefits package.
concentrate on career development and training
It's a major reason that employees leave: Fifty-seven percent of workers said that if they wanted to progress their careers, they'd have to leave their current companies.
Communicate pathways to advancement: The less mystery around internal advancement, the better. Illustrating the pathways forward in your organization eases employee concerns and gives them tangible goals to work toward.
Provide access to training and development: This can be either on or offsite, depending on your resources. If it's an area you can't address in-house, provide a stipend or reimbursement for courses that can improve your team members' skills.
Be open about open opportunities: Before you hit the external job market, notify staff regarding open roles and take in-house applications first.
cultivate a healthy workplace culture
Remember how carefully you screened candidates for team compatibility? Don't let all that good chemistry you created go to waste. Maintaining a positive and inclusive work environment will result in better performance and improved employee engagement across the board — two key conditions that are important to keeping your retention levels down.
the retention risks of poor workplace culture:
58% of employees have left jobs, or are considering leaving them, due to negative office politics.
38% of workers have left jobs due to toxic workplace culture or one where they don't fit in
In a field like sales, where turnover is already higher than average, you want to make sure you can cover all your bases. Here's what to do to make sure your workplace culture is up to par:
Create a mission statement: Really dig deep here. Creating a sense of purpose for your team's work, and communicating how their efforts will be instrumental to your company's growth, can help unite workers around a common cause and improve camaraderie.
Open the lines of communication: Unclear protocol around how team members should raise concerns or offer suggestions creates the kind of unfavorable conditions that can deteriorate a workplace's culture. Make sure you define clear communication channels, and express an openness to accepting feedback and new ideas.
Support and include: Friendly quota competition is healthy, but unifying your team and working together as a unit will always result in better performance. Implement and enforce diversity and inclusion policies that make everyone feel included and encourage collaboration on projects whenever possible.
If you notice employee retention starting to decline on your team, act fast and follow these steps to address it before it gets too far out of hand.
Oftentimes, problems with employee retention can be avoided by building better staffing and engagement strategies in advance. By making better-fit hires from the get-go and taking active measures to monitor engagement on your team, you'll be less likely to experience a widespread issue with retention down the line.