The day in and day out of work can take a toll on us all. And when that happens, we check out. A Dale Carnegie study found that as many as 45 percent of the workforce is not engaged and another quarter are actively disengaged. Yikes!
Whether you have a team of employees running your agency, or a team of one, keeping engaged and appreciated is key to your success. Failure to keep engaged and appreciated can result in your employees looking for greener pastures—or even yourself looking to bail on the industry. As Jack Torrance said in he Shining—all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Be sure to reward those who work for you…even if it is only you. And remember, it does not need to be extravagant. The results will pay dividends.
Here are seven simple, inexpensive ways to keep motivated and engaged.
How many milestones do you check off in a year? Think about it for a minute. Now celebrate them. Birthday. Anniversary. Sales Goals. Preferred supplier levels. Cutting expenses. Thirty days of no swearing. No matter what it is; no mater how small—celebrate it. Make a certificate and hang it on the wall or put it in a folder. Easy.
2. Encourage learning
For as long as I have known him, Mike Batt has always said, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” And it is true. People thrive on intellectual stimulation and growth. Our industry is rife with opportunities. TRO is launching a new program called Travel Professional Academy. Suppliers have endless opportunities. Host agencies do as well. Find them and develop a curriculum for you and your team for the year!
3. Employees are people too
This tip is geared to those owners with employees. No one likes to be treated as a number. Remember your team is a lot more than just worker-bees. They have interests, families, struggles and successes outside of the office. Take an interest in them and reap the rewards. Employees who feel cared for by employers are 1.3 times as likely to stay with the company and are 67 percent more engaged.
4. Be there
You’re busy, I get it. But it is important to “be there.” For employees, for family, for suppliers, and for yourself. I remember in the aftermath of 9-11, I was so focused on keeping the ship afloat, that I was not present for my team. A lot slipped through the cracks—most notably morale.
5. Ditch poor performers
Ouch! Harsh! Well, it is not just about employees, but suppliers and procedures as well. You are in business to make money. You need to look at anything that takes away from that with a critical eye. If you have a “negative Nelly” employee, let them go. If you have a supplier where they will not stand by their product or pay you a fair commission—let them go. If you have some procedures that are in place that are costing money—let them go and change them.
My last two suggestions are indeed focused on agencies with employees or a stable of independent contractors.
Competition is good. It brings people together for a common goal as well as for individual goals and recognitions. Contests like sales contests, can certainly happen, but look outside the office. Close down for an afternoon and see who can get out of an escape rooms the fastest. Who handles a ropes course with the most ease. Think out of the box!
And finally. Yes, this one will cost you. Pay for performance. Certainly raises and bonuses are great—cash is king. And yes, reward yourself as well. If you do not have the budget, look at other less costly ways—additional vacation days, a FAM with a few days vacation tacked on the end, maybe a gift card to a local restaurant so a family can have an enjoyable meal out. Be creative and reap the rewards.
How do you keep yourself and your employees motivated and engaged? Share your tips in a comment and we’ll put them together in a future column.