Friday, March 14, 2014

The Compensation of Validation

The battle for talent marches on:
Who are these new kids entering the workforce?
What can we provide our superstars to keep them engaged?
What are the most important functions of our business model?
How do we retain the aforementioned functions?

Companies exist to create revenue, so hiring/retaining quality salespeople is vitally important. Salespeople will always have options.

We consistently pontificate upon that which attracts salespeople to companies. Let me guess, money...? All salespeople watch The Wolf of Wall Street and seek a life of integrity-free excess. They want cars, coke and hookers. They will continue to work hard because they spend their weekly 5 figure checks over the weekend. It is a life of high highs and low lows.... each with their place in that salesperson's motivation.

Let's diffuse these stereotypes created by HR professionals that serve to marginalize poor salespeople.

Times Are-A-Changin'
Of course the duty of any good HR Blogger is to stereotype Millennials. I am part of a volunteer organization that helps college students find jobs. They are far less assholish than their fathers.

Fuel efficient cars are all the rave, non-profit organizations are more attractive than ever, and community service is a right more than a chore. Today's workforce puts the collective first.

Money is not sustainable!
There are several theories in Behavioral Economics that disprove the motivational value of cash. Money is only important to those who are not doing their job as well as they can. The disengaged will always complain about money while they should be doing what is important to earn it. People who are doing their job well make more money and complain less.

So let's assume everyone is doing their job well. Shouldn't that be the expectation? We don't hire people to fail, yet we cater every workforce initiative to the disengaged.

Example: Those who are our top performers seldom complain in meetings or on surveys. We don't celebrate the areas within the survey in which we are doing well. We look at the negative feedback from those at 50% of their quota and spend days trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist.

Do you validate?
More than money or opportunities to climb the ladder; salespeople need validation. We think of salespeople as the most arrogant of the flock. In fact, our salespeople are our least confident employees... salespeople need perks, trips and thank yous more than anyone.

How do you validate?

Paying someone enough money is only enough to motivate until more money comes along. Money is the ultimate transaction. How can we turn transactional work into transformational motivation?

1. Reward the business critical behaviors that lead to success (not just results).
2. Present challenges, create new ones, and track progress.
3. Don't prop up top performers as your best corporate citizens (they never are).
4. Partner with HR to discover non-revenue driving capabilities that turn individual contributors into great leaders.

Don't Forget to Remember!



  1. Validation plays an important role in every aspect......Great post

  2. Thanks Sarah! I appreciate the support! More awesomeness to follow.

  3. We need to do work perfectly so that we can achieve money as well as fame in the company....

  4. Everyone needs validation of their existence by others!