Most entrepreneurs know that they need employees to help them achieve success. Once you have a great team selected and employed, you need to find ways to keep them motivated so that they will continue providing the best work. You will want to use the simplest and most predictable long-game motivational strategy. The caveat is that there isn’t a single strategy.
You need a well-rounded strategy that takes into account everyone’s needs and desires. Of course, money can motivate people, but that is usually a short-term option. Employees want to feel like they are wanted, desired, and respected. It’s a three-fold strategy that focuses on training, non-monetary motivation, and learning.
Training and Learning: Yes, They’re Different
Most people believe that learning and training are one and the same, but they are different things. You need to train your employees so that they know how to use the various systems (telephone, computers, software programs, and machines). You also need to train them on the product. However, all that training will get you nowhere if they don’t learn from it.
While training focuses on providing the information, learning focuses on ensuring that information is being absorbed in order to improve their skillsets. To make training and learning effective, you need to understand your employee’s weaknesses and strengths. You want them to know what their weaknesses are so that they can improve those areas, but you also need them to play to their strengths in the meantime.
The long-term motivational strategy should include a variety of motivating options. Money is always a performance booster, but it rarely motivates for long, and it often has a motivational threshold. Beyond offering performance-based payment incentives, you want your employees to feel that they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
Let them make decisions for the company as often as possible, but only when it makes sense. Consider asking for ideas during brainstorming sessions. You will be surprised at how often you will find great ideas within your own employees. This will improve morale and the employees will know that you care and respect their professional opinions. In turn, they will be willing to work hard for you in order to see their own ideas succeed.
Productivity means that everyone on the team is doing what they need to do to make the department run smoothly. However, most managers only focus on their particular department, such as sales or marketing. The problem with this is that the marketing team needs to know what the salespeople are doing and vice-versa.
Along with such, it is much better when the sales team just focuses on selling. It might seem easier and more productive to let the salespeople handle customer service, administrative tasks, or be the marketers of the products. However, this is rarely the case. Primarily, this leads to role pollution where your sales department is doing more of the other tasks than they do selling products. Keeping your team’s tasks aligned within their own departments can help improve productivity.
It’s easy to hire the first person interviewed when there are open sales positions, but this isn’t the best tactic. While you may be focused on the bottom line, you need someone who blends well with the rest of the team. You should also ensure that the person you hire has the skills and assets you need for the job. Though it’s possible to train them (and you should), they shouldn’t be at square one.
As such, you may be too focused on the bottom line or the ‘here and now.’ It’s a good idea to have those points in focus, but it’s better to consider the long-term. Setting a motivational strategy includes finding the right talent, using nonmonetary things to motivate others, and making sure the team is as productive as possible.
The Sales Coaching Institute does a great job explaining their process for executive sales recruiting. The Sales Coaching Institute also offers a free executive White Paper download that speaks to Effective Strategies to Best Sales Recruitment Practices and Talent Management.
Now might be the best time to work with a business coach or professional keynote speaker. Coaches can help you figure out what your team can do and where improvements can be made. A speaker can motivate everyone and help them renew their desire to perform at their highest level.