Hire Like You Sell: A Case for Treating Employees Like You Want Them Treating Customers

April 9, 2013

Leading HR blogger and consultant William Tincup explains why more companies should approach hiring like they approach selling.

Employee Engagement: Hire Like You Sell

So, you’ve hired a team of rock stars and convinced them that what your startup or expansion-stage company does is worth getting excited about. Congratulations. Now what?
Unfortunately, many businesses stop there. They make the hire and expect that the rest will take care of itself — that new employees will be enamored with the culture and mission and that they don’t need to do anything else to keep them engaged.
That’s the wrong way to handle it.
Truthfully, companies need to start thinking about candidates and employees the same way sales thinks about prospects and customers. Here are three tips for approaching talent acquisition and retention like you approach customer acquisition and retention:

1) Make Employee Onboarding and Nurturing a Priority

Most great sales organizations don’t just focus on attracting and closing prospects. They also make sure that once prospects are brought on as customers, they’re nurtured and engaged in ways that enhance their experience. You should do the same with your new hires, ensuring employees are properly trained and developed, proactively making them feel valued, and surveying them to find out what they like (or dislike) about their work experiences.

2) Focus on Retaining Top Talent

The simple truth is that it is a lot cheaper to retain existing top employees than it is to go out and acquire new ones. Wait a second — what does that remind you of? (Sales managers, feel free to chime in!)

3) Leverage Your Current Employees as Recruiting Currency

Just as your existing customers can be valuable sales assets via referrals and testimonials, so too can happy employees be one of your best (and cheapest) recruiting assets. By asking them to be part of the recruiting and hiring process, you’ll not only improve the quality of your candidate pool, you’ll also create stronger employee engagement.

Valuing Employee Engagement Alongside Customer Engagement

Many expansion-stage software companies are well aware of the dangers of customer churn, which is why they embrace onboarding and nurturing initiatives designed to improve customer engagement. But employee turnover can be just as damaging, impeding your ability to attract top talent right now, and lessening the likelihood that you’ll retain your highest performers in the long-term.
Ultimately, those two implications alone should be enough to convince you to re-think how you view one of your biggest assets — your people.

What do you think? Can recruiting and HR departments benefit from taking a cue from sales?


<strong></strong><strong>William Tincup</strong>, SPHR, is CEO of HR consultancy <a href="http://www.tincup.com/">Tincup & Co</a>. One of the country's leading thinkers on social media application for human resources, William is an expert on adoption of HR technology and a damn fine marketer. He has been blogging about HR related issues since 2007 and is a contributor to <a href="http://fistfuloftalent.com/meet-william-tincup">Fistful of Talent</a>, <a href="http://www.hrtecheurope.com/blog/">HRTechEurope</a>, and <a href="http://www.hrexaminer.com/">HRExaminer</a>. He is also co-host of the popular daily HR podcast, <a href="http://www.drivethruhr.com/">DriveThruHR</a>. He is currently the President of <a href="http://www.recruitingdaily.com">RecruitingDaily.com</a>.