by Kaprice Crawford, HFA
HFA members El Dorado Furniture and Badcock &more weigh in on strategies
to keep top performers engaged and happy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly three percent of the
U.S. workforce quits monthly. Voluntary turnover, especially among
salespeople, is at an all-time high. The workforce is shrinking, baby boomer
retirements are accelerating, and employees still have many employment
Losing knowledgeable, high-earning salespeople hurts. It’s a
worst-case scenario, but even when average salespeople leave, it becomes
urgent to find replacements and quickly get them up to speed. In the
process, management can lose sight of the need to engage with their seasoned
employees, who continue to drive the majority of bottom-line sales.
HFA’s members have found that this lack of focus on more experienced
salespeople takes a toll on morale and productivity.
Employees always want a voice, but this desire is most significantly felt by
Engagement Surveys: Engagement surveys are a great way to
understand how well your engagement efforts are working and identify
opportunities for improvement. These ask employees open- and closed-ended
questions such as: Do you find your employment meaningful? Do our
company’s values align with yours? Is company leadership invested in
your success? Have you experienced any problems with co-workers or managers
recently? You can conduct pulse surveys on any topic at any time, but at the
minimum, perform an engagement survey once a year.
HR Value Chain Measurement: An HR value chain measures the
touchpoints a person or team responsible for human resources has made over a
specified time period. It quantifies actions taken with the intention of
helping reach defined goals.
Touchpoints: Early in 2022, Rob Ball, owner of a chain of
Badcock &more Stores, reviewed the HR value chain within his stores and
found that “Except for our annual holiday party, the number of
meaningful touchpoints with our employees had depleted during the pandemic.
We were so busy keeping up with the day-to-day that we hadn’t done
much outreach to sales teams via webinars, Zoom meetings, group meetings or
“Another way El Dorado Furniture keeps our superstars across the
organization engaged is by celebrating their achievements at a yearly awards
gala. We consider the gala to be our version of the Oscars.”
Ball saw this as a big problem, so he took steps to increase these types of
engagements. He also spoke with seasoned salespeople on his team to ask for
their help in formalizing the sales process. “It’s a good idea
to do this,” he explained. “By asking your best salespeople for
their opinions, you pay homage to their success. And, when you get them
thinking about the selling tools they’ve used over the years, not only
does it give them a voice and a role in helping the organization, it reminds
them to tap into some of the skills they might not use as much as they
should. At our Badcock &more stores, we found that even our top
salespeople are selling more after we went through this process.”
Goals & Accountability
Discuss team and individual objectives and expectations when you meet with
employees. Help them to align their goals to the company’s mission so
their work feels more relevant and significant. Keeping your employees in
the know will help them feel positive about their contributions and more
optimistic about their future in the organization.
Out on the floor: Beyond having these discussions about
goals and accountability, “Get your management team out on the
floor,” added Ball. “Meet with each sales associate to
understand how they do what they do for the organization and why. Go over
their KPIs and discuss their wish lists and career goals. Listen to their
suggestions. These touchpoints need to be personal and frequent. You must
manage sales teams by ensuring that you’re talking about what’s
in it for them and not always about their KPIs. Your store wins when
salespeople believe you are willing to listen and help them achieve their
“You must manage sales teams by ensuring that you’re talking
about what’s in it for them and not always about their KPIs. Your
store wins when salespeople believe you are willing to listen and help them
achieve their personal goals.”
It’s essential to keep employees engaged by finding new and creative
ways to challenge them in their roles. Keep your superstars involved by
investing in their career development. Share opportunities for additional
training and certifications. Offer them opportunities to engage or lead
initiatives in the communities you serve. Encourage them to work with other
people across departments in your organization. This will help them overcome
boredom and potential burnout. Find them paths for future advancement if
that’s something they are interested in pursuing.
Lunch Appointments: Matt Pridemore, who owns and operates
16 top-producing Badcock &more stores in the Southeast, commented that
“Sales managers need to figure out what each team member finds
challenging. Not every good salesperson wants to be a sales manager.
That’s okay, but just about every team member wants to be challenged.
You need to talk with them one-on-one. I like to take my people to lunch and
get to know and understand their hopes and dreams.” Like Rob Bell,
Pridemore produces online content for the Home Furnishings Association Sales
Academy. This program consists of 24/7 online training courses with an
extensive video library designed to improve sales, increase customer
engagement and motivate sales teams.
Oscar Buzz: Miguel Valle, senior sales manager, El Dorado
Furniture, shared his perspective on keeping sales superstars engaged. El
Dorado Furniture is also an HFA member-retailer. “At El Dorado
Furniture,” Valle explained, “many of our seasoned salespeople
become instructors at El Dorado University, a several-week training course
for new salespeople. It’s an additional responsibility that adds value
to the program and is rewarding for senior salespeople.
Another way El Dorado Furniture keeps our superstars across the organization
engaged is by celebrating their achievements at a yearly awards gala. We
consider the gala to be our version of the Oscars. It’s about sales
associates’ performance and the performance of leaders at El Dorado
Furniture. We don’t just hand out awards at the gala. It’s a
time to share our people’s success stories and relate why their
accomplishments are worthy of recognition. It’s become a powerful
incentive for our associates and leaders across the organization. They work
all year to get a seat at that event.”
Frequent communication and feedback are crucial to helping employees feel
informed and connected. Don’t stop paying attention to an employee
just because they’re doing well or have been on the team for a while.
Create a feedback culture within your sales team and company-wide to
encourage honest and open communication. When employees trust their
management to listen, they are more likely to share their insights,
including communicating what resources and support they need to succeed.
It is essential to keep your seasoned salespeople engaged. Are you providing
regular feedback? Giving them opportunities to learn and grow? Making sure
they feel like their opinion counts? If not, start today! Your employees and
your bottom line will thank you.
The Home Furnishings Association is proud to serve the industry with the
latest education, and information that impacts your business. Learn more
about membership and resources at
www.myhfa.org or by calling