The news is out and it’s not really good. According to Gallup, engagement levels fell from 36% in 2020 to 33% in 2022, and then to 31% in 2023 in the U.S. alone. Lack of employee engagement costs companies a whopping 8.8 trillion across the globe!
So, how can we tackle this ongoing problem and create engaged, happy, and profitable cultures? My suggestion is to apply a healthy dose of the EQ skill reality testing.
The reality is that not EVERY company is a terrible place to work and not EVERY boss is a terrible boss.
The reality is you might be hiring salespeople, people, that don’t have the desire or ability to be engaged. It’s similar to sales. I can’t sell anything to a prospect that isn’t willing, able or committed to purchasing my services. I can’t make a person that’s been a quiet quitter their entire life become an engaged participant of life.
If you desire better engagement at your sales organization, try these two strategies.
Hire engaged salespeople. There appears to be a trend in life and business of outsourcing our own happiness. We expect others to make us happy instead of taking responsibility for our own happiness.
Employees expect the company for which they work to make them happy. So, companies offer perks such as free food, workout facilities, flexible work schedules, training and coaching.
HOWEVER, we still have unhappy and unengaged employees!
Hire salespeople who understand that their happiness and success begin with themselves.
Now, you might be wondering, "How can I identify and hire engaged salespeople?" Take the advice shared with me from a successful CEO. During candidate interviews, he makes a point of asking candidates what they are passionate about. It doesn't matter if their passion lies in work, hobbies, or philanthropy. He was listening to see if the candidate had a passion for something. As he explained to me. “If the candidate doesn’t have a passion about something, there is a very good chance they aren’t going to be passionate about working for my company, regardless of the great working environment.”
Hire passionate people!
Provide the right training for engagement success. Here's where we build on point number one. As you bring new hires on board, ensure they receive the right training for engagement success. This includes training on specific soft skills that improve happiness and engagement success.
Emotion management. This is a vital skill in sales training, sales management training, or emotional intelligence training. We know that if a person can't regulate their emotions, they won't execute the right selling or leadership behaviors.
An individual who can’t regulate emotions often end up in fight or flight conversations with co-workers, their boss, prospects or customers.
No wonder they don’t feel happy or engaged at work. They are always on an emotional roller coaster.
Assertiveness and empathy training. These EQ skills prevent victim and blame thinking. Assertiveness allows you to express your needs effectively and respectfully, avoiding passive-aggressive behaviors or aggressive confrontations. By developing assertiveness and empathy skills, a person can communicate their needs while considering others' perspectives.
For instance, if a salesperson feels the need for more direction or training from their sales manager, it's essential to communicate that need directly and empathetically.
This allows the salesperson to take charge of their learning, which in turn fosters engagement and growth.
Self-regard training. This EQ skill is the one that builds a salespersons inner confidence. It’s the ability to recognize both your strengths and weaknesses. It plays a vital role in seeking feedback, which is essential for personal growth and improvement. Confident salespeople seek out advice, apply the advice without getting defensive. As a result, they grow, improve AND experience increased engagement and enjoyment in their role as a sales professional.
Happiness training. In a world filled with negativity, it's important to educate your employees on habits that cultivate happiness and positivity. Gratitude is number habit that builds the happiness muscle.
A grateful person is not a bitter, angry or unengaged person.
Model gratefulness by starting each group sales meeting with a note of gratitude. This could include thanking another department or fellow member of the sales team. It could be giving thanks for a recent win OR a recent loss where a lesson learned was gained.
Encouraging a grateful mindset create a more harmonious work environment and foster strong relationships which leads to greater employee engagement.
If you want more engagement from your sales team, hire passionate people and then provide the right training. Improved engagement equals improved sales results.