20 July 2024, 17:56
By Andy Preston Jun 26, 2014

Motivating and retaining key members of staff

Sales expert Andy Preston explains that while, given the current economic climate, it can be tempting for employers to look to sharp, quick fixes and cuts as a remedy to their financial challenges, it is actually more important than ever that businesses to take a longer-term view and ensure they retain and motivate their key talent …

In the current market conditions, businesses are having to rely on their key members of staff more than ever. As organisations are downsizing, cutting costs and freezing, hiring the key members of staff is crucial to business success – and even business survival in some cases.

However, what plans do companies have in place to retain, motivate and inspire their key members of staff? Or are many organisations taking those members of staff for granted? 

Who are your key members of staff?

For some people it’s the head of their accounts department or credit control who keeps late-payers in check and the cash flow where it should be. For others it’s the top sales person who outperforms all the rest and brings in large amounts of profit to the organisation. It could also be the head of the admin department, or the office manager, who keeps things running smoothly for your establishment.

They are the people who have been working harder than most for a long time. The people who put in additional hours when necessary, without question. The people you can leave to handle situations when you’re away from the office. The people who you can rely on to give you an honest assessment of the establishment and what’s going on.

How can we identify the key players?

As the market gets tougher, the key players in your team might well be different than the key players in the past. So how do we identify the key players now, as well as the likely key players in the future? 

As businesses re-engineer themselves and their offering in the current market, it means that the key players may need to change, or certainly, adapt. Are your team on board with the changes? How do they feel about it? Can you rely on them to deliver under a new structure?

Motivating and leading the team

People need leadership more than ever before. As a leader, people will look to you for direction, motivation and inspiration. If you’re implementing any changes in the business, you need the buy-in of your staff members – and particularly your key players – for the changes to succeed and stick.

“You need to sit down with the key players and staff members and get their buy-in to the new process. Failure to undertake this critical step properly could lead to people sabotaging the project, or stiff resistance at the very least”

You need to sit down with the key players and staff members and discuss the changes, the reasons why changes have to be made and what you’re trying to achieve, and get their buy-in to the new proposed process. Failure to undertake this critical step properly could lead to people sabotaging the project, or stiff resistance at the very least.

Setting up and managing the perfect team

So, what does a perfect team look like? What is it made up of – particularly one designed for success in the current market conditions?

Right now you need people who are proactive, who will do things without you having to prompt them or stand over them to make sure they happen. You need people who are determined to make things happen and see things through. You need people who are on your side, who you can rely on to perform, no matter how adverse the conditions.

Nowhere is this more important than your sales team. Your sales team are always an important part of your business, but now they’re more important than ever. They have a direct influence on your profits and the potential survival of your business in the current climate.

Right now, who are the members of your sales team who are regularly demonstrating the traits mentioned above?

Leading UK sales trainer Andy Preston has an extensive history in professional buying, including work with several blue chip companies such as BMW, HSBC and Nissan. This article was published in the June issue of Furniture News magazine.

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