Retaining Top Talent Can Have a Detrimental Impact on Company Culture


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Why are the most extraordinary leaders abandoning conventional thinking about retaining their top performers?
How could this possibly have net positive financial results as well as attract a high quality talent pool to be a part of their company story?

Most traditional thinkers in the HVAC industry stay up at night concerned about one thing: losing their top producers to the competition and having their revenue lines suffer. It’s the striking image of two glass bowls full of fish as one large fish leaps from one bowl to the other. So how does abandoning this conventional wisdom concerning retaining top talent align with the responsibility of meeting these top line revenue goals? Well, just about everything yet not in the ways that you will expect this article to go.

Moving away from conventional wisdom

You see most extraordinary leaders, in almost all industries, trending against that common practice of laser like focus on retaining top talent. No, that is not a misprint. As we all know, most sales teams are not created equally and this lack of parity can be most easily recognized in your AOR Sales team at any medium to large sized HVAC contractor. It is time to shift the conversation. The new paradigm shift is due the increased awareness that creating an environment where one top performer thrives can limit the development or recruitment of the next wave of talent.

Are you winning at any cost?

Most organizations likely are either housing a top performer who is affecting their company culture or are susceptible to recruiting one who will. But thankfully that behavior is very easy to spot: they acquire power and influence through overachieving from a production standpoint. Then they amass a small contingent of those mediocre performers who may or may not align with the company culture but who will follow them in directions that erode true team building. This behavior then creates an “us against them” mentality that causes divisiveness throughout the entire organization while sometimes running off those competent closers who align with your company vision.

(3) Keys to turning around a disengaged top performer:

  1. Give them a voice. You may lack a consensus but you will get their buy in.
  2. Encourage creativity. Situational Leadership 101: Delegate to motivate.
  3. Keep your commitments. Always remember that promises fulfilled are invaluable.

Ok, I recognize it. So now what?

As Sales or Service leaders we need to ask ourselves these three critical questions:

  1. Do we have a high potential talent pool that we can coach up? Not necessarily a group of top performers but a group of highly energetic, bought in, lifelong learners who are striving for personal growth as well as team success.
  2. Do we have a proven sales or service system to follow? If our proven sales or service system can overcome most of the common shortcomings within our team so that we can consistently be highly productive as a team while growing their individual skills, then we are well on our way to executing the paradigm shift required.
  3. And are all of our salesmen or technicians doing the right thing and more importantly are they doing it for the right reasons? If we can unequivocally state that this is the case then that coveted company culture that we hold so dear will attract that top talent that we desire because they want to be a part of our story and not just to win financially. If not it is our responsibility as leaders to courageously seek out those who do not align with our values and replace them with those that do.

It’s time to shift the conversation

If we can adhere to those three basic principles then we are prepared to execute a strategy that supports true team building, hones all required skills, and lends itself to fostering an environment that attracts the right talent who wants to be a part of our unique story for all the right reasons. Our call to action is to be bold and to challenge that conventional wisdom that supports retaining top talent at all costs. And to lead with culture and be committed to holding strong to those values that are important to our organization. By doing this we create a culture where our employees can thrive and no one individual is bigger than the game.

Rob Stader

Posted In: ACCA Now, Management

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