By Christopher W. Cabrera, Founder and CEO, Xactly
A successful business is all about encouraging the use of effective incentives to drive performance, and then compensate those individuals who respond positively to incentives. But our teams at Xactly don’t just work for their bonuses, it takes more than that to really inspire performance.
When I first founded Xactly almost a decade ago, I realised that the key to success was making sure employees live by our core values: Customer focus, Accountability, Respect, Excellence (aptly titled CARE).
As a new combatant in the SaaS market, we had a lot to prove and it was so important that everyone from the receptionist to the senior team, recognised, understood and upheld our values. And even as our company has grown, it has always been my mission to make sure this level of employee engagement and accountability has continued. Here are five tips to inspire your employees do the same, based on my experience:
1. Make Your Core Values Easy to Remember:
When Xactly first started, we had 13 core values. We learned the hard way that was excessive - people couldn’t remember them, let alone live them. Stick to the three or four values that communicate what you stand for and reiterate them every chance you get.
2. Practice What You Preach:
We have an operational blueprint at our company called VMC2 – it stands for Vision. Mission. Core Values and Community. Everything we do and stand for as a business is mapped to these areas, so it is critical that employees know and understand them. I personally lead a new hire training each month to go over this blueprint and throughout the quarter employees who demonstrate that they are living the core values are rewarded. I could easily designate this training to someone else, but have always felt employees need to truly understand that I am practicing what I preach, and fundamentally believe that their success is the company’s success.
3. Employ the Power of ‘why?’
If you don’t know why you are doing something or what the intended outcome is, how can you do your best work? You can’t. At Xactly, we employ the power of ‘why’. If I stop an employee in the hall and ask, they need to be able to say ‘why’ we exist, ‘why’ they exist within this company and what they do every day that affects the company.
4. Create a Bond:
You know the old adage, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Nowhere is that truer than in your company. You could have the best sales team on earth, but if customer service fails, you may lose the customer. I try and reiterate time and time again that we all are responsible for the company’s success. To symbolize this, each new employee adds a rubber band to a ball that lives in our trophy case and now is roughly the size of a tennis ball. It has become the center piece of one of our main internal slogans, “that’s how we roll.” We have this slogan and our core values painted on a giant wall in our office. This is a small thing, but it really gets employees to understand that they are part of something bigger.
5. Be Honest:
There is nothing I like more than having fun with my employees and celebrating our successes. But I think it’s equally important to be transparent around the areas we need to improve as well. When employees understand where issues lie, they are more inspired to become part of the solution.
Christopher W. Cabrera is the founder, president and CEO of Xactly Corporation, which has been featured as a Best Place to work (by Great Place to Work) in Fortune Magazine and by the Bay Area News Group. Cabrera recently penned his second book, “Game the Plan – Every Sales Rep’s Dream; Every CFOs Nightmare.”