Why “Authenticity” is Suddenly All the Rage in Business (and What It Really Means)

From tech startups to top executive search firms, the idea of authenticity is saturating American business culture right now.

Treeline executive recruiters have recently noticed a rise in hiring managers’ use of a popular buzzword. Lately, readers of this blog, who are typically in charge of sales recruiting at their companies, have surely encountered the word more often, too.

The word is authenticity.

People’s newfound affection for that word may cause curiosity. When folks say “authenticity in business” and similar phrases during their busy workdays, what do they really mean? Is the concept valuable at top executive search firms and other firms, or is the recent authenticity trend just another passing fad?

To explore the concept’s nuances, delve into it now with a leader among the top executive search firms, Treeline. Leveraging the insights shared below offers a pathway to better hiring and improved employee retention.

From Childhood Innocence to the Corporate Mask

As people navigate social complexities, we learn to conform and sometimes hide our true selves. That’s a fact whether we fly planes or run top executive search firms for a living.

So, why this recent obsession with authenticity in business?

Several factors contribute:

  1. Social media’s rise: Nowadays, the majority of people curate online personas. These blur the lines between adults’ real and projected selves. It’s because of this that executives search to find genuine and authentic employees in the workplace.

  2. Employee disengagement: No matter the field, feeling inauthentic at work can cause disengagement and reduced productivity. Intelligent business leaders seek to foster real connections and purpose.

  3. Shifting customer values: Customers increasingly value transparency and genuine interactions with brands and salespeople.

Beyond Honesty: Unpacking the Idea of Authenticity in Sales

From Treeline’s perspective as a highly sought-after executive recruiting firm, authenticity in sales does not simply mean employing blunt honesty. It also entails

  1. Building trust: Whether the item being offered is exec search or a new type of widget, showing genuine interest in customers’ needs drives superior results to merely pushing products. Everyone in business has experienced a transaction from the customer’s side. As a result, people widely understand the feelings that arise when they’re being sold something that will clearly not meet their needs.

  2. Transparency: Being upfront about limitations and building realistic expectations builds trust. Engaged leaders across all business sectors appreciate that objective truth.

  3. Emotional intelligence: By understanding customers’ emotions and responding to them effectively, individuals and organizations improve the odds of hitting their quarterly targets.

But why is teaching authenticity to team members critical? Many factors can lead to inauthenticity in sales. Here are the top three reasons identified by the exec recruitment experts at Treeline:

  1. Pressure: Every sales rep must close deals and hit quotas. Alternatively, they’ll lose their jobs. The resulting pressure causes ill-prepared reps to be inauthentic and promise things that can’t be delivered.

  2. Fear: When prospects aren’t answering calls or signing on the dotted line, fear can grow within a salesperson. As rejections mount, the fear of further negative results increases. Leaning into authenticity, instead of away from it, can reduce reps’ fears and positively impact sales interactions.

  3. Unclear messaging: Sales reps who offer murky value propositions struggle to develop prospects and close deals. Leaders can’t successfully run a tech firm, paper mill or executive recruiting firm if their sales reps can’t authentically explain the value of their offer.

Training helps salespeople bridge the gap between who they are and how they portray themselves. That’s true at one of the world’s best executive recruiting companies, and it’s true at all companies.

Embedding Authenticity Into Your Company Culture

Treeline’s emphasis on authenticity has played an important role in making it a top executive search firm. Ideally, authenticity within an organization grows organically, instead of through isolated training sessions. To achieve business-culture success, Treeline focuses on

  1. Values: A values-driven culture grows from defining core values that emphasize genuineness, respect and open communication. After identification and team-wide dissemination of core values, practice them throughout each workday to ingrain them into team members’ behaviors.

  2. Empowerment: Giving employees autonomy engenders a feeling of ownership. Trust team members to make decisions aligned with the company’s values.

  3. Psychological safety: If organization’s leaders encourage employees to do what is right when no one is looking they’ll engender psychological safety. Soon, their fortunes are likely to rise.

  4. Leadership by example: Executives must embody authenticity in their interactions and decision-making. They must promote open communication and feedback without fear of rejection. Their employees will subsequently reflect these traits in their exchanges with customers and prospects.

Quantifying the Buzz: Authenticity’s Impact

Examples drawn from the experience of team members at one of the top executive search firms are valuable. But nothing offers better clarity than facts.

While hard data on authenticity might be elusive, studies show its positive impact:

  1. A 2021 study by McKinsey found that companies with “highly authentic leaders” have 21% higher retention rates.

  2. In 2022, a study by The Predictive Index showed that high-performing employees tend to be more authentic.

  3. A 2023 study by Deloitte found that companies with strong employer branding, often linked to authenticity, attract top talent.

Those details draw the subject into focus.

A person doesn’t have to work for one of America’s premier recruitment agencies to understand that authenticity isn’t about discarding professionalism or politeness. It’s about creating a work environment where individuals feel comfortable being their genuine selves. At winning executive recruiting companies or anywhere, fostering authenticity, trust and engagement significantly raises the potential for rich success.

When engendering authenticity within an organization, it’s helpful to focus on the journey, instead of the destination. Employees need grace and room to grow.

Remember these guideposts:

  1. Authenticity is multifaceted and needs context.

  2. It’s a continuous effort, not a one-time fix.

  3. True impact comes from building a culture that fosters authenticity, not one that just provides training sessions on the idea.

In Today’s Business Environment, Authenticity Cannot Be Bypassed

Authentic conversations in sales are critical to a thriving organization’s continued success. If a firm is not currently thriving, its leaders should reflect on the level of authenticity in the firm’s culture.

A corporate culture where authenticity is lived each day by managers and employees offers a greater chance at success, individually and for the organization as a whole. That truth begs a question.

Why would any forward-thinking organization ignore authenticity? Experienced agents at Treeline, among North America’s top executive recruiters, have repeatedly encountered the answer when engaging with organizations that can’t get out of their own way. Those organizations that struggle with authenticity feature common characteristics:

  1. Members of leadership value their own egos more than truthful conversations.

  2. Office politics permeate the corporate culture.

  3. Discouragement of honesty heightens organizational friction, which negatively impacts every aspect of the business and causes stagnation, rot and decline.

When other priorities are placed above honesty and authenticity, obstacles arise that would be counter to those of growth-minded executive recruiting firms or organizations trying to lead any industry.

For success, don’t ignore authenticity. Embrace it!

Treeline Helps Businesses Optimally Engender Authenticity

Smart business owners, vice presidents and recruiting managers will fold the insights revealed here into their daily business practices. As a result, these leaders can expect happier staff members and improved employee retention.

Treeline’s unique position in the world of executive search recruitment firms offers savvy business leaders a path to a shining future. Founded by Dan Fantasia, Treeline sits at the pinnacle of America’s top executive search firms. For more than two decades, the organization’s high ranking among executive recruiting firms has relied on a foundation of authenticity. The team at Treeline offers honesty, transparency and emotional intelligence to every client seeking expert assistance from the best executive recruiters.

To inject authenticity into your organization’s sales culture, talk to the exec search recruitment experts at Treeline today.

Published On: February 22nd, 2024Categories: Employers, Sales Success

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