Key Takeaways

  • Helping your Millennial sales force be the best version of themselves means understanding their experiences and priorities.
  • When you reinforce strengths, maximize engagement and then (shocking) stay out of their way, great things can happen.
  • Uncover these 5 ways to really, truly empower your team.

While this blog title needed the millennial reference, if you’ve followed this blog for awhile you know I’ve made a conscious effort not to say the word Millennial anymore and here’s why. Back to the story …

It’s likely that Gen-Y –the generation that ranges in age from 19 to 34 years of age- make up the bulk of your workforce. Helping them to be their best means understanding their experiences and priorities.

Empowering these team members is primarily a matter of reinforcing their strengths, maximizing engagement, and then staying out of their way.

Just remember that one size doesn’t fit all.

Here are some ways to bring out the best in your Gen-Y sales force:

1. Get rid of cumbersome bureaucracy

Facilitate performance by removing unnecessary bureaucratic snarls and redundant tasks. These disrupt the workflow and fuel frustration. Keep in mind that the priorities of the sales staff may differ from those of management.

A recent report highlights the fact that there can be significant differences there. While CSOs are most focused on capturing new accounts, improving sales effectiveness and increasing penetration in existing accounts, their team members are likely most interested in building long-term relationships with customers. The research shows that their main goals involve “improving customer satisfaction and loyalty and improving sales effectiveness as they move to a more collaborative, team-based and influence-centric selling approach.”

Based on this information, it makes sense to clear unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles and empower sales teams to meet their goals.

2. Community involvement

A big part of company culture is how the firm relates to the surrounding community. Gen-Y members place great importance on social responsibility and making a contribution to the community. Companies that incorporate philanthropy and opportunities for community involvement give their team a greater feeling of shared purpose and belonging.

Opportunities to participate in local organizations and events are also a way to improve the company’s standing and reputation in the community, as well as expand professional networks.

And, this is a good thing! It’s nice to “disconnect” once in awhile, put the cell phone in our pocket,  and make real eye-to-eye contact with people.

3. Nurture competitive spirit through “gamification”

No matter what the position, all jobs require some tasks that can be dull or repetitive. Those are custom-made for gamification, which injects an element of competition and fun. It’s defined as the application of game-design elements, competitions, and leaderboards to motivate behavior. This approach appeals to a lot of workers and has been proven to increase productivity. It leads to increases in things like mentorship and open communication about best practices.

I recently learned a lot about gamification in the men’s bathroom ….

4. Create a safe environment for risk

Few things damage worker empowerment more than micromanagement. Restrictive policies can handicap creativity and drag down morale and motivation.

Workers respond to an environment that encourages them to try new approaches and ideas. Management can create that by allowing people to do their work and explore possibilities, even if it may result in mistakes. These are opportunities for growth and without them progress is stymied.

5. Support the team members’ professional development

One important element for job satisfaction in today’s workforce is the opportunity for development and advancement in the profession.  A company that provides opportunities for continuous learning increases its team’s feelings of empowerment.  It shows that management takes an interest in the employee as a whole person, and a valuable asset worth developing.

Empowering your sales team starts with a company culture that matches their priorities and goals. By encouraging their development and providing opportunities for meaningful work, we can boost motivation, ensure retention, and create a dynamic, stimulating work environment.

Putting it in Perspective

In the end, it comes down to treating people like people. Whether you’re removing bureaucracy or having some face-time over a company luncheon —magic will happen when we remove the barriers that prevent us from making personal connections with those around us. In work, and in life.