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The Great Re-Alignment: Are Employee Incentives the Key to Hiring Now?

business concept of realignment of two puzzle pieces
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The great re-alignment has left many companies struggling to find talent. According to recruitment software provider, PageUp, over 52% more open job opening ads than pre-pandemic. However, according to job boards like Seek, job applications fell by 5.4% month-on-month, which is 44.2% lower when compared to the same period two years ago.

The prediction was for a great resignation as millions of people leave their jobs seeking work-life balance as they had become accustomed to remote work. Certainly, companies are experiencing workers quitting their jobs but not for the reasons of working remotely. Instead, many are taking the opportunity to advance their careers, move to better companies and improve their overall earnings. It is the great re-alignment that is now trending in the market.

Everyone is asking where has all the sales and marketing talent gone. Pre-pandemic candidates were hunting for work: a simple job ad could fill a position with a quality sales or marketing person. However, negotiation of salary and perks was weighted to the employer, and perks were limited in many roles on offer.

Sales and marketing teams feel the pressure of the number of workers leaving their jobs. The number of people looking to stay in sales is shrinking, and salespeople are in high demand. Companies are identifying growth opportunities, and many are looking for business development managers to be part of those growth plans. Marketing is being re-evaluated, and priorities of skills by companies are seeing marketing personnel seek roles with less accountability.

Companies consistently report they have run advertisements and had no responses. They have exhausted their networks and a faced with a drought. They are not gaining traction in the great re-alignment. For the few that engaged in the interview process, some have made what they believe to be generous offers, only to be turned down.

What Australia is now experiencing is the great re-alignment. Good salespeople and marketing are taking the opportunity to improve their position personally and commercially. But is your company out of sync with what the marketing offers?

Two years ago, employers held all the cards. Turn the clock forward two years, and there are three types of employers looking for candidates.

  1. Those in denial of the changing market are still making statements that are now seen as dinosaur hiring. They are out of connection with the market and think offering flexible or hybrid work is enough.
  2. Employers are attempting to hire within bandwidths of salaries that are no longer attractive in a highly competitive market.
  3. Then there are those with the smell of desperation in the air, or should we say job ads, as companies make endless promises to win candidate attention.

In an attempt to secure candidates, the initial offers were marginally increased base salaries, with earnings rising through commission schemes or performance bonuses. Many companies are not re-evaluating their core salary offering and are being left well behind in the race to secure candidates.

Employers are now being told that increased salaries may not be enough. They need to offer more incentives and perks to win the race to secure a candidate. Candidates read the same messages knowing they are in the winning seat for negotiations, particularly salespeople.

Human resource departments dedicated to holding salary bandwidths are scanning the web and other companies, trying to find something extra they can offer to bring a new hire on board. Unaware of the indirect costs associated and an increase in the salary bandwidth, the more commercial solution to the problem.

We recently came across this offering in the market, setting a benchmark in the software industry.

They offer:

  • Ability to WFH
  • We are flexible about hours. You don’t have to work full-time, although we’d love it if you did.
  • $5,000 per year to put towards your professional development
  • 5 days entrepreneurial leave per year to work on your side projects and make them come to life
  • Parental leave
  • Volunteer leave
  • Business-wide activities on a Friday afternoon every seven weeks (think escape rooms, drawing classes, games afternoons, online trivia)
  • We also match NFP donations 2:1 – to name a few!

Sounds like a great place to join, but is the company offering too much? What impact will this have on the culture of the business and its profits? Potentially one-third of the year can be taken on leave under this scheme. Is it that going too far? How relevant is the offering to the candidates?

In a recent market survey, PWC uncovered the chasm between Leader beliefs and Employees ranking EVP (employee value proposition).

overview of research results on EVP

Source: PWC – The Future of Work – What Workers Want: Winning the War for Talent

Interestingly, employees are driven by working with good co-workers and pay rates, whereas employer leaders believe value alignment and on-the-job learning are the priorities. So obviously, they are poles apart when hiring and retaining personnel.

According to the PWC research, looking further in-depth in the report of What Workers Want is remuneration and reward, with 25% of people ranking it the highest. Companies unwilling to adjust their salary bandwidths need to reconsider their position as they are locking themselves out of the market.

In the great re-alignment, when it comes to hiring sales and marketing personnel, many of the rules for other administrative and operational personnel do not apply. Why? Because they are revenue influencers and contributors. They can directly increase a company’s earnings.

Salary packages can be adjusted and easily absorb 20-40% increases in base salaries as the sales goals and lead generation adjustments can be made to recoup the funds each year. The higher the request of base salary is balanced by the increase in accountability of revenue achievement.

Companies need to have hirers with the flexibility to negotiate for talent. The onus needs to move away from human resource departments to sales and marketing management or senior executives. With the limited number of candidates advancing in the market, opportunities cannot be lost on insufficient authority or lack of planning around candidate attraction.

Employers need to address:

  • Hiring Responsibilities – shifting the responsibility to the immediate supervisor and providing them with the authority to negotiate. Keeping the accountability close to the new hire and their management.
  • Hiring Process – become more agile and swift at making decisions. Like closing any sale, being tardy or leaving candidates open for discussions elsewhere can be a barrier to your success.
  • Salary packagesbe prepared to pay more and demand more. Know your numbers before you start the hiring process.
  • Alignment align the companies’ priorities with the candidates’ priorities throughout the hiring process. Like selling, please don’t focus on talking about your company; focus on asking candidates about their priorities.
  • Talent Marketingno longer can you wait for a vacancy in a team and fill it quickly from the open market. Instead, you need to be marketing to build a talent pool that encourages people to engage or follow your company across job sites, career pages, and social media. Brand where people are looking, and do not assume everyone knows your company.

Sales Focus Advisory has extensive experience in consulting sales and marketing personnel and management recruitment. We specialise in assisting companies in finding the right talent in competitive markets during the great re-alignment.

If you are looking to hire, please reach out to us to discuss the position you have on offer.

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Articles you may also be interested in reading:

  1. What Compensation Should You Pay a Sales Leader
  2. How to Hire Top Sales Performers Who Deliver Sales Goals
  3. Is Your Sales Structure Aligned Correctly?

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About the Author: Adele Crane

A leader in Implementation Consulting.
CEOs and Managing Directors have relied on Adele Crane to solve challenges with the performance of their sales and marketing since 1990. Her consulting experience in delivering results in 90-120 days is unprecedented by any other known sales and marketing consulting professional in the world. As an author of 3 acclaimed books, appearances on major media, and publications in USA, NZ and Australia, Adele’s experience brings fresh thinking and contemporary practices to business.