“We feel like we’re a farm team for our competitors.”
That’s how a sales manager described his turnover problem to Al Rainaldi, executive vice president of Profiles International, a global human resources consulting firm in Waco, Texas. Competitors poached the manager’s team so frequently that the company ended up hiring 4,000 salespeople a year to maintain a team of 2,000. Instead of advising the firm to sweeten its compensation package, Rainaldi encouraged managers to take a closer look at top salespeople. He profiled the top 25 percent of performers, identifying the personality traits, occupational interests, learning styles, and behaviors that made them jibe with the job and company. That profile guided all future hiring decisions. He also set up an evaluation system that allowed salespeople to grade managers—without fear of retribution—on 18 leadership competencies.
In three years, the company sliced its turnover by more than half. “Poaching is becoming more prevalent,” Rainaldi says. “If you want to slow that trend, you have to do a much better job of who you select in the first place.”