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People may think identifying demotivation or loss of inspiration is easy. But being a Top Motivational Speaker in India has taught me that it is not. Because the symptoms of demotivation are not always a sad & depressed face. We often mask our lesser inspirations into portrayals that could be dicey.
If we take the workplace into picture, how do you identify these crucial signs? I have had the opportunity to talk to some of the brilliant sales teams of top corporates in India & by God’s grace, could understand the people in this tough much profession with a little more depth. Let me share you with what I think could be 5 signs of a demotivated sales force:
1. They will be demotivating other employees
I got fired from my first two jobs for demotivating others. Surely, they did a very good job of identifying demotivated employee! I never had any love for that job.
It is true. A demotivated salesperson will spread negativity all around him/her. Their lack of interest in their own targets breeds discontent in them, which leads to frustration. Has to come out somewhere and on someone. But they will also need to not make it apparent to their colleagues that they are not quite enjoying their work because – you know – office politics.
So, they wrap it up nicely under contempt for their bosses and targets, negativity for life in general and their job in particular. Demotivation is a package. Comes with disregard for positivity and a need to spread it around. A demotivated salesperson may think he/she is sharing his/her woes with fellow colleagues. But, we become who we surround ourselves with. This constant small dose of demotivation slowly starts percolating down to others as well.
2. Loss of Productivity
This is an easy one. But then, how do you measure / recognize? It is not just the input output ratio that one needs to look at.
Of course you look at the output. But more importantly, you need to look at the trend of the output over the last couple of weeks / months / whatever your timeline is. If it has been consistently dropping for reasons which are external to the situations at the workplace, it is a sure fire sign of demotivation.
It also brings with itself, loss of efficiency. If you could find a way to map the efficiencies of your salesforce, you would know that targets are not the only answer. How much they accomplish in day (vis a vis how much they used to earlier), how are they utilizing their available resources and taking decisions – has the quality of decisions taken a set back? Do you not find them stellar enough these days? Does it feel like they are slipping towards the ordinary more?
If yes, they are probably demotivated.
3. No visible sign of fun
Sales is a tough job. Those who excel at it, achieve that excellence after much effort, sacrifices, and hard work. At one point, it takes a toll on people too. Only those who truly love this profile, can actually manage to stay happy and find a way to enjoy despite all the toil and turmoil.
So, if your sales team is really gloomy and sad and there is no laughter that you can hear from cabins, it may be an indicator that the collective morale is down. How do you sense vibes around people? Our state of mind transforms into energies which become the aura around us. A negative state of mind can bring out a positive aura only when you are dealing with someone who excels in acting skills. For the rest of us, faking is the only option. And not all of us are good fakers.
Your sales people may have the ability to plaster a huge smile when they go for cold calling or client meets. But in their natural setting, if they are not cheerful and happy, something is bothering them and they are definitely not motivated enough.
In fact, Richard Branson had this policy that when someone calls a Virgin office, the caller should be able to hear raging laughter from behind because he knew and so should all those concerned – only happy people are more successful!
Now this one was easy
Absenteeism and frequent employee turnover is one of the most common symptoms of a demotivated workforce. If a considerable / noticeable number of your employees have left you within an average tenure of 3months – 2 years, it is a sure sign of they not being satisfied and moving on.
Now, it is quite common for people to keep shifting jobs. But, you need to ensure that they don’t leave because of something wrong being done on your behalf. One way of knowing & improving is – Exit interviews. This may be tedious but a lot of HR managers do get these exit interviews from people who are serving a notice period to understand what went wrong from their side. So that mistakes don’t get repeated often.
One cannot really stop employees from not coming to work. But it becomes your duty as a manager to make them really want to come. The daily part of the salary shouldn’t be the only motivator. Because slowly, that will surely lead to demotivation. They should be given more to look forward to, that makes them feel valuable and relevant to your organization.
Don’t just crib as to why your employees are not turning up. Get to the roots. And then uproot if it’s a bad sapling!
5. Not wanting to Improve
I will put it the other way. A motivated employee will really want to improve his/her skills without you pushing them for trainings. They will look for ways to learn new things and gather new concepts / ways to do their old jobs. They will know how to fight the quite inevitable monotonies by becoming better themselves – and by bringing in new challenges as a part of keeping it alive.
On the other hand, for a demotivated employee, it will be a chore, a boss’s order – to attend any webinar, workshop, training program etc. They will crib about having to waste their time on stupid sessions, on how useless they are and blah blah without any obvious, automatic improvements in their performance.
These are just 5 signs that I have observed over the years as I have interacted with different strata and managerial levels of workforces. There are many more, each relevant differently and in different extremities according to their contexts.
I would say, do not let this seep in, for as long as you can. Of course, you can’t keep everyone happy. People have complains even with the Almighty God. We are mere mortals. But, a little care and observation could do you a lot of good. As the saying goes, “A stitch in time, saves nine.”
Let me know if you have any other symptoms that are obvious yet we miss out on them. Would love to share it with people in dire need of the same!