The Client And The Setting

The client in this case was a large financial services institution in India. The firm had a large distribution organisation, which faced significant churn and employee dissatisfaction. Attrition rates were at double digit percentages per month. The firm was also not particularly happy with the performance of a large number of employees.

Client Mandate

We believe that we are facing high employee dissatisfaction and churn because we are not hiring well. A consultant we had recently engaged suggested a set of measures to be followed while recruiting, but they don’t seem to have made any difference.

Can you look at the data of performance of salespeople and recommend measures through which we can recruit better and consequently improve satisfaction?

Problem Solving

The starting point was to get the data organised and cleaned, and use that to define a metric to determine the success (or lack thereof) of a sales team member.

The next step was an exercise in data mining as I tried to extract correlations between various factors (and combinations thereof) and “success”. The intriguing point was that there were no strong correlations. Even the recommendations of the previous consultant failed to hold any more.

This led to a change of track, where we (the client team and I) abandoned the data mining approach, and instead focussed on what the firm could do on its behalf to better onboard its employees and manage them. New data was explored, and there were some very clear outcomes from that in terms of how the sales team was supposed to be organised and why some teams were doing better than others.

Thus, the ultimate output of this assignment was the recommendation for an organisation plan. Any “science” in the metrics of hiring were done away with, and hiring managers were empowered. Metrics for onboarding, target setting and evaluation of fresh employees were revised, with an immediate drop in attrition rates. Taking a broader look at the problem had provided the client with a fresh perspective on how to look at the sales organisation.

Results and Outcomes

The output of this exercise went far beyond the initial mandate which had been to draw metrics for recruitment. Apart from solving the problem at hand, I had delivered on far more, and on more important questions than what we had started off with.

The recommendations were quickly accepted, and incorporated into the firm’s official sales plan for the following financial year.