Evaluating and Engaging Employees For the Culture Your Company Expects
For companies on the fast track to expansion and success, hiring a large number of employees to see who works out is never the best option. While it may seem tedious to spend the time carefully selecting the right people, it is in fact, a necessary step to finding the best people for the position that align with your values from the start. And the phase that follows is just as critical.
To keep the momentum of your culture, one thing you can’t afford to skip is actively engaging with the people that get the job done daily:
Steve Chikerotis, National Sales Manager at UniFirst Corporation, believes in hiring the right team members from the onset—and has seen the rewards of doing so. “You have to vet people before bringing them on board to ensure you are hiring the applicants with the right characteristics and values. To have a healthy culture you need team players and especially in a sales capacity such as UniFirst, it can be difficult to find people that possess both the self-motivated hunter qualities, as well as those who fit in with others. What makes a great sales representative doesn’t necessarily make a great team player—so it’s important to hire for that balance.”
Once candidates are officially a part of your team, there’s a shift in focus to help empower the born leaders and help them to mentor those around them. While Chikerotis is the first to admit that not everyone is a natural leader, he did note that when particular senior sales reps stepped into the role of mentor for newer team members, it quickly became an invaluable training opportunity for the less experienced reps.
To help with employee engagement Chikerotis says that he also steps into the role of coaching and mentoring with his employees in a 1:1 capacity—and that investing in what they are interested in is paramount.
“We sit down and discuss what their goals are for themselves, not just what they need to accomplish on a day to day basis at our company. When you can match your employees’ professional goals with their personal goals—and then help them to achieve it—you’re proving that they are a valued member of your team and since I can’t make 300,000+ customers happy on my own, I believe that if customers come first—employees come before them.”
And it’s clearly working.
Over his 15-year career at UniFirst, Chikerotis has managed teams at the local, regional, and national level. At each level, his teams have blown away historic turnover rates for UniFirst. Chikerotis’ team tracks their success on a custom dashboard that highlights each team member’s individual goals and as he puts it, “We celebrate the living daylights out of every win big or small.”
It’s no secret that sales teams are notorious for having independent individuals but in a company looking to unify the culture, this wasn’t something Chikerotis could let continue. Instead, he worked hard to get everyone on the same page by sharing wins and the steps that helped them to close those contracts. “Success is contagious and everyone wants a piece of the action.”
He continues, “It took our lead sales rep the longest to get on board—which makes sense because he’s been incredibly successful on his own for well over a decade—but once he saw the benefit of everyone working together towards larger numbers and more overall sales, he quickly became one of our biggest contributors to the teaching process.”
Kevin Bugielski is the Marketing Manager for Victory Lap, a purpose-driven startup changing the sales game. Avid Snapchatter, SoulCycle lover, newfound runner, but ultimately, a foodie.