Sales Teams, DEI, and the Great Resignation

3 min read
March 17, 2022

The historic wave of workers leaving their jobs began shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Great Resignation looks likely to continue. In November 2021, 4.5 million people quit their jobs, leaving an estimated 10.6 million job openings. With fewer than 7 million people officially unemployed, and an additional 41% of people considering leaving their jobs within the next year, companies face fierce competition for talent. Businesses in every industry are feeling the pressure, but sales teams are taking a dramatic hit. The overall attrition rate is 13%, but sales position turnover has reached a high of 35%.

That’s the bad news, but there is good news as well. With new strategies focused on diversifying sales teams and improving the employee experience, there is a way back from the Great Resignation.

Understanding the Great Resignation

But first, the basics: Why are employees leaving? The pandemic put many businesses, and their employees, on pause for temporary shutdowns, and other employees discovered the convenience of remote or hybrid work. This unprecedented chance for introspection led many to reevaluate their lives. In the end, they gained perspective on their value to employers, reshaped their expectations, and fundamentally changed the way work works.


The myriad reasons people cite for joining in the Great Resignation include the desire to:

  • Find more fulfilling work.
  • Continue with remote or hybrid work.
  • Improve their work-life balance.
  • Focus on better opportunities.
  • Prioritize career growth and development.
  • Pursue educational opportunities.
  • Work for employers with values they support.

With all this in mind, what can employers do to retain their employees and attract new talent? If you haven’t already, renew your company’s commitment to DEI initiatives to expand your talent pool, diversify your teams, and create a more inclusive employee experience. Understanding what DEI can do for your business is your first step to recovering from the Great Resignation — and it has the additional benefit of being the right thing to do.

What is DEI?

DEI has three guiding principles:

  • Diversity refers to a range of people from various backgrounds with a broad variety of lived experience.
  • Equity ensures fair treatment, access, and opportunity for everyone, which includes identifying and removing barriers to its achievement.
  • Inclusion is ensuring all employees feel respected, heard, and safe to express their ideas, feelings, and identities, and reflecting their lived experience in your company’s value system.

The principles of DEI are mutually reinforcing. To implement a successful DEI program, all three areas must be addressed.


Why DEI?

A commitment to DEI makes for a stronger, more agile company. Attrition is expensive. New hires, onboarding, and training are far more costly than employee retention efforts, and DEI affects every level of your company.

Diversity leads to increased job satisfaction, high morale, and a healthy company culture — all predictors of increased productivity and profitability. Your sales team members are 158% more likely to understand your target customers when at least one team member represents the target’s gender, race, age, sexual orientation, or culture.

Companies with more diverse teams are more likely to report over 40% growth in market share and 70% in new market expansion than companies with lower rates of diversity, possibly because diversity of gender, country of origin, career path, and industry background are highly correlated with innovation. And diverse executive leadership teams are more likely to be profitable and create additional value. Other benefits of DEI include:

  • Higher employee engagement. The social support system prevalent in a diverse community increases everyone’s willingness to engage.
  • Improved work relationships. Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels deepens empathy and encourages effective patterns of communication to increase trust and loyalty among teams.
  • Higher levels of learning and achievement. A culture of psychological safety, a goal and result of DEI, boosts learning outcomes, knowledge retention, and overall performance.
  • A healthier workplace. A sense of belonging reduces stress and contributes to psychological and physical health.
  • An exceptional employee experience. This is high priority for recruiting new sales talent in the current job market.

Successful DEI initiatives begin with good intentions and produce tangible results. The effects of a well-implemented DEI plan are substantial, and your teams will see quantifiable results in sales productivity, performance, recruiting, and retention in the data you gather as your initiatives develop.

Track the success of your sales team DEI initiatives with a comprehensive sales compensation management solution (SCMS) and advanced reporting module (ARM). Request a demonstration at

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