How Effective Human Resource Practices are Similar to the Sales Process

To effectively recruit, manage and retain employees requires a strategic process, similar to selling. Your company needs to have an effective hiring process in place (prospecting), create a loyal employee base (return customers), sincerely care about your employee’s development (value-add) and prepare for the future (customer service).

To successfully attract and retain quality employees, a company must have a strategic hiring process. Begin your process with an internal request for candidates. This ensures that current employees can pursue career opportunities. For outside candidates, the Human Resources department should utilize a standard process. The process workflow is best implemented using a software program. Every candidate should interview with multiple people. The hiring process must indicate a complementary match between the candidate for the position and the company. The company must develop an upbeat, motivating new hire orientation for employees. Also, ongoing product knowledge and job specific training should be offered consistently. You must believe that retaining employees is as important as attracting employees. Like sales, to prospect and develop your (internal) customers, you must find the best prospects and educate them about your business.

Employee loyalty is necessary for long term success. Birthdays and company anniversaries should be celebrated within each department. Family accomplishments and tragedies should be shared in a monthly newsletter or bulletin board or staff meeting. In addition to a supportive environment, your company should standardize several policies related to employee relations. Sexual harassment, security and identity theft, discrimination, and drug free workplace policies are all ways to ensure consistency throughout the company related to potential concerns. The company should also have a problem solving/grievance procedure as well as an open door policy. Employee relations are critical to the success of any company.

To provide “value-add”, your company should find unique ways to celebrate your employees. One of the most effective is all-staff meetings. These meetings allow support staff, sales teams and other employees to interact. Held during lunchtime and with food provided, all employees are presented key information about the business. Sales quotas and key measurements are discussed, as well as company expenses and revenues. At this meeting, the employee awards are also presented. Every month, employees are chosen as “Employee of the Month”. Your company could also host an annual Holiday party, or summer picnic. The party is an enjoyable night of music, awards, food and entertainment. The company should provide other events throughout the year that celebrate employees. The summer picnic is an afternoon of food, prizes and games. An annual bowling event allows employees to relax and have fun. “Bonding” events such as these make it evident to your employees that their company celebrates them as individuals who establish the success of the company.

Successful work-life balance programs are another way to demonstrate that you recognize that your employees are committed to their job but also have a life outside of the company. Promoting employee development, creating a respectful environment, encouraging teamwork and allowing employees to feel like shareholders in the success of their company are all positive steps to take if you have not already done so. Specific possibilities include telecommuting opportunities, increased flexible scheduling, more professional development sessions, and continued recognition programs. Your company should be determined to continue to be a company of choice for quality employees. That will establish the organization’s success.

By treating your entire human resources function as a sales function and envisioning your employees as “internal customers”, you can develop the strategies necessary to provide the most effective work environment.

Jennifer N. Sutherland is a corporate trainer at New Horizons Great Lakes, a 2008 winner of Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. She can be reached at [email protected].

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Richard Blanchard
Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.