Why They Stay... Why They Go.

The good news: statistically only 13% of your digital sales workforce is actively looking for another job. The bad news? Over 50% of your people are open to something new. And the reasons they'd give for taking that offer or staying put may not really reflect the reality of the decision.

These are just a couple of the top-line findings of "Why They Stay, Why They Go: The Upstream/SellerCrowd Mobility Study." Clay Gran of SellerCrowd and I presented some of the data and conclusions at this week's Seller Forum in New York, and they challenge some of the conventional wisdom around employee retention. We'll release the data formally soon, but this post will give you a sneak peek.

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When we asked front-line sellers which three factors would most likely affect their decision to stay with or leave a company, the most cited reasons were "compensation and goals" "culture/work environment" and "product quality," in that order. OK, that seems predictable enough. But when we asked those actively looking for new jobs (13%) about their current companies, they rated them "poor" on upward mobility (43%) and management quality (41%). And there was daylight between these and the next set of concerns.

So what were those who called themselves 'secure and happy' (32%) most happy about at their current companies? Across most categories of sellers, "product quality" shot to the top of the list, along with management quality and transparency/honesty.

What does it mean? The short answer is that people stay because they perceive that your product (and by extension, your company and processes) works. But if they're looking, they're dissatisfied with how they (or the company at large) are being managed and don't see themselves getting to a level where they can make a difference. They stay with products and quit managers.

There were a lot more interesting data points and directions, but one jumps out: The Danger Zone. You might anticipate that during a seller's first year on the job, there's a honeymoon period. Indeed there is: 46% of sellers describe themselves as secure and happy during year one, and only 9% are having buyer's remorse and are actively looking. What you might not suspect is just how radically things change in year two: happiness/security drops off by half (23%) while active job seeking more than doubles (20%). So at the exact time when you'd be counting on a seller to hit their true productivity window - for your investment to start paying dividends -- you are in the most danger of losing them. Maybe you're paying too much attention to onboarding and not enough to keeping your best people from going overboard during the choppy seas of year two.

To learn more about the study, contact me or Clay Gran at SellerCrowd.