We’re now in the sixth month of a global pandemic and it’s getting harder to help team members maintain motivation. At the start of the outbreak, nonessential workers were largely confined to their homes. Employers reported a huge uptick in productivity as team members, inspired by the challenge ahead, pulled together to help the organization succeed.
We’re heading into the fall season, not knowing whether there will be another surge in COVID-19 cases. We do know that some parts of our economy are in recession. Prospects that paused their buying process last spring still haven’t made a decision. And your team members who may have been fired up in April are showing signs of burnout and a loss of motivation.
Now’s the time for sales managers to take action. Your employees need a steady flow of information about what’s going on with the rest of the organization. They no longer have the opportunity to chat in the office halls and break room about what’s happening. As they spend their days alone in their remote-work environment, they depend on their manager and company leaders to keep them informed.
Talk Up Your Company’s Purpose
Earlier this summer, Gallup reported on an historic drop in employee engagement. Gallup analysts confirmed that part of the engagement drop is linked to a lack of clear communication by managers. Previous research from Gallup pointed to younger employees are particularly at risk for being disengaged from their work and their organizations. These same employees are the ones who have consistently asked for meaningful work. While they’re interested in their paychecks, they also want to know that they’re making a difference in the world. As David Burkus remarks, many of your employees “don’t want to work for an organization; they want to work for a cause.”
How does this connect to you and other company leaders? You must regularly talk about the company’s purpose in the world. Let employees know how the corporate mission is making a difference and how each employee contributes. Yes, it’s challenging and time-consuming to outline these connections and share them with your team members. But doing so will improve motivation, engagement, and a sense of team comradery.
How to Help Team Members Maintain Motivation
Your younger employees may be losing motivation for a variety of other reasons. Our State of Media Sales survey, taken during the height of the pandemic lockdown, revealed that 59% of reps in that industry vertical say it’s been harder to stay motivated this year than it was last year. Reps in other industries are likely feeling a similar lack of motivation because they’re looking into an uncertain future.
During the last ten years, our booming economy and expanding workforce meant that employees progressed quickly on their career paths. They knew what to expect. Once the coronavirus impacted businesses, leaders shifted their focus to revising sales goals and profitability expectations. If that has happened at your company, some reps may feel their chances for advancement have slowed significantly.
We all imagine that sales reps are motivated solely by financial rewards and impressive job titles, but these aren’t the only factors that get people fired up to do a great job. If your employees have taken a sales skills assessment, you have the information necessary to motivate them. Some reps have a high need to express their creativity. Give these reps special projects to work on. Other reps want public recognition. It’s not easy now to gather in a room and applaud the rep who lands a whale, but don’t miss the chance to call everyone’s attention to accomplishments. Set up a channel on the company chat system or call a quick all-hands virtual meeting to announce the good news.
The road back to economic health for many companies will be long and uneven. Your best resources will help you get there, but only if you help them maintain motivation.