Keeping your team motivated is a constant struggle at the best of times, but when times are hard it becomes even harder.
Stuart Pearce identifies how you can motivate staff, even when your budget is very limited.
Although we all understand that motivation is a must, you don’t need to break the bank to achieve it – as you’ll see in a minute – but you do need to put some thought in to it.
There are a few things that you need to consider when deciding which route to take. First and foremost is how much money the boss has given you to spend!
Now, there’s no need to panic at this point. You don’t necessarily need an absolute fortune to achieve great results – I have in the past motivated a team of 48 with an allowance of £50.00 per week.
You have to appreciate that it’s not about the money, it’s about winning. People, by their very nature, are generally competitive, and that’s something you can use to your advantage.
Keep things fresh
As obvious as it may sound, the key to motivation is to keep things fresh. Any job, however much you enjoy it, can become monotonous. This is even truer for the call centre/telesales environment, what with the added pressure of performing and hitting targets not usually associated with other jobs.
Small ‘quick fix’ prizes
Monthly bonuses and incentive schemes are always useful, but what will keep staff motivated throughout the month is the small ‘quick fix’ stuff, the here and now, if you like. The little prizes they can take away with them as soon as they win them (or hit target). I once started a game of pass the parcel using old newspapers and pound shop toys that not only lifted morale but also created a considerable increase in sales!
We’ve all played games such as Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders and, depending on how much room you have in the office, you can set these up and use them as a tool to push the team forward.
All you have to do is get hold of some pens and paper and have the ‘board’ set up on the walls and then you simply tell the team that for every sale (or quality score) they get a ‘move’ on the board and the winner gets whatever prize you deem suitable.
This will work for pretty much any board game. It’s cheap to set up and you can add smaller prizes in if you wish – of course, you don’t have to offer them prizes just for sales, you can work it with most of your KPIs, depending on which ones need improving.
Now, if you really want to get the blood flowing and have the room for it, there are lots of things you can do.
I have previously set up a company Olympics whereby when they got a sale agents had to complete a physical challenge. Now, because we had a mixed team of old and young, male and female, we had to make the challenges appropriate, so there were challenges such as darts and Kerplunk for the more sedate amongst us, and skipping etc. for the more adventurous.
The end result was that everyone had a fair chance of winning and nobody felt left out. The overall winner was presented with a ‘winners T-shirt’ and runners-up were given other prizes. The great thing is that this can now be rolled out every year.
Training is always good, but make sure it’s relevant and useful
Regular, effective and relevant training is massively important and a great motivator.
If you want staff to perform properly and consistently then you have to give them the tools to do so.
Training is always good, it keeps people up to date and focused on the job at hand, it keeps their skills at the forefront and it will show them that management are obviously concerned with how well they do their job, etc.
If employees are given good quality training that covers the topics and issues they are faced with, they will respond and to a certain extent motivate themselves to stick with what they learn.
Offer a nice clean working environment
You need to make sure that the environment is conducive to good performance. Everyone likes to work somewhere nice, with clean carpets, working computers and phones, and perhaps a couple of nice plants.
Consider this, which team do you think would give the best performance, the one who works in a scruffy office where the equipment only works half of the time and the managers never offer any support, or the team that works in a clean, friendly office where everything works properly and managers spend their day patting you on the back?
I appreciate that I’ve given an extreme example, but the fact remains that if your office is clean and welcoming then your team will want to be there and motivation is much easier to come by.
We all like to be rewarded or praised for doing our job well
A good reward scheme is a great motivator, especially if your team are conducting outbound calls. Human nature dictates that no matter what job we do we all like to be rewarded or praised for doing it well. Sales people live by that, generally because the better they do, the more money they get.
For the best results, what you have to do is have more than one programme running at any given time – immediate, daily, weekly, monthly – it doesn’t really matter what timescales are involved – the key is to run a programme that suits all members of the team.
Basically, the thing that might motivate the top performer won’t necessarily work with an average performer and vice versa. So if you have different options then you should be able to give all of them something to aim for.
What we must not forget amongst all these games etc. is that there is no replacement for a good management style. A pat on the back from a manager that you respect and trust is worth its weight in gold. We must also not forget that clean and suitable surroundings and a good training programme are the staple diet of a well performing team.
One of the best things to do when organising any type of motivation is to keep a record of what you did and how well it went so that eventually you will have a book of motivational activities to call on as and when the team needs a boost.
The bottom line is this – manage your team properly, train them, support them, use what you have first, there is no need to spend fortunes, and, whatever you do, make sure that everyone has a fair chance, otherwise you risk alienating some of your team and defeating the object of motivation.
Stuart Pearce is a Director of PRG Solutions. He is the author of “The Telesales Handbook”, and is an ex Telesales and Call Centre Manager, with a passion for helping people to improve the performance, productivity and motivation of their teams.