(By Laurie Kahn) Change is hard to handle. No one likes to think they need to change or think about what business practices are needed to change for higher success. But, let’s face it, change is an ever-evolving issue and sometimes it’s inevitable.

As we get closer to the end of another year, we often reflect on what worked in the past year and what didn’t. We talk about change and preach it to our staffs, but how often does that change actually happen? We know it starts at the top and trickles down. It needs to be embraced, promoted, and monitored to really make a difference. Change does have an accountability factor.

For many years, I have been preaching what changes need to be made at our companies to have continued success in the area of talent acquisition and retention. As we go into 2018 with a very low unemployment rate and more competition to hire the quality talent we need, I can’t stress how critical it is to start thinking about and implementing some changes or you will find yourself lacking a strong team able to reach your goals and objectives. We are losing superstars from our teams, we are losing potential talent to other industries and we are having a harder time attracting new talent to join our sales teams.

Here are some reminders of what needs to change so you can be positioned as an “employer of choice” – a company where people want to work and stay.

  • Get out of the routine of only hiring “media” sellers. This is one of the biggest issues the radio industry has – managers continue to want to steal from the competition as it is easier to train them. Non-competes are often in place, which makes this difficult; often a seller who does well at one company can fail at another and they often come with high price tags. It’s important to hire people who have good marketing expertise, good connections, and have the ability to sell, so start looking at other sales prospects outside of media.
  • Change your compensation. Forget about even bringing up 100% commission in your job profile or ads. No one of any worth is going to join you to do developmental business with a 90-day guarantee. To attract, hire, and retain the talent you need, it will cost you. Offer a security plan where you have goals and milestones beyond billing to gauge how they are doing. If you bring in someone to do 100% developmental, know that it is going to take at least 12 months for them to build a list from which they can bill enough to live. Good talent is expensive, and to hire well, know what it will cost.
  • Set goals with your managers on how much recruiting needs to be done weekly, how many potential sales hires they should always have on their bench and monitor their activity. This is a major part of their job that usually doesn’t even make their job description. The number one excuse for lack of quality talent in their pipeline is that they don’t have time. It needs to be a priority!
  • Create a culture where people are engaged, happy, and productive. Invest in different levels of training to help all sellers improve their skills. Coach Managers to be effective at helping all players be the best they can, know what it takes to motivate each seller on the team and help them close business. Challenge them to be creative.
  • Share more details, expectations, and work details with new hires to stop surprises from happening after they start to eliminate further turnover.
  • Brag about what you do! Share your community outreach projects, adopt a charity, get your team involved in giving back, offer days off for volunteer work, but make sure and share all that you do on your website and social media. This is a huge part of recruitment and very important to several work generations.
  • Update your website and career page. Job seekers and passive candidates will do their homework, make sure you are well represented on all social media.

Many leaders say they want change, they talk about it, they look into it, but when it comes down to it, they don’t often support it. The competition to hire and retain will only get tougher in the new year, so be prepared to fight for those you want and need to hire.

Laurie Kahn is the creator and founder of Media Staffing Network. She has worked with media companies since 1993 helping them hire top managers and sellers.