You did your best to hire good people for your sales team. And for a while, they were excited, motivated, and producing. They’d approach you with any challenges they faced, bringing great ideas to the table, and your numbers looked amazing.

Lately, though, you’ve noticed some worrisome behaviors among your staff. They wander into work late and seem to be dragging themselves through the door. Sick days have increased, and you’re noticing more personal internet usage. You hear rumblings of gossip and dissatisfaction among the group, some even directed at you. There are petty squabbles between employees, and the fountain of innovative ideas that have been flowing freely for quite some time now appears to have dried up.

Then, there’s the bottom line. This lack of enthusiasm for the company has made it up the ranks, and your higher-ups are now seeing the negative results in your team’s profitability. A sales team with low motivation doesn’t just make work a less than pleasant place to be; it actually damages the company as a whole. Something has to change.

Don’t think that you’re alone. It’s not just your team facing this challenge. A recent Gallup poll showed that 70% of American workers are disengaged at their jobs.

So how do you ensure that your team is excited to come to work and doesn’t become part of this frightening statistic?

Build motivation, improve morale, and increase teamwork with team-building activities.

How to Motivate a Sales Team With Low Morale

Low motivation at the individual level will lead to low morale at the team level. When you look at the individual members of your staff, are they striving for success or satisfied with doing the bare minimum?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to low motivation in your sales team. These include:

Employees are not being challenged to grow

We no longer live in a time where an employee takes a job and works those specific tasks for the next 50 years. Employees want to grow. They want to learn new things, take on new responsibilities, develop themselves personally, and move upwards in a company. When they don’t have these opportunities, they feel stifled and anxious, and they’ll look elsewhere for work.

Expectations have not been clearly outlined, or employees are not properly trained

There is nothing more frustrating than wondering: What are my responsibilities? What goals must I reach? What are the benchmarks of my success? Actually, there is one thing that’s worse… knowing all of that but not being given the education or the tools to achieve it.

Employees have no say in their jobs

Not every employee is looking for power over someone else in the workplace, but most individuals would like to have autonomy over their own role and responsibilities. When employees are involved in the planning process and have the ability to make decisions, they’ll be more engaged.

How to Boost Sales Team Morale

Low morale can strike even the most forward-thinking, culture-centric workplaces. Maintaining a positive environment for your employees is an ongoing process, and sometimes good practices slip away and make room for challenges to arise.

If your sales team is unhappy and appears to be going through the motions, it’s important to understand what could be causing the problem. Here are a few possibilities:

There’s no faith in the leadership

If employees believe that leaders are just out for themselves, don’t have a clear idea of where they are guiding the company, or are inconsistent in their behaviors and interactions, trust will be eroded and morale will suffer.

Communication is not encouraged

If your staff doesn’t feel comfortable approaching you with challenges they’re experiencing with customers, procedures, management, or one another, they’ll find another outlet for their dissatisfaction. That could mean complaining to customers, or each other, or looking for new opportunities outside of your company.

Employees are being left in the dark

Change is the only constant, but if you aren’t letting your employees in on the changes happening within your company, they’ll be mistrustful, and may even jump to their own conclusions (which they then share with others).

How to Boost Sales Team Morale

Taking steps to boost morale in your sales team is one of the most important things you can do for the health of your organization. Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Encourage Social Time

Give your employees the opportunity to socialize with one another and encourage enjoyable experiences. This will not only bond your group together and encourage teamwork but will introduce an aspect of fun and liveliness into your team. Motivational speaker Marvelless Mark Kamp has fun and interactive team building programs to ensure that your employees stop performing like solo artists and start performing like a band.

2. Be Open and Honest with your Team

Often times, managers will plaster a fake smile on their face and pretend that everything in the company is perfect. Unfortunately, this doesn’t improve morale; it actually damages it. If there is something happening that you don’t agree with but can’t control, it’s okay to explain this to your team. You don’t have to bash anyone or anything; just explain that this is the current environment, and while it’s not necessarily the best thing in your eyes, you’ll need to make the most out of it for the good of the team.

3.  Recognize That Your Employees Have Personal Lives

While time spent at work should be time spent on work, your employees have families, friends, health problems, and other issues outside of the office that may occasionally interfere with their mood or energy level. Being understanding of your team’s personal lives will go a long way towards building loyalty and creating a happy staff.

4. Provide Time for Employees to Pursue Outside Interests

Your employees likely have philanthropic endeavors that they do during their time off (or wish they had more time off so they could do). Why not give them a set amount of hours each month or each quarter to volunteer or to dedicate their services to a worthy cause? Encourage them to work together on these projects, and you get the bonus of fostering teamwork.

Motivating a Sales Team Tips

While your sales team may not be motivated at the moment, all hope is not lost. There are a variety of practices that you can incorporate into your company today.

1. Be Clear About Your Company Mission

Why does your company exist? What problem is it solving in the marketplace, and how are your employees a part of this? The company mission isn’t just a few sentences decorating the lobby; it’s a guiding star that should dictate every decision that gets made.

In order for it to do this, you must share your mission with the employees and, most importantly, live it.

2. Set Clear Goals

What do you expect from your team members? Do they have sales goals that they have to reach or other KPIs that you are measuring them on? Be clear about exactly what your employees must achieve in order to “excel at their job.” Put this in writing and revisit it on a regular basis. Including them in the development process will also help to get their buy-in.

3. Provide the Necessary Training

Now that your employees know what they’re supposed to do, give them the training necessary to accomplish those goals. This may include one-on-one sales training or mentorship, access to business or personal development books, or bringing in a motivational speaker to shift their mindset. Marvelless Mark shares the wisdom of music’s greatest icons to help your employees unleash their inner rock stars.

4. Celebrate Accomplishments and Failures

Employees need to know that their hard work is valued and their contribution lifts the entire team up. Celebrate not just the ideas that panned out but also the attempts that blew up in their faces. Why? Because innovation and risk breed amazing rewards and help employees feel like they can step outside their comfort zone and still be appreciated.

Low morale and motivation can be a dangerous virus that spreads throughout your team and organization. Thankfully, by taking the right steps now, you can improve how your employees view their jobs and what they bring to the table each day.

You’ve always been conscious of the term “employee engagement,” but it wasn’t until you started noticing some unsettling behaviors at work that you really started to take notice.

You hired rock stars… wonderful employees with high skill levels, positive attitudes, and excitement to excel. Unfortunately, they are no longer performing at the level you expect. Team members that used to show up bright and early for work, eager to start the day are now shuffling into the office late (without so much as a homestretch hustle). Whereas your requests used to be met with excited head nods, the response is now a low grunt followed by a cloaked eye roll. There used to be an energy of excitement in the office and laughter could be heard from the hallways. Now, any laughing that occurs is usually due to a snarky complaint. Sick days have increased, productivity is low, and apathy is at an all-time high.

Even worse, you’ve walked over to a few employees just in time to see them minimize the job search website on their computer. You’re not alone. A Gallup poll showed that 32% of US employees are disengaged at work. That means that 1/3 of your staff would rather be somewhere else. Something has to be done before your already damaged team gets fractured.

Infuse some energy into your team and learn about
company culture with a motivational speaker.

Company Culture Drives Engagement

Wikipedia defines Company Culture (they call it Organizational Culture) as “values and behaviors that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of a business.” It includes the organization’s “vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs and habits.” Ideally, your organization’s culture is something that was discussed and fleshed out when the company began and then taught to each new team member during on-boarding.

While your employees will contribute to your company culture (or possibly work to destroy it), it’s important to understand that they do not drive culture. The responsibility falls on management to properly (and thoroughly) communicate and exhibit that culture for their employees. When this is done, employees will have a positive attitude, be more capable of solving problems with creative thinking, be excited to learn and grow within your organization, exceed their performance goals, and contribute to a positive work environment.

Why?

Because they will understand the company’s mission and be excited to be a part of it. These employees will be engaged and motivated to be the best employees they can be.

Related: How to Boost Sales Team Morale and Motivation

How to Create a Culture of Employee Engagement

You can’t control the company as a whole, but you can make sure that your team is happy, healthy, and productive. Here are a few steps you can take to make the most out of your team.

1) Dedicate time and resources to training

Have you ever been hired for a new position and been “thrown to the wolves,” forced to perform before you knew exactly what your job entailed? This can leave any employee frustrated, frightened, and resentful. Or perhaps you’d been working a job for a while when changes were instituted… yet never fully explained.

A lack of training will not only show up in your bottom line, but it will also appear on the faces of your unsatisfied employees. When you ensure that employees are properly trained (at every stage) and motivated, they’ll be happier and so will the higher-ups.

2) Create individual and team goals

Almost as bad as not knowing how to do your job is not knowing what “success” means to management. What are the expectations that you put on your staff? If you don’t clearly outline their individual sales goals (plus any customer service goals or other KPIs), your employees will have nothing to shoot for and won’t know if they’ve hit the mark.

On the other hand, team sales goals will enable you to create a culture of teamwork, support, and personal responsibility. Each employee must know they contribute to the whole and have the ability to ask for (and receive) help when they are unable to meet those goals. Imagine your staff working together to bolster one another to ensure that team goals are met.

3) Give thanks

Your team is working hard (Even if they aren’t, they likely believe that they are).

Think about your home life. If your spouse nags about taking out the trash or having dinner ready, are you eager to help them out? Probably not. But, if they thank you for the little behaviors, are you more likely to do more of those? Absolutely!

Showing appreciation for their hard work is positive reinforcement. When you acknowledge the employees that are already working at the best of their abilities, they will feel cared for and encouraged to keep working their tails off. When you thank the “less than stellar” employees for their contributions, they’ll be inspired to contribute more.

Foster an environment of celebration rather than one of punishment. Just about everyone likes being acknowledged for their work, and EVERYONE loves to feel appreciated. You can do this through verbal praise, bonuses for a job well done (whether monetary or token gifts), and celebrations when goals are met and exceeded. You’ll be amazed how far a simple “Thank you” will go.

4) Encourage growth

The days of securing a position and working that job for the next 40 years are over. Employees today (especially the millennial set) want to increase their knowledge base, strengthen their skills, learn, grow, and move up the ladder in their company. If they don’t have the opportunity to do so, you’ll soon be reading their resignation letter.

Provide employees with the resources they need to develop themselves personally and professionally. Offer training programs, allow them to shadow other departments, give them opportunities for promotion, bring in motivational speakers to inspire them and shift their mindset, and most importantly… encourage and support them when it’s time for them to move on to something new. If employees feel trapped, their performance and attitude will suffer. If employees feel free to grow, they’ll do their absolute best for you and move on when the role has run its course (rather than sticking around to poison the work environment).

5) Avoid Helicopter-Managing

Like the overprotective mother on the playground, if you don’t allow your employees to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes, they won’t grow, and they’ll resent you. Unlike in parenting, your employees have the option to just leave. If they choose to stay, morale will be damaged and employee engagement will plummet.

Micromanaging sends a message to your employees that you don’t trust them and deem them incapable of doing the job you hired them to do. Sure, sometimes employees need to be reigned in and retrained, but you must give them the freedom to do their work their way.

Employee Engagement Strategies

Now that you understand how to improve the company culture within your organization (or at least within your team), how does this translate into improved employee engagement? There are a number of strategies that you can use to create a more engaged team, such as:

1. Diagnose the problem

Have you ever gone to the doctor and had her prescribe something before you told her what the problem was? Probably not (and if so, find a new doctor ASAP!).

The reason this doesn’t happen is that before you can ever create an employee engagement strategy for your team, you need to find out what is and isn’t working. While you may spend most of your waking hours with these individuals, they may not be comfortable expressing their challenges to your face.

Before you park yourself in front of the whiteboard to devise a strategy or prescribe a remedy, you’ll need to figure out what’s wrong. Create an anonymous employee engagement survey that asks team members to share their feelings towards the company, score how happy they are in their jobs, explain what (in their opinion) does and doesn’t work, etc.

2. Do something about it

You probably think this goes without saying, but how many times have employees been asked to take surveys and had absolutely nothing result from them? Being asked to give your opinion and then not having it taken into account may be worse than never being asked at all.

Take a good hard look at the results (and brace yourself, for they may be a bit painful to see). Figure out the two or three biggest challenges standing between your team and maximum employee engagement and then ask them for solutions. Bring your team together and announce that you recognize the problems they’ve disclosed (and take responsibility for them if appropriate). Ask them to help you brainstorm some ideas to solve those problems and create a more positive work environment. The more employees are allowed to contribute to policy and to change, the more attached they’ll be to the outcome. Whereas you may be tempted to throw a monthly pizza party at your employees and call it a day, they may have some creative workarounds that will solve organizational problems at the team level.

3. Be creative… and reasonable

As a sales team manager, you likely don’t have control over how the company is run. You have limited power to make changes within your department. Sure, these ideas will hopefully spread if they work with your employees, but that’s not something you can guarantee.

Be creative in how you handle the challenges presented, and don’t over promise if it’s something that must be approved by upper management. For example, let’s say that the problem has been diagnosed as a parking frustration. Your company has grown so large that employees are unable to park anywhere near the building. They have a hefty walk to the doors that leaves them exhausted and frequently late for work. Even worse, they may have to park in an offsite facility and rely on a bus or shuttle to reach the building. They are tired, sweaty in the summer, and frozen in the winter, and in order to be on time, they need to pad their commute with an extra 45 minutes.

You should probably be surprised if they aren’t disengaged.

You can’t do anything about the parking situation, but what can you do? Can you offer employees the opportunity to work from home some days? Can you give them a 10-15 minute leeway to arrive at their desks? Can you provide them with a break first thing in the morning (that doesn’t affect their other breaks) so they can freshen up before starting their day?

Use your imagination and show your team that you are looking out for their best interests.

4. Follow through

You’ve diagnosed the problem, invited your team to provide input on solutions, and gotten creative. Now it’s time to do what you say you’ll do. If an initial idea doesn’t pan out, do something else. Don’t just let the issue drop, or your employee engagement will be even lower than it was before.

Measuring Culture and Engagement

You’ve followed the steps above to improve your company culture and then to diagnose and cure the problems leading to low employee engagement. Now what? How do you measure this effort and ensure that your hard work was not for nothing?

1) Ask

Remember those surveys you sent out to identify the problems? They also serve as your baseline. Repeat the survey quarterly or even monthly and check in with your employees to see if they see and feel the difference.

2) Look around

It may seem simple, but you knew something was wrong with the team based on their everyday behaviors. Their attitudes were poor, their faces lost their light, and their productivity was low. Do they seem happier? Has laughter returned to the office? Are their numbers better? Pay attention to what’s happening in the office, and you’ll know very quickly whether your engagement plan has been successful.

3) Remain vigilant

Employee engagement isn’t a “one and done” strategy. Keeping your employees happy must be an ongoing priority. Work closely with employees to maintain that positive environment and when something goes awry, address it quickly rather than letting it spiral out of control.

Ensuring that your company culture is at its best and that your employees are fully engaged in their roles will create a healthier, happier work environment. Your productivity will be higher, your sales will soar, and your employees will actually enjoy coming to work. They’ll become the business rock stars you know they can be. Who can ask for more?

Do you believe that you and your team will be successful?

It seems like such a silly question, but your answer is practically everything.

Sure, there are a lot of pieces that factor into whether or not your team will succeed in sales and in business. There’s the level of leadership manning the helm, the abilities, and willingness of the salespeople on the front lines, the quality of the training given to teach employees, the market, the product, and about a million other possibilities that could affect sales outcomes.

However, there’s one piece that’s more important than all of the others… mindset.

Introduce the rockstar mindset to your team with a motivational speaker for corporate events.

The Importance of Positive Mindset in Business

Business is hard. There are risks you must take in order to succeed. There are many roadblocks along the way that will threaten to derail your progress and could potentially ruin everything you’ve worked for.

This is where mindset comes in. Do you look at the positive in any situation or focus on the negative? Do you reward achievements or “punish” mistakes? Do you believe that you are destined for success or are you convinced that you’ll fail?

It’s no surprise that business owners, leaders, and salespeople with a positive mindset will go further in business. It allows you to conquer the challenges that will come your way, focus on the goal, and achieve the level of success you’re looking for.

What Is a Rockstar Mindset? or Growth Mindset?

When it comes to mindset, we can learn a lot from our denim and leather-clad friends… rock stars. Bands like Kiss, Aerosmith, and Queen knew how to think big and dream bigger. If we pay attention, they’ve got lessons for how we can become rock stars in business. And you don’t even have to trash a hotel room.

What is a rockstar mindset? What sets the iconic bands apart from the one-hit wonders?

First, you can’t be afraid to create change. Disrupt the market. Do something that’s never been done before. If you find yourself reacting to market changes rather than creating them, you’ll never have a true rockstar mindset.

Second, rockstars understand the importance of surrounding themselves with good people and then treating them right. They rely on their band for support and treat each member equally. Every single one of your employees contributes in their own way and should be given respect.

Third, rockstars are willing to take chances. They try things out and if it doesn’t work, they try something else. They’re innovative and don’t create based on what they think their audience will like.  Take Queen, for example. Bohemian Rhapsody was like nothing ever before. The record label warned them it was too different and wouldn’t be well received. But the band put it out there anyway… and that song put Queen on the map for generations to come.

Finally, rockstars aren’t afraid to dream bigger. Sure, they might start out playing friend’s garages and dive bars, but they dream of selling out stadiums. In business, you must have a BUD, a Big Unreasonable Dream that you’re working towards. Anything less, and you’ll be stuck in the garage.

This is where your growth mindset comes into play. Are you “comfortable” playing small, or do you know that you are meant for business greatness and go after that greatness with every step you take? Are you open to larger possibilities? Do you have a Big Unreasonable Dream? When you’ve got a growth mindset, the opportunities are endless. You focus on the possibilities in the future and don’t get bogged down in how things currently appear.

How to Foster the Rockstar Mindset in Business

In order to create a rockstar mindset for you and your team, you need to:

1. Think bigger than you are or can imagine yourself to be.

Your current state is just that… your current state. Where do you want to be? What is your Big Unreasonable Dream? Now picture yourself there. Don’t merely accept where you are right now; envision and then fight to be where you want.  

2. Don’t just talk about the work. Do the work.

Once you’ve decided where you’d like to go, create a strategic plan of action that will get you there, and then bring it to life. Every decision you make should be in service of this goal. Every move you make should be bringing you one step closer to this goal.

3.  Be willing to take risks above the status quo.

Going after these dreams will take creativity, innovation, and guts. Take risks in your own job and reward your team for doing so as well. It’s not whether or not an idea panned out that should be celebrated… it’s whether or not they acted upon the idea. They won’t all work. But amongst the pile of unsuccessful songs, one could be a hit.

4. Create raving fans by giving them a reason to want more of you.

People don’t go to a rock concert to hear a “decent band.” They go to hear amazing music, feel the energy in the room, and get excited about being a part of the performance.

Customers are no longer looking for just “good service.” They want to have an experience with you. From the first contact to follow-up, you should be creating a process that leaves your customers wanting more and raving to their friends.

5. Check your ego at the door.

It may seem counterintuitive as rock stars appear to have the biggest egos of anyone. But the successful ones… they understand that their band can either make them or break them. Do you embrace each member of your team as being equal? Do you understand that every person you work with has something to contribute?  

6. Differentiate yourself from the competition.

Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead once said, “You don’t want to be considered the best at what you do. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do.”

Are you unique? Do you do something or offer something that no one else offers?  Embrace your inner rockstar and find what makes you distinctive.

7.  Be willing to do what others won’t.

Do you go above and beyond for your customers? Members of the band Kiss donned spandex, makeup, and even got tongue implants (you don’t have to go that far). They answered the question, “What are you willing to do that others are not?” and in doing so, they beat out the thousands of other garage bands trying to make it in the music business. What are you willing to do?

Having a rockstar mindset in business is imperative to your survival and success. Think bigger and work towards it, take chances, create an experience for your customer, value your teammates, stand out from the competition, and do things that others are not willing to do… all in the name of success. Embrace these lessons, and you’ll find your inner rockstar and bring them to the table in your business.

When you look at your sales team, do you see individuals working together to help one another, provide solutions for the customers, and support the company as a whole?

Or do you see individuals bickering, backstabbing, and willing to step on one another to get ahead at their jobs… no matter the cost to the organization?

If your team more closely resembles the second scenario, you’re not alone. You may have chosen the most qualified people in the industry to join your team, but if the company or department culture values competition over teamwork, your employees, your team, and the company will suffer.

Hire Marvelles Mark as a team-building motivational speaker for an event that actually works.

What Is the Purpose of a Team-Building Workshop?

Team-building workshops are designed to offer a memorable experience for participants that breeds trust, respect, and mutual understanding and creates an environment where individuals work together towards a common goal. When your employees are working together as a team, morale is improved, job satisfaction is increased, and profits will rise.

Related: How to Boost Sales Team Morale and Motivation

Do Team-Building Workshops Actually Make a Difference?

Does the term “team building” elicit images of trust falls and hugging in your mind? Are you afraid to spend money, get your team excited, and then have them return to work on Monday only to resume the same back-biting behaviors?

When team-building workshops are done right, employees are able to bond as people instead of just as coworkers. They’ll be more willing to work together on projects and assist each other with challenges in the future. And they may even discover skills or leadership qualities that they never knew they had.

Not only that, but your employees will be more engaged and happier to come to work. So yes, you could say that team-building workshops make a difference.

How Can You Measure the Effectiveness of Team-Building Activities?

While it may be difficult to determine the exact effectiveness of team-building activities, we know that team-building increases employee engagement, and that has been studied. In fact, according to the Workplace Research Foundation, employee engagement investments by 10% can boost profits by $2,400 per year… per employee. Thanks to Business 2 Community, we know that companies with engaged employees outperform companies with disengaged employees by 202%.

How can you test this for yourself? Consider administering an employee satisfaction survey prior to your team-building activities and then re-administering it a few weeks after your workshop. You can also measure your sales stats before and after.

How Much Do Companies Spend on Team-Building?

Now that you understand the importance of team-building activities and workshops for your organization, you might be wondering if you can afford it.

More importantly, you can’t afford not to.

Fostering this team environment is essential to reaching your sales goals and keeping your people happy. Workshops can range anywhere from $2,800 up to $10,000 depending on who is administering the workshop, what it entails, and which employees are participating.

In the grand scheme of your business or organization, this cost will barely make a dent in your bank account, but its positive effects will last for years to come.

Providing team-building workshops for your staff is not just good for their individual health and happiness, but also for the overall success of the organization. When your employees come together towards a common goal, amazing things happen.

From Depression Era to Baby Boomers, to Generation X, every generation tends to look at the next with a little bit of disapproval. Now that Millennials have entered the workforce, they seem to be taking the brunt of the judgment. However, if you want to motivate millennial workers, you’ll want to realize that they can’t all be grouped together in personality, work ethic, and goals. Just like every generation that has come before them, millennials are individuals. When you treat them that way, they’ll become the business rock stars you’ve always wanted.

Imagine a record label treating every rock star the same way. Those musicians would be looking for a new label in minutes. Millennial workers feel the same way. They don’t want to be stereotyped with others in their generation, they want to be treated as the unique employees they are.

How to Get to Know Your Employees as People

Sometimes, leaders forget that employees are people. Successful managers and successful businesses are the ones who see their employees as human beings first, and workers second. Here are a few questions that you can ask your employees to understand them and better manage them.

What Drew You to This Type of Work?

When you ask this question, your employee may give you some insight into their past, their family, or their passions. Perhaps they had a family member or friend who had whatever problem your company solves. Maybe they have had an interest in your industry since they were little. Understanding what makes your employees tick will help make the most of their role.

What Interests You?

Employees don’t cease to exist when they leave work. They go home to rich lives filled with hobbies, causes, and passions. Employees appreciate when you take the time to find out what they care about. You might even discover that you have something in common or that they have knowledge or skills that could benefit the company.

What Are Your Career Goals and Personal Goals?

There’s a very good chance that their current position is not the dream career that your employee is shooting for. Many millennials have a strong desire to improve their work and personal lives and to move up in the business world. Discuss their goals and find out how you can help move them towards those goals.

How Do You Prefer to Work?

This can encompass where and when they prefer to work, and can also include whether they prefer to work as a team or on their own, how they like to communicate with coworkers, and much more. Offering flexibility at work can allow employees to thrive in their positions.

How Do You Prefer to Be Managed?

Be honest, don’t you wish someone had asked you that question? Find out if your employee wants to be given freedom and space to work in their own way with little interruption, or if they want to receive frequent feedback regarding their performance and their accomplishments. Do they respond well to criticism or do they prefer positive feedback? Being open to leading on their terms will improve the experience for everyone.

Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that there is one thing millennials have in common with every other generation: they are all individuals. When you treat them as unique people with likes and dislikes, goals and aspirations, and personalities all their own, you create an environment for rock star productivity.

“I don’t work at being ordinary.” Paul McCartney

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

 

When it comes to your employees, do you consider yourself a good communicator?  Even more importantly, do you consider yourself a good listener? If you’d like to better motivate your millennial workers, one of the key strategies is to listen to what they have to say.

The millennials were not brought up in households where “children should be seen and not heard” but rather were valued for their opinions and ideas. Much like rock stars, millennials are a powerful segment of the population who want to have a voice and make a difference in the world. They are talented, creative, and motivated. If you listen to what they have to say, you just might find the answers to your most pressing business issues.

How to Listen to Your Employees

As leaders, you likely underwent a great deal of training in regards to communication: How you can best share your ideas, your grand vision, and your daily expectations with your team. However, a huge (and often ignored) piece of communication is listening. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your millennial employees by taking their thoughts and ideas into consideration.

Be Available

An open-door policy sounds good on paper, but do you actually live it? Are you available at any time (within reason) for employees to discuss their concerns or present ideas to you? When employees see that you want to hear what they have to say, they’ll be more likely to talk to you, and less likely to become a source of negativity at the water cooler. If your job doesn’t allow you to be available at all times, set up specific hours when employees can meet with you.

Be Open-Minded

Do you have to be the source of all good ideas? Often, the answers to your problems and the innovative ideas necessary to move the company forward don’t come from management. These ideas come from the front-line employees who are in the trenches. When you are willing to listen and implement these ideas, you’ll open up a new world for your company.

Be Aware of Non-Verbal Cues

Just because you’re doing your best to communicate openly and honestly, doesn’t mean that your employee will do the same. They may control their words, but it is much more difficult to control body language. Even when they are holding back, their non-verbal cues will likely betray them. Keep an eye out for obvious movements like leaning back or forward in their chair, crossing their arms in front of them, shifting their body away from your direction, not maintaining eye contact, etc. These may signal that they are uncomfortable or excited about the conversation. It may also mean that they are feeling attacked and feel the need to defend themselves. If you pick up on a specific movement, gently question how they are feeling at that moment and they may relax and provide more information.

Be Respectful

Not every idea is a good one and not every complaint is valid. That being said, you should still listen, verify, and validate everything brought to your attention. Let your employees know that you understand what they are saying and will take it into consideration. People just want to be heard. Often, this is enough to put the problem to rest.

Be Honest

While you should always be honest with your employees, this tip actually refers to being honest with yourself. When you listen to your workers, they may tell you something that’s hard for you to hear. Perhaps they have an issue with your leadership style or don’t like the way that you handle certain situations. Whatever the criticism is, you’ll want to be honest with yourself. It’s always possible that they are deflecting one of their issues onto you and you won’t need to change your behavior. But, the possibility exists that you are actually doing something poorly. Look at your behavior, talk to a trusted friend or colleague, and decide whether you need to make a change within yourself.

Marvelless Mark®  reminds his clients that millennial employees want to be heard and considered. They want to have their own voice in the company.  When you are available, open-minded, aware of non-verbal cues, respectful and honest with their ideas and feedback, you will see the rock star results you know they are capable of.

“I’m hungry for knowledge. The whole thing is to learn every day. To get brighter and brighter. That’s what this world is about.” – Jay Z

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

 

While the latest generation of employees values freedom and inspiration, these cannot be achieved without one very important thing… structure. If you are looking to motivate millennial workers, you’ll want to create a well-structured environment for them to thrive in.

It may seem counterintuitive, but there is actually quite a bit of freedom in structure. Think about our rock star friends. They may be the wildest, most unique individuals on the planet, however, they adhere to their own type of structure. They practice their craft, market their “product,” and follow the schedule that’s been set in front of them. At least they do if they want to succeed. Millennials understand the need for structure and actually crave it.

Providing Structure in the Workplace

An office filled with employees running amuck is bound to fail. However, if you learn how to create healthy, positive parameters within which your employees can work, you will be rewarded with productivity, creativity, and loyalty. Here are a few ways you can create structure in the office.

Clearly Communicate Roles

When you hire employees, do you make it perfectly clear what their responsibilities will be? Or, like many companies, do you hand them a 3 line job description and send them on their merry way? If an employee doesn’t know what they are supposed to do, they will be anxious, resentful, and will always fall short of your expectations.

It’s better to help your millennial workers understand what their position entails (a clearly defined role), what is expected of them (goals), and how and when they will be reviewed (receive feedback). This gives them the opportunity to meet and exceed your expectations and thrive in their work environment. This can be done at hiring or at any time during their employment. These roles and responsibilities should be discussed and then committed to paper (or computer) so that they can be referenced by both parties at any time. An employee manual should be included to discuss company-wide expectations.

Create Standard Operating Procedures

S.O.P.s not only give your employees freedom to make decisions within their daily activities, they actually free up your time as well. These procedures can be incredibly detailed, providing what-to-do instructions for every situation they are likely to encounter, or it can be an overall culture that permeates every decision such as “the customer is always right.” If your employees know that the customer is always right, they can act accordingly and without interrupting you for every little situation that presents itself.

Determine the Disciplinary Policy

Marvelless Mark® reminds his clients that not every employee will be perfect all the time. No matter how dedicated, talented, or intelligent they may be, mistakes are human and inevitable.

“Make mistakes, make mistakes, make mistakes. Just make sure they’re your mistakes.” Fiona Apple

What will you do when they happen? The most important part of a disciplinary procedure is communicating expectations. If your employees don’t know what they should and shouldn’t do, you can’t punish them for missteps. This is where the role responsibilities and employee manual comes into play.

Once you’ve communicated what they should and shouldn’t do, you must let them know what will happen if they don’t meet the expectations or follow the guidelines. Will there be a warning before action is taken? Will they be put on probation? Are there grounds for immediate dismissal? Whatever you decide is fine, under one condition. Whatever you decide must apply to every employee in the business. If different employees are held to different standards or one is punished for something whereas another employee’s behavior was overlooked, you open yourself up to angry employees and potential lawsuits.

Creating structure in the workplace is essential to motivate millennial workers. Thankfully, it’s also fairly simple. When you clearly define roles, create standard operating procedures, and determine the disciplinary policy early, your employees will have an environment in which to thrive and create rock star results.

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

 

In previous generations, employees were often satisfied doing the same type of work for their entire career. That has changed. If you are hoping to motivate millennial workers, consider offering them the freedom and the opportunities to explore different projects, positions, and departments.

Consider this: Rock stars love a good jam session. It’s not just because they love what they do (although that’s part of it), but rather because a jam session provides the freedom to experiment, to play, and to pick up some new skills in the process. Ever watch a guitar player hop over to the keyboard and a singer settle in behind the drum kit? That’s because they love to expand their horizons. Millennial workers have a similar mindset. You can embrace this and encourage experimentation, or you can see a high turnover rate from bored millennials.

How Can You Vary Assignments and Projects?

There are many opportunities to not only keep your millennial workers happy at work but also to further the creativity and innovation within your organization.

Have Employees Make the Rounds

Before aspiring doctors graduate from medical school, they spend several months doing rounds at a hospital. This gives them exposure to multiple areas of medicine and allows them to figure out where their passion and their talents lie. Why don’t we do that more often in business? Sometimes called “Office Rotation,” companies like HSBC, Emerson, and the NFL allow employees to experience different positions, different departments, and occasionally different locations altogether. Employees get training and experience in many different areas, and the companies provide support when it’s time to make the next move.

Allow Employees to Work on Side Projects

Work isn’t everything. Whether it’s a charitable cause or a side business, millennial employees will benefit from the opportunity to work on non-work projects during working hours. Google is famous for offering up to 20% of work time for side projects. This encourages productivity and innovation, keeps your employees happy, and often times, it yields new products or services for the business.

Encourage Cross-Departmental Teamwork

If your departments are separated from one another, employees rarely get to interact or learn what others are doing. Why not encourage employees to “buddy up” with someone from another department, learn about their roles and responsibilities, and perhaps collaborate to make improvements for the company. While your departments may do very different things, ultimately, you are all working towards the same goal.

“When we get together and rehearse — which is always­ — living with each other, we always talk about what would make it better, what would mean more, what would say more. So we’re always improving and growing.” –  Alice Cooper

Millennial workers will appreciate the opportunity to expand their horizons at work. Marvelless Mark® believes that when you give your millennial employees the ability to work on other projects within the department, outside of the department, or even outside of the company, they will be more productive, morale will be higher, and they will stay with your company for longer. And, you’ll see the rockstar results you’re looking for.

View a PDF version.

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

These days, fewer employees want to come to the office and work for 8 hours with their head down. If you are looking to motivate millennial employees, consider incorporating collaborative projects and promoting teamwork in the workplace.

Millennials have grown up in a completely connected world. From social media to video games, they are rarely alone. This need for connection and collaboration has transferred to their working environments. Just like a rock star who takes some time to pursue a solo career, only to find themselves reuniting with the band, millennials want to work together.

7 Ways to Promote Teamwork and Bring Your Employees Together

You realize that your business or department would be doing better if employees worked as a team rather than in silos. But how do you encourage teamwork in an office setting and limit the drama that occurs when employees have more contact with one another and are responsible for a collaborative project?

When you promote good teamwork, you can instantly begin to improve workplace culture across generations. Below we explain how to build teamwork in the workplace and ultimately bring your millennial employees together.

1. Share the Company’s Mission

If your employees don’t know why they are doing what they are doing, if they don’t understand the big picture of the organization, they’re likely to get stuck in the details of their daily tasks. This means that while they may want to do an excellent job in their role, they don’t understand how their role fits into the grand mission, and how they can work with other employees or departments to reach the company’s goals.

2. Clearly Communicate Roles & Responsibilities

When employees don’t know what is expected of them, they’ll find it difficult to succeed in their position. Even more detrimental to a team environment, they won’t know where their job ends, and another employee’s job begins. This could lead to confusion, disagreements, and unnecessary drama. Every employee should know what they are supposed to do.

3. Value Every Employee

While every employee should know what their exact role is, they also need to understand how they fit into the big picture, and most importantly, that every employee is valuable and appreciated.

For example, if you treat your tech people like lower class citizens because they don’t bring in the money like salespeople, they will not only resent you, they will also resent their sales counterparts.

Every employee should be treated as an irreplaceable piece of the larger organization.

4. Encourage Collaboration

You can say that you want employees to work together, but if you don’t show them with your behaviors, they won’t feel as if they can.

  • Create communal workspaces for employees to get together and share ideas.
  • Offer bonuses or prizes based off of teamwork, rather than keeping them for more traditional goal achievements.
  • Maybe even offer the flexibility to work when it is convenient for both employees to get together.

The goal is to show your employees that you approve of and appreciate teamwork.

5. Don’t Micro-Manage

Micromanagement is the kiss of death for any manager, but especially those dealing with millennials. If you spend your days watching over their shoulders, nothing new will ever be created. Allow your employees the freedom to work together, brainstorm and present new ideas, and fail.

6. Utilize Technology

Have you figured out yet that millennials really like technology? While in-person meetings will never become extinct, many millennials prefer to communicate through social media channels, project management programs, and instant messaging apps.

These tools will allow them to keep in touch, divvy up the workload, stay apprised of what the other person is up to, and capture any brainstorm results.

7. Hire “Teammates” Not Just Employees

Encouraging collaboration begins with the very first interview. If you hire people that don’t play well with others, teamwork may be an unattainable goal for your organization. However, if you preface job interviews with your thoughts on teamwork, you’ll be more likely to hire correctly.

Whenever possible, invite other team members to the interview so you can see the interactions and decide if the potential hire would be a good fit.

Make it your long-term mission to improve teamwork amongst your millennials and older generations in your organization by following the tips above. After all, you are a rockstar leader.


Marvelless Mark® remind his clients that millennials want to be a part of a “band” at work. Encourage teamwork, and you’ll see your millennial workers blossom into rock stars.

“As good as I am, I’m nothing without my band.” Steven Tyler

View the PDF Version

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.

Your Baby Boomers or Gen X employees may be comfortable with their once a quarter or even once a year review, however, if you want to motivate millennial workers, you’ll want to offer feedback more often.

The Millennial generation is used to getting constant feedback from their parents and teachers. This need for outside validation doesn’t stop when they enter the workforce. Receiving positive feedback can inspire your millennial workers to be more creative, more productive, and more satisfied at work.  Can you imagine a rock star performing to a silent audience?  Cheers and chanting are the fuel that inspires musicians to rock out on stage and you have the ability to do the same for your employees. But it’s not just about cheerleading. Millennials have a strong desire for self-improvement and will thrive on opportunities to better themselves.

Best Practices for Offering Feedback to Millennials

Not only do millennials require more feedback to excel at work, they also need it delivered slightly differently. Sometimes considered to be the most “sensitive” generation, millennials thrive on positive reinforcement more than negativity and punishment. Here are a few steps to provide your millennials with the feedback they crave.

Utilize SMART Goal Setting

While not technically considered “feedback,” if your millennial employees don’t know what’s expected of them, they’ll be confused and resentful when you tell them that they aren’t living up to their responsibilities. Whether it’s at the beginning of their employment, after a position change, or when you begin to implement your feedback system, you’ll need to review their job responsibilities and expectations. Once they clearly understand what they should be doing, you can hold them accountable. SMART goal setting is the best way to outline and communicate your expectations.

Provide the Good with the Bad

No one wants to hear that nothing they do is good enough. However, older employees may be used to this type of feedback and may tolerate it better than a millennial. When talking to the younger generation, be sure to include what they are doing right, not just what needs improvement. Even when it’s difficult to find the positive, remember that there are many facets to an employee’s job performance. Maybe they aren’t making their sales numbers but they have an excellent attitude that spreads throughout the office. Maybe they are late to work frequently, but once they get there, they work harder than everyone else. There’s almost always something you can praise an employee for.

Discuss Specific Behaviors

When you discuss intangible characteristics or behaviors like a “bad attitude,” millennial employees may feel attacked. If you discuss specific, measurable behaviors that can be pinpointed and improved upon (like being late), they will have an easier time grasping the concept and being solution-focused.

Offer Opportunities to Improve

Once you’ve outlined the behaviors that need to be corrected, it’s time to offer support and education to correct them. Does your employee need more training? Do they need a mentor who will guide them on their journey? Millennials will be much more willing to accept corrective feedback when it comes with a way to correct it.

Provide Regular Feedback

Possibly the most important aspect of providing feedback to millennials is providing it frequently. These don’t have to be official sit down meetings with HR representatives and “permanent files.” Sometimes a nod along with a “Great job on that last call,” is enough to motivate a millennial to work even harder. Imagine an environment where employees were told daily how much they’re appreciated. Now that is motivating!

Communicate with Technology

You may see texts or social media messages as a distraction throughout the day, but to your millennial employees, it’s just another way (and possibly their preferred way) to communicate. Shoot them a quick “thank you” or “good job” throughout the day. Even an emoji can brighten their day.

Schedule a Follow-Up

A need to improve, even if it’s accompanied by a plan to improve, is nothing without a scheduled follow-up. By what date will you check in to make sure the issues have been resolved? Make it clear that they have a specific timeframe to work on improvements and provide the support they need to make them.

Marvelless Mark® tells his clients that a need for constant feedback isn’t necessarily a bad thing. An employee that wants to improve and succeed is a great asset to any company. When you learn to communicate with your millennial workers, they’ll reward you with rock star results.

“The more you learn about everything, the easier it is to do it.” Dolly Parton

Mark Kamp® aka Marvelless Mark® works with organizations who want their teams to achieve immediate rock star results. A Keynote Speaker/Entertainer/Author, Husband, Father, and child of God, his primary message, “Opportunity Rocks®” gives attendees a fresh new perspective on Sales, Marketing, and Employee Performance. Fun and engaging, Mark combines the success secrets of your favorite rock stars with just the right amount of entertainment to transform your employees into business rockstars. Learn more at www.OpportunityRocks.net.