Incentive - June 2008 - (Page 26)

CASE STUDY First Data Corporation’s sales team participated in training sessions and workshops that encouraged better self-awareness and better understanding of fellow employees Getting the Message First Data Corporation puts communication back in focus, and reaps the benefits BY ALEX PALMER bout a year and a half ago, the leadership of First Data Corp., a payment processing company based in Greenwood Village, Colo., knew that improvements needed to be made at the company. For one, the turnover rate among their 800 account executives was at 57 percent, and they wanted it down to 33 percent (slightly below the industry standard). Second, too many of their account executives weren’t hitting their numbers. While a few top sellers kept the overall sales from falling too far, 20 percent of the sales force weren’t even hitting 70 percent of their expected quotas. “One of the things that we realized as we did a lot of our own research and our own data gathering regarding our organization was that everything else—productivity issues, morale issues, turnover issues—they all circle back to communication and leadership capabilities in the organization,” says James Wilhelm, vice president of human resources at First Data. The company seemed to have A everything in place, from a large team of experienced sales personnel to a clear organizational structure. But it was having trouble tapping into that potential and maximizing the plentiful resources it had. Like Ali Baba standing outside the cave, for First Data, accessing the available treasures was a matter of saying the right word. Communication issues are a funny problem for a company like First Data. As a payment processing organization, much of its aim is to transfer information clearly between organizations. When a customer buys something at a retailer with his or her credit card, First Data processes the information between the store and the financial institution. But with most of its account executives and managers working from home, a focused, company-wide message was difficult to establish. So First Data reached out to Longboat Key, Fla.–based training company One to One Leadership. The company is a small one: It was run just by Mary Ann O’Neil until a few years ago, when her son Sean, who had been working as a corporate lawyer, decided to give corporate training a try. The two have worked as a duo since. Before beginning the formal training, Sean and Mary Ann spent almost two months in “fact-finding” mode with the company, joining reps on their sales calls, interviewing managers, conducting focus groups and researching the company. They took the information they learned PROFILE First Data Corporation Industry: Payment processing Objective: Reduce the 57 percent turnover rate of sales staff, while also boosting lagging performances Solution: Bring in outside trainers One to One Leadership to work with staff, while also making internal adjustments in communicating goals and feedback between account executives and leadership Results: More than 50 percent drop in attrition and a significant improvement in sales, not to mention a more open and engaging work environment 26 | Incentive | June 2008 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Incentive - June 2008

Incentive - June 2008
Editor’s Note
In The News
Cover Story: Seventh Annual Industry Roundtable
Incentive Interview
Case Study
Soft Incentives
Empowerment and Engagement
The Incentive Career
Incentive Primer
Travel News: Where To Go and What To Do
The Cook Islands
Field Report: Bermuda
Potentials: Here and Now
50 Top Motivators: The Best of the Best
Electronics: High-end Audio Equipment
Gift Cards: Should One Be Enough?
Advertiser Index
Off The Cuff

Incentive - June 2008