Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at the meeting of the Independent Television Group. The members are owners and C-suite folks from smaller TV groups.
The groups may be small, but the issues they face are the same.
To prepare for the presentation, I spent a lot of time beforehand talking to members of this group. I asked a number of leaders what is the biggest issue they face.
Eighty percent of the people I interviewed for this project listed “finding great people” at the top of their list. As one CEO told me, “On a scale of 1-10, finding great people is a 15!”
Nothing is more important.
And nothing is more critical to the success of our companies.
But, it’s not easy.
There was a time when recruiting sales talent to TV stations was a piece of cake. In fact, I’m pretty sure non-competes became wide-spread in radio because they were tired of losing their best people to TV stations. Today, we’re not necessarily seen as the “cool” place to work any longer, especially by millennials, who have less interaction with our productions.
And, like any challenge, issues with recruiting require us to be better. If we keep doing things the same way and the game gets tougher, we’ll lose big.
There are lots of practical ideas to help improve your recruiting efforts. A biggie is specific weekly requirements for sales leadership so that stations have a pipeline before they have an opening. Testing sales finalists to increase the odds of hiring stars (and thus reducing turnover) is a no-brainer to me. Using LinkedIn more effectively for recruiting is smart. Producing ads that make your company seem like a cool place to work, instead of the typical “blah-blah” recruiting ads so many use, also makes sense.
All those things can help. But, I think that focusing on JUST those things may miss the bigger and more significant issue.
The bigger issue? What are you doing to make your station the BEST place to work in your town?
This is a subject you and your sales leadership might think about. It might even be worth spending time brainstorming how you can get better.
Here are some areas to examine. While some require a budget, most on this list don’t require much money to implement.
- Is our office appealing? Sometimes, a little paint, a clean-up day, and some current network posters can make a difference.
- How about our leadership? Are our sales managers known as great people to work for? Do they understand the balance between accountability and a great culture?
- Do we pay new people enough? I’m guessing my millennial kids would balk at being paid a draw against commission for a job in our business. Hint: you’ll feel more comfortable looking at different comp plans when you test.
- How do we onboard/train new hires?
- Would people say our environment is fun? Or are we more frequently in the space of “the beatings will continue until morale improves”? As the stress increases, fear may cause many managers to increase the pressure and lose the fun. Not good for your culture.
- Do people feel appreciated? Are top performers and big sales recognized and publicly acknowledged?
I once read that “your culture is your #1 recruiting tool” and the stations in the ITG group that had no issues finding great people were the same people who paid the most attention to their culture. It seems to work together.
It is harder to get great people. But without them our future is going to be a whole lot harder. So, it makes a ton of sense to figure out how to be better at filling your seats with the best in your market.
Asking yourself how you can make your station/company the BEST place to work in your market might be a really good first step.
Have a GSM or GM meeting in your future? Why not have Jim Doyle or John Hannon speak to your meeting about how to turn your sales staff into a Sales FORCE? We promise powerful, thought-provoking content customized to your company’s needs. Contact Jim Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 941-926-SELL.