5 Warning Signs Your Sales Team Has Low Morale

Low Morale

The foundation of most business is sales. Whether it’s the sale of a product or a service, if your business is unable to make sales, you’ll soon have no business to speak of. It’s important to take action at the first signs of a problem with your sales staff to boost low morale and get people back on the track to success. Here are 5 warning signs that your sales team may be having a problem, and a few tips on how to boost employee morale.

1. Loss of Interest

A sudden loss of interest from some or all of your sales team is a pretty good indicator that something is wrong. While the occasional rut can be expected, a rut that lasts longer than usual or spreads to multiple people on the team is a sure sign of a much bigger problem. If you notice a loss of interest among employees, take the time to pull them aside individually and talk to them about what’s happening—addressing the issue and finding a solution can quickly get your team back on track.

2. Change in Attitude

The typical attitude among sales staff is one of motivation and excitement, so any negative change in attitude is the sign of a problem. Determining the cause of this attitude change can help you figure out how best to re-motivate your employees, whether they need a change in the sales tactics they use or recognition of a job well done.

3. Drop in Performance

When your sales team stops turning in the same numbers they used to, it’s time to act quickly. Taking inventory of the situation can help you determine whether numbers typically drop at this time of year, or if your employees’ poor performance is to blame. If it’s not the slow season, consider talking to them to determine why your employees are lacking confidence and see what resources you can provide to help boost their performance.

4. Uncooperative

The sure sign of low morale among employees is an uncooperative attitude. When employees start pushing back and fighting against you, something is seriously wrong and must be addressed immediately before it gets worse. Show your employees that you’re all on the same team and willing to work together to begin rebuilding their confidence in you and the business as a whole.

5. Decrease in Commitment

A decrease in commitment can be seen in all of the above-mentioned signs of low morale, but is also exemplified in employees who begin to stop showing up for work, show up late, and just plain don’t care anymore. At the first signs of this problem, you need to pull the employee or employees aside and have a conversation about what they want, then commit to helping them recommit to your business. If this doesn’t work, it may be time to part ways with this employee.

Start Boosting Morale Today

If you lead a medium-to-large organization, boosting morale for your entire team can be quite the challenge. However, with a gamification platform that integrates with all your tools and metrics, you can easily:

  • Recognize milestones like work anniversaries
  • Celebrate achievements, even small ones
  • Generate momentum with friendly competition among team members
  • Give employees goals to work towards, that get progressively more challenging
  • Recognize outstanding performance

With IActionable, you can recognize your employees for their accomplishments and encourage them through their disappointments—be the type of boss you would like to have, and you’re sure to notice an increase in morale among your sales staff. After all, improving employee performance is essential to maintaining a successful business.

What is gamification

What Is Gamification and How Can It Work for My Business?

What is gamification157 million. That’s the number of active video gamers in the United States in 2012. A Pew study in 2015 found that an entire half of the American population play video games. Don’t assume it’s just boys and young men playing on consoles, computers, and phones. The average player is 35 years old and has been gaming for 13 years. Forty-eight percent of them are women.

The video game industry has been booming for decades and shows zero signs of slowing down. The question is, how can your business gain an advantage in the workplace by integrating gaming elements into the daily grind?

At work, gamification can be used to transform the completion of mundane tasks and assignments into an environment that encourages individual employees to work as a team and achieve organizational goals. Gamifying has the added benefits of crafting long-term engagement, establishing employee loyalty, and solidifying co-worker relationships.

Let’s take a look at how specific gaming elements can be applied in a business environment to achieve your company’s short-term goals and long-term objectives. 

Goals

Goals are where you have the ability to set short and long-term expectations for your employees, based on specific job role. Here are some of the benefits of goals within gamification:

  • Indicates progress: a progress bar indicates how close an employee is to complete a goal, and if they’re on track to complete it in time.
  • Customizable: goals can be simple or complex. It’s entirely up to your organizational needs.
  • Time-based: Goals are unique because they are typically time-based. They hold employees accountable to completing their tasks in a timely manner, while providing them with some motivation when they meet goals.

In fact, you can use the entire “goals” process as a learning experience. If you see that an employee is struggling to meet certain goals, that presents an excellent opportunity to provide them with some more coaching.

Leaderboards

A leaderboard gives employees an overview of how they are contributing to their team, and how their team is contributing to the overall organization. Leaderboards can:

  • Rank individuals within a team based on specific metrics
  • Rank teams within your entire organization
  • Create hierarchies so your employees can see how they are comparing across departments and in the organization as a whole

Leaderboards are configurable based on your organizational goals. Ultimately, if you have data, it can be tracked through gamification. But choosing the right data for your needs is where much of the magic comes from.

Achievements

Although similar to goals, achievements are designed to show employees how they are progressing in their job role, and to give managers insight into the unique skills and abilities of their team members. With achievements, you can:

  • Recognize important milestones, such as a work anniversary
  • Start with small achievements, work toward something bigger
  • Once you gain an achievement, it’s like you “level up” (in gamer language). It’s more permanent than a goal.
  • Gives managers an opportunity to recognize outstanding performance, as well as identify learning opportunities.

Collaboration and Competition

Gamification allows you to create a team environment and accomplish larger, more complex tasks. Some friendly competition can encourage knowledge sharing within teams and persuade everyone to contribute to an end goal.

To foster collaboration and friendly competition, you can:

  • Utilize a point system, where team members accumulate points in order to get prizes (requires you to invest in the prizes, which is an added expense and may not be as sustainable)
  • Show how awesome your team members are doing (by encouraging competition between teams)
  • Show who is trending to win

By applying the same science and psychology of gaming into the workplace, motivating your employees to work both individually and as a team in achieving company objectives becomes easier, more fun, spurs productivity, and raises performance.

The “I” in “Team”: How Managers Can Help Build a Better Culture

Getting people to work well together is one of the most difficult aspects of business. That said, a Company is only as effective as its smallest unit, and “teams” often take that spot. The key to improving the effectiveness of teams is creating a culture where teamwork is valued, and most of that comes from leadership. Here are a few tips for creating a culture that rewards teamwork.

Empower Teams

Where possible, give teams the power to run themselves. Allow them to set their own goals, hold themselves accountable, measure their own progress to keep employees motivated. Make them masters of their own destiny; when they feel they have a say in the process, they will be more motivated to participate, and they will often accept responsibility more readily. Let them seek mediation further up the chain if they need it, but give them the tools they need to tackle the job at hand by themselves. After all, isn’t the point of a team to distribute work to those who can do it best?

Play by the Same Rules

One of the most endearing attributes of leaders is when they show solidarity to the crew by subjecting themselves to the same difficulties and restrictions. It’s hard to sympathize with the big boss who gets to fly around the country on a private jet. Ever seen the scene in Glory where Matthew Broderick rips up his paycheck? Showing your teams that you aren’t above the rules will do more to motivate them than anything else. Play fair, hold yourself accountable, and let them know they are each as valuable as every other link in the chain. A leader loyal to his subordinates will cultivate loyalty in return.

Don’t Support Dictators

Sometimes your immediate subordinate is above the team, and that may leave you with a different problem. Often, employees that are lower on the totem pole find themselves on the receiving end of some pretty brutal punishment. If they feel like management is listening, they may come to you to report unsportsmanlike conduct from their superior. Take comments like this seriously. It only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch.

If your manager is treating his employees worse than you treat him, then he’s breaking the previous rule. The only team solidarity you will be creating in that environment is one that unites in resenting the manager, i.e., the only things being produced will be memes that mock the despot. They will honor you for holding the manager accountable, and even if the claims are exaggerated or unfounded, they will feel reassured that you were willing to listen.

Treat People Like People

We call them “human resources,” but they are not disposable. Don’t treat your employees like something you use up and toss out. Give them positive feedback when they do well, and constructive feedback when they need guidance. If their workload is too heavy, find ways to lighten it or make it easier to bear. Your employees need to know that you support them; they will work harder for a company and a manager that they believe have their back. You will see a decrease in turnovers and an increase in morale and productivity.

Define Your Goals

Most of all, your employees need to know they are working towards something. Concrete, well-defined goals are important for a lot of reasons. It’s difficult to achieve a sense of progress, or a sense of accomplishment, without a goal that’s easy to measure. It makes it difficult to identify problems and give feedback. How do you hold team members accountable if failure isn’t easily identifiable? Help your teams develop firm, achievable goals that can be measured and recorded. They will feel more fulfilled as they push towards those goals, and will be more motivated to pursue them when they can experience a sense of progress. Contact IActionable to find out more about how defined, measurable goals can help improve performance.

How to Motivate Your Employees

30-ways-to

In today’s fast-paced, fast-changing world of business, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep employee morale high. However, with these 30 tips, you can improve your office environment, empower individuals, encourage team unity, and inspire hard work to ensure that your staff stays as motivated, dedicated, and productive as possible.

1. Implement Rewards

By creating and implementing a rewards system, you can encourage your employees to achieve benchmarks and strive to set better work goals for themselves. Even developing a “game-like” scenario where employees can earn a “badge” or “points” for committing to a certain task will create healthy competition throughout the workplace and boost morale. This is often called “gamification.”

2. Inspire Unity

Many employees pride themselves in their ability to work independently. However, by promoting company-wide unity within the office, you’ll inspire an environment where teamwork is encouraged. Make sure you emphasize how teamwork benefits both the individual and the company as a whole.

3. Encourage New Ideas

Perhaps one of the most detrimental things you can do to dampen employee morale is to resist new ideas. However, by encouraging your staff to come to you with their ideas and problem-solving solutions, you’ll inspire creativity, empower forward-thinking, and create an environment where your employees are excited to contribute to the success of the business.

4. Show Your Trust

By showing your staff that you trust and depend on them, they will rise to the challenges and overcome the obstacles that they face daily. A simple vote of confidence can inspire them to do their best. Micromanagement, on the other hand, shows a distinct lack of trust in your employees. You must balance being “in charge” with letting your employees do the jobs you hired them to do.

5. Create A Positive Environment

No one likes negativity, especially at work. Keep your employees motivated by creating a positive work environment, and you can start with your attitude. The measures you take to cultivate an enthusiastic and supportive persona will go a long way to fostering positivity in the workplace.

6. Empower Your Employees

If you want your employees to go above and beyond for you, you need to empower them to have more control over how they do their jobs. Encourage them to try new ways of conducting basic tasks, and reward innovation and “thinking outside of the box.” Give them the tools and the training they need to stretch their skills. Reward and recognize employees who show initiative.

7. Keep An Open Mind to New Methods

Do you ever get frustrated when using outdated, ineffective methods or technologies? Chances are your staff does, too. To keep morale high and employees motivated, keep an open mind when it comes to new ways of doing things. By welcoming and accepting new methods and utilizing new technologies, you can ensure that your business will stay ahead of emerging trends, improving your bottom line in the long run.

8. Put Boundaries on Boredom

Boredom is a very controversial topic, especially in the workplace. While many owners and managers fear that employees being bored horrifically hinders productivity, recent scientific studies prove that boredom often spurs innovative ideas and effective solutions. So while you’ll want to prevent your employees from spending endless hours daydreaming, giving them time to sit with their own thoughts isn’t always bad. Consider providing your employees with a place to go, or small non-work related things to do during downtime, so they can use their boredom in the most productive way possible.

9. Set Small Goals

Rather than setting lofty, far-fetched goals, work with your employees to develop small, reachable goals that inspire hard work throughout the office. By keeping these goals small and digestible – and rewarding employees for reaching them – your staff will understand that goals can be reached and that working hard does, in fact, produce benefits. It also gives your employees more frequent “wins,” which can keep them motivated when the going gets tough.

10. Facilitate A Balanced Workplace

While making your work environment a fun place undoubtedly helps keep employees motivated to work hard, balancing that liveliness with quiet downtime is important for maintaining levels of productivity and sanity. Additionally, your employees will need to be able to maintain prolonged focus to complete complex tasks, and a distracting workplace can kill their focus.

11. Acknowledge Professional Achievements

Being recognized by upper management or top-level executives for achievements and a job well done means a lot more to employees than you might think. They work hard, and it feels good to be acknowledged for their contributions. This attention also encourages others to work hard to receive the same praise. One particularly effective approach is to make a point of acknowledging professional milestones, such as a completed certification or a work anniversary.

12. Let them Know About Incentives Ahead of Time

When introducing new projects or goals, let your employees know of the incentives ahead of time. If your staff knows that there are rewards on the line for hard work, chances are they will work harder and stay motivated to reach those goals.

13. Celebrate Personal Milestones

Celebrating personal milestones and accomplishments helps your staff feel appreciated. If you know that an employee has just gotten engaged, or has achieved recognition in one of their personal hobbies, show them that you care by congratulating them. Even if it seems small or inconsequential, it will mean a lot to them.

14. Promote Purpose

Give your employees purpose. While this may seem vague, it’s as simple as outlining exactly what your expectations are for each employee. Your staff will have a better idea of what you’re trying to achieve as a company and what their individual role is in the broader plan. If they feel like they’re just punching a card every day, they won’t appreciate their role. But if they understand how they contribute to the success of the business, it will give their job purpose.

15. Go With The Flow

Being rigid and resistant when things don’t go as planned will discourage your employees and create a hostile work environment. Instead, when things don’t go as planned, keep an open mind, go with the flow, and be flexible. This will dissolve tensions and create a more productive, accepting work environment.

16. Be a Good Listener

One of the most powerful ways you can keep your employees motivated is to be a good listener. However, this can also be difficult. To improve your listening skills, create time in your schedule to listen to concerns, ideas, and anything else employees have to say. Consider having weekly roundtable discussions or implementing an open-door policy to encourage your employees to speak up. Cultivate your own personal listening skills by reminding yourself to be present in your conversations. Strive to understand what your team members are actually saying, instead of just thinking about how you’re going to respond.

17. Be Patient

Practicing patience will help you stop setting unreachable goals. It’s good to be results-oriented, but showing patience will give your employees the time to properly and effectively complete tasks and meet expectations.

18. Stay Energetic

Being enthusiastic is one of the best ways to keep morale and motivation high. By making an effort to promote a “work hard, play hard” culture, your staff will feed off of your positive energy and give you their best effort day in and day out.

19. Encourage Competition

Friendly competition is one of the best ways to boost productivity and keep employees motivated and engaged in their work. Developing monthly or weekly competitions is both healthy and will often increase camaraderie throughout your office.

20. Encourage Ownership

In order to make your employees feel invested in your company, you must inspire them to take ownership of their ideas, successes, and even failures. In turn, recognize their accomplishments and don’t be hesitant to give credit where credit is due.

21. Promote A Pet-Friendly Workspace

A new study shows that having pets in the workplace can boost productivity, lessen stress levels, and promote trust between staff members. Even if you don’t allow pets in the workplace all day, every day, consider designating a day or two each week where employees are welcome to bring their pets along.

22. Avoid Generalizing and Grouping

Managing a staff full of different personalities can be a challenge, but by treating and managing everyone the same, you’ll dampen personal expression and deter productivity. Knowing your employees on a more personal level and managing everyone individually is much more effective when it comes to keeping morale and motivation high.

23. Inspire Individuality

Along with managing each employee on an individual basis, it’s important to also inspire individuality throughout your office. By encouraging each employee to let their personalities shine, you’ll create a diverse and dynamic culture that helps inspire creativity. Allow employees to express themselves in the unique ways they dress and the accessories they bring with them to work. Each person is unique–celebrate that diversity!

24. Be Transparent

The importance of transparency in your business cannot be overstated. Give everyone on your team the opportunity to provide helpful feedback, clear up any confusion, and ask essential questions. Be open in your answers, and hold nothing back. This lets your employees know that they can trust you as a manager, and that you have their best interests at heart, which can be a big motivating factor.

25. Be Available and Accessible

Being available to your employees, even if it’s only for a short period of time each day, will help your staff feel appreciated and valued. Try extra hard to reach out to employees who may not necessarily get the attention they need or deserve, or who may be less inclined to reach out for your help when they need it.

26. Motivate Individuals, Not Just Teams

While keeping group morale high is important, it’s also vital for you to motivate individuals, too. In fact, by focusing on personally motivating employees, this contributes to the morale of broader teams. Don’t think you can just send out a company-wide email and be done with it. Talk one-on-one with employees on a regular basis, and find ways to motivate them individually. This will positively influence every aspect of your business, and is well worth the time investment.

27. Keep Things Interesting

Monotony is one of the biggest killers of motivation. Avoid this by stirring the pot and keeping things interesting. Ask your staff what types of things they would find inspirational and request ideas for ways you can keep morale high. Some ways to shake things up include having half-day Fridays, switching up the dress code, or hosting a happy hour every Wednesday.

28. Let Employees Lead

Give each staff member the chance to take the reigns on important things like meetings or big projects. Doing this will help empower your employees and encourage them to take ownership of their opinions, efforts, ideas, etc. They will be more motivated to bring their ideas and vision to life.

29. Embrace Change

Fighting change is hard, so why even try? By embracing change – whether it be in marketing tools like social media or or mobile applications – you’ll find that your employees will likely do the same. Embracing new technology and the changing tides of business will help create a more flexible working environment and up productivity. Also, your company will stay poised to meet whatever challenges come your way.

30. Value Tradition

Starting and keeping traditions is one of the best ways to keep your employees feeling motivated, valued, and part of something greater than themselves. Consider starting an office tradition, like an annual company party, a monthly dinner night, a company volunteer day, etc. and encourage each employee to participate.

Implementing all of these tips into your leadership efforts will take time and practice, but by dedicating yourself, you will find that your staff feels more valued, more motivated, and more productive than ever.