Column by Janine Popick, Inc.com "Girl Power Female CEOs" June 21, 2011
If you have salespeople, you know what they're usually motivated by: cold hard cash. And if they're not, they shouldn't be your salespeople. They might be on the phones, they might be on their feet, they might even be flying from town to town to give dog and pony shows. But what about the rest of your employees, the ones who don't get the extra kicker for selling more of your stuff? The ones who do your bookkeeping or keep your systems going? How can you get these people to 'sell' for you?
Even the most mundane jobs can be fun, so it's time to inject some fun into the jobs of your employees. Why not try having contests around specific tasks your employees need to do? Then reward the winners in a fun way with a gift certificate or an award.
Another idea is to really reward people for going the extra mile. If you've noticed your employee working late or getting more work done than you expect, reward them! Give them a night out on the company. These small things go a long way with people who work for you.
At my email marketing software company VerticalResponse, we believe in empowering our employees to think for themselves and make decisions on their own. It's been proven to go a long way. My motto has always been, 'Do something, even if it's wrong. It's better than doing nothing and never getting anywhere.' And when you empower your employees to solve problems and make decisions, they begin to feel like they're a part of the overall successes and failures of your business.
And finally, recognizing a job well done might even be more important than cold hard cash. So make sure you do this in a public forum to ensure your entire company knows what your definition of a great job really is.
One way to make employees proud of your company is to give them a reason to be. People like to work for award-winning companies, and one great way to show this is to display your Yelp sticker or any award you've received prominently in your workspace so that every time they pass by it's a reminder that they work for a successful business. Also include these awards all over your website and in your marketing materials, so any prospective customers know they're checking out a winning company.
Transparency is also key. As an example, I send out an email to managers in the company after our weekly executive meeting about what was discussed. They decide if it's pertinent to send to their teams. We also send out a monthly company newsletter by department so everyone knows how we're doing with all of our KPIs. The more information people have, the more they feel a part of it.
Employees also like companies that give back to their communities. I know that here at VerticalResponse, one of the things that employees are very proud of is the fact that we have a free email marketing program for non-profit organizations. I bet that each employee has had at least one conversation about us to someone they know in the non-profit world advocating our program. You might even encourage your employees to get their friends to work at your company. If you've got top-notch employees, chances are they're hanging with other folks who would do as good of a job as they do. In my opinion, if they get their friends to work for you, this is the utmost sign that they're advocating your business.
People want to work with customers they like. If your customers are saying nice things about your business, why not let your employees know about it? Post your customer testimonials on your walls or your website, or email your staff when someone has something nice to say about your business on Twitter or Facebook.
At VerticalResponse we host special events and seminars for our customers. We try to get as many employees as we can talk to our customers to find out what really makes them tick. We learn things that customers like and don't like, which in the end helps us be a better company. Our employees often leave energized and wanting to do more for our amazing customers who took time out of their busy day to be with us.
If you've got employees who like what they do and who they do it for, chances are they're already your best salesperson. After all, it's what they spend most of their day doing!