Most employees generally end up in one of these three categories.
If you are fortunate to have some engaged team members (and we’re not talking diamonds, here!), then you can still help them to blossom even more. Plus, if you empower them to do so, they can play an active role in motivating the rest of the team. As for the actively disengaged, I address them in my Employee Attraction and Retention System.
That leaves the bulk of most teams—the disengaged ones, who are more or less just doing the minimum to collect their paycheck and leave work each day with enough energy to attend to their personal lives.
Of course, this is a continuum, and these employees may perform better at times, then slip back into disengagement. What follows are some ideas to motivate and turn these potentially valuable team members around. When you consider the investment you already have in each of these employees, it’s a no-brainer to put some effort into salvaging these people.
It can’t always be about you
Ouch! As entrepreneurs we are self-focused. Our businesses are reflections of us. It’s always been about us—or us and our clients. This idea requires you to rethink that. There are times when you simply need to put your employees first.
Your team is looking to you for motivation and to offer them a positive, nurturing environment where career development and ongoing learning are entrenched in the culture of your business over and above additional cash sweeteners. As business owners we’re often squeezed between being pro-employee and wanting to make things better for them, and our mangers above us, who are constantly comparing us with our competition.
Management doesn’t always understand the need to be team-focused, but you need to be a crusader for your team. And while we’re on the subject of interacting with corporate on these issues, here is something else to consider. Positions in insurance agencies have become more and more demanding, and we need talented, committed people to fill these positions. What are we doing at the agent and corporate level to make careers in our agencies appealing to the kind of people we need to attract in order to be successful?
As a crusader you need to demonstrate that you are on their side and that you’ll advocate within your company for things that will make their lives easier. Be willing to contact your management if necessary to see if there aren’t ways to streamline the multiplicity of tasks that come our way.
One agent I know pointed out to his management team that they were inundating him with emails on a daily basis and distracting his team from the business of making money. The managers soon got his point, reorganized their approach and now only send emails to him and his team once a week—and short ones at that. That was a victory for everyone.
Your team also needs to believe you when you say you’re committed to positive change. This may surprise you: the number one concern of employees who have attended my workshops is that their boss won’t follow through on all the good ideas that were discussed.