Companies in any industry will benefit from having a healthy culture among its employees. But for industrial distributors today, the culture that exists inside of your company can make or break the success of the business.
Corporate Culture Plays a Big Role in Employee Branding
We’re hearing from many clients that as baby boomers retire they’re having a really hard time filling their open sales positions. Younger salespeople today care deeply about being part of an organization that provides more than healthy commissions. So, the bottom line is, you need a healthy culture to attract and keep top sales talent. Salespeople who feel supported and connected to the culture will not only be loyal, they’ll also become advocates for your company—bringing in other talented people.
Happy Employees Lead to Satisfied Customers
Your company culture defines the environment in which employees work, and that environment is ultimately conveyed to your customers. Engaged employees who are happy in their work environment will be willing to go out of their way to give your customers the extra time and attention they need.
And in a time when industrial distributors are facing massive amounts of competition, quality customer service and strong client/customer relationships can be a powerful differentiator.
So, How Can You Improve Your Corporate Culture?
A culture is going to exist whether you intentionally develop it or not. Follow these 3 steps to build a healthy corporate culture in your distributorship, and use it as a competitive advantage during these disruptive times.
Step 1: Establish Your Core Values
Start from the ground up by establishing a definition of what a successful culture looks like to you. This should include a set of beliefs and values that everyone in the company lives and breathes by—from executive leadership, to support or admin, and everyone in between.
At The Brooks Group, we’re guided by 5 core values:
The core values are not only known by every one of our employees, they’re also woven into the way we work and conduct business on a daily basis.
Involve the entire leadership team to create your core values, and then be intentional about communicating them to the rest of the company.
Step 2: Determine the Behaviors Needed to Support Your Core Values
You can’t simply establish your core values and hope they stick. You also need to determine the behaviors necessary to support those beliefs and work to embed them in your day-to-day operations.
It’s important for leadership to model the right behaviors, but it’s also very effective to highlight when others in the company act in a way that supports the core values.
Let’s say one of your core values is Customer Focus. If someone on your team goes above and beyond to meet a client’s needs, you should share that story with the rest of the company (in a newsletter, company intranet, etc).
Step 3: Hire for Culture Fit
Industrial distributors have historically hired salespeople based on skillset and knowledge. But it’s also important to make sure the people you bring on your team are a good fit with the corporate culture you want to create or maintain.
A comprehensive sales hiring assessment can reveal a candidate’s selling skills, along with their behavior styles and motivators. You can use this information to select a candidate that is not only a good fit for the position at hand, but also with the values your company has established as fundamental.
Do the work to build a healthy culture within your business, and then be sure that the new talent you bring on board will uphold and contribute to the culture you’ve developed.