Sales managers recognize that a primary part of their jobs is to keep their sales teams productive. But, keep them happy! Is that really part of the job? Yes. Salespeople may be thankful for having a good job, but happiness is another dimension of the work experience—an important and often overlooked dimension. When jobs are scarce, people will put up with a lot to keep their jobs. But, as opportunities emerge, those who are not happy will be ready to move on to meet new challenges and find opportunities where they can make better use of their abilities…and be happy. So, if you have productive people and you want to keep them producing for you, then, "Yes," keeping them happy is part of your job. A few years ago, a professional organization within the recruitment industry conducted a study about why people leave their jobs and seek new employment opportunities. The study revealed that people left their jobs because they were unhappy with one or more aspects of it. The reasons fell into four categories. People were unhappy with: Their incomes. Where incomes had plateaued or compensation was not perceived as being proportionate to contribution, dissatisfaction was high. The nature of the work in which they were engaged. Doing routine work and not feeling challenged, and thereby not feeling stimulated or motivated, was a common complaint. Feeling that their careers had stalled and their professional growth hindered was also common. The people with whom they worked. Issues revolved around elements such as camaraderie, teamwork, respect, and communication. Their work environment—which included the physical environment, the company culture, the degree of supervision, and the degree to which they received recognition for their work. Which category do you suppose ranked number one? Money? People? The work environment, perhaps? The previous list is presented in reverse order of importance. That's right, "money" was the least important reason for leaving a job. The ability to do interesting and challenging work, and to be recognized for it, played a more important part in the decision. This recent TED Article discusses some additional studies by Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist, that give insights into work motivation. The work environment—was the number one reason cited for leaving a job. Keeping that in mind, what can you do to keep your salespeople happy? You can be sensitive to your salespeople's need for feedback. Let them know how they are doing. Regularly scheduled coaching and debriefing sessions let them know that their contributions are not being overlooked. Even feedback that is less than glowing will be appreciated because it validates that they are not being ignored. This blog post also gives some great tips for building teamwork and keeping employees happy. And, don't take excellent performance for granted. When you come to expect top notch results from your top producers, and they consistently deliver, it's easy to overlook the recognition that is due. Little things like a handshake often mean as much to them as the tangible evidence of performance they see in their paychecks. Not everyone, however, is a top producer. But, even the less-than-stellar performers deserve recognition. So, don't forget to acknowledge them, too, for their efforts. You can also help create a comfortable work environment where your people feel secure. People need to be kept informed about the activities in which they play a part as well as what's expected of them. When people are kept in the dark, or even feel like they are being kept in the dark, fears and doubts arise. Providing clear, concise, and frequent information helps alleviate those feelings. It takes a little effort to keep your people happy. But, when you keep them happy, they'll keep producing. And, that should keep you happy as well.
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