All you have to do is Google “Team Building” and you will not have a shortage of definitions and ideas. I know as a Manager of a large sales team I have often had to research new ideas, not only to help build the best team, but to keep the best team. I have read a lot about how to use team building activities to keep my sales reps engaged and excited to do their jobs every day. I have to admit that it is not as hard to do that here at Baudville, since it is an awesome place to work, but just like you I still have to work at keeping the employees happy! I have found that I can make my job easier if I follow these 6 steps:
- Work harder from the beginning by focusing more on recruiting and hiring. Don’t rush the hiring process! Complete a phone screen to judge verbal communication before you bring the candidate in for a face to face interview. Have the candidate meet with several people within your company to get a number of different opinions. Maybe even let them meet with their future potential peers. Do not focus too heavily on the person’s resume. Here at Baudville our culture is very important to all of us. Sometimes the resume does not tell the whole story and is not the perfect fit, but the person’s personality and passion is – I use that as the final defining factor.
- Regular Team Meetings. This allows “quality” time with just the team. It gives them the chance to share their recent experiences, best practices, and frustrations. This has always been a key point during my career as it has been successful at bringing the team closer together. Every team meeting does not have to have a training subject or be completely work related. Once it a while it is good to allow the team let off steam by relaxing or even playing a fun game. This helps them get to know each other better and naturally come together. I always make sure that this is a “safe” place for the sales reps as I am a huge advocate of open and honest communication. I allow no negativity or disrespect during the meetings.
- Always take time to explain the “why”! If you are rolling out a new strategy, company initiative, or communicating any type of change – take the necessary time to explain the “why”. Talk to your teams about the reasoning behind the change. Explain why the company wants to implement the change, the anticipated results, the definition of what success looks like, and how each of the employees can actively help achieve the wanted level of success. If the employees understand the “why” it is easier to get them excited and buy into the idea of the change. They will want to work harder to help the company hit its goals. This also builds trust and respect between the Manager and team members.
- Incentives and competitions. Take the time to put together periodic incentives and/or competitions for the team. Have the goals focus around every day metrics expectations – this will increase productivity and results while the team is having fun. It will help build both competitiveness and camaraderie. The incentives can be individual or teams (I typically will split the team up into smaller teams and have them complete against each other). Small prizes such as scratch – off tickets, hi5’s Imagine the Possibilities card, and PTO work well to keep the team engaged and motivated.
- Celebrations. I would not be a true Baudvillian if I did not bring up celebrations and recognition moments. They don’t happen all of the time, but when they do you have to make sure that you take advantage of those opportunities to say “Great Job” or “Thank You”. During the holidays or other important times of the year, take the team out for a team lunch or team dinner. Great times can be had and great memories made together as a team.
- Finally – do something, just because! I love to pick a random Friday where I offer to buy pizza or something else for lunch. My sales team seems to love Thai food, so every once in a while I will tell someone “You Fly, I’ll Buy” and cover the cost. Once the food gets here we all eat together– great time to come together and have a relaxed lunch as a team. Surprise your team with donuts or morning treats – increases morale and starts the day off the right way!