Like every generation before, motivations of the workforce have evolved. A new wave of information-rich individuals – the Generation Z or Millennials! – are shifting the way that companies think about hiring, developing and maintaining their top talent. So, how can companies attract, onboard, develop and retain early-in-career millennial sales talents in their organizations?
Times are changing….
Just a few short years ago, when we advertised an early-level sales role, all it took was a simple job description and a list of ‘requirements’, and within a few days our recruiter was filtering thirty applicants down to a shortlist of five for interview. The ‘lucky few’ would proceed to jump through several hoops of interview, the obligatory sales pitch and a challenging role-play with an angry customer, before being invited to ask a question or two about the role. It was an employers’ market, where candidates were chosen based on their prior experience in similar roles, as well as their history of over-achievement against quota.
Upon joining and after a lengthy IT setup process, the first two weeks consisted of structured training. This included a mix of instructor-led workshops, Powerpoint presentations, and corporate documentation to digest; all designed to give the new employees everything they needed to engage their customers quickly.
Each Tuesday morning was the one-on-one with the Sales Manager to review metrics and sales funnel, much like an interview. Our new reps would be asked to come back with a ‘get well’ plan for any dormant customers in the next meeting. Work challenges, career and well-being were rarely discussed, as the week/month/quarter took priority. The highly anticipated performance and pay review cycle occurred once a year, just after year end, and the top Sales reps would be seeking a promotion or more senior role every 3 or 4 years.
A New Wave of Employees
Fast forward to 2020, life has changed in many ways. It’s no longer an employer’s hiring market, and a new wave of information-rich individuals are shifting the way that companies think about sourcing, developing and maintaining their top talent. Leading this transition are the Generation Z, or Millennials – anyone typically born from the mid-1990s onwards.
When these individuals apply for a role, the job itself is no longer the single biggest factor. The company brand, culture and employee engagement style take precedence, as does the company’s ability to survive and thrive in the face of the current worldwide pandemic. Top of their minds are the company’s contribution to society, ethics and how they embrace technology in order for their people to work flexibly and dynamically, both with their customers and within their own teams.
Millennials seek fast career progression, with the opportunity to change roles and learn new parts of the business. Learning itself has also evolved; successful companies now think beyond the content to how their employees harness information. Millennials seek answers to questions fast, rather than waiting to find out.
Millennials do not just embrace technology, they expect it. They want a modern, collaborative workspace that is also fun and highly flexible for their different working styles. They desire a consistent experience whether they are in the office or required to work remotely. Having these tools grow not just productivity, but also a company’s brand value, as well as the loyalty of its people.
So, how can companies attract, onboard, develop and retain early-in-career millennial sales talents in their organisations? These are the topics I will be discussing in the coming weeks, stay tuned!