The culture that exists within an organization is as unique as a thumbprint, and once it has been established, it’s difficult to change. In order to develop a culture of loyalty within your sales team, you must create an environment in which people feel a sense of commitment to help the organization achieve its mission. Ultimately, the sense of commitment is founded in trust in the leadership and trust in the company to deliver on it promises.
Loyalty must be extended both ways, and when the company operates in the best interest of its individual contributors, that sense of commitment and dedication will be reciprocated.
Here are 6 ideas to promote a culture of loyalty in your team:
Connect with Individual Sales Team Members
Leaders not only have to be familiar with their team as a unit, but they must also establish an emotional connection with each individual contributor in order to build a culture of loyalty. The larger the organization, the more challenging this is to accomplish, but it’s imperative that reps feel that they are valued on an individual level.
Create an environment that allows you to build personal relationships with each member of your team. When reps feel like they’re more than just a number and they’re confident that leaders have their best interest in mind, they’ll in turn grow loyal to you as a leader, and the organization as a whole.
Create a Rewarding Work Environment
To create an environment of commitment and dedication, start out by hiring people who are the right fit for your company and are aligned with the culture you want to develop. Use a combination of frank conversations and non-cognitive assessments to evaluate the intrinsic motivators and values of a candidate, and with those answers you can figure out whether someone will be truly passionate about what they’re doing. When you know what a member of your team values the most, you’re better equipped to create a work environment that is rewarding, and that in turn will result in a satisfied and loyal employee.
Invest in the personal and professional development of team members, and recognize that each individual defines success differently. Some team members will want to give the company 80 hours a week, while others will want to give you 40 hours of their best effort each week and volunteer 20 hours with a community organization. The key is to enable team members to achieve their own definition of success—as long as it is consistent with the culture you wish to establish and the mission of the organization.
Speaking of numbers, measure what matters. Your team will feel rewarded when leadership invests time in determining the right in-process measurements and end-process measurements.
Emphasize the Importance of the Team Effort
It’s easy to get caught up in individual contributions, but stress the importance of the collective effort to move towards the greater goals of the organization. Rally the team around the corporate mission and vision—whether that’s a sales target or another objective—and foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration.
The communication and behaviors of the leaders need to reinforce the necessity of individual efforts to move the team forward. However, they also need to reinforce that without the work of the entire team, the common goal will never be achieved. It takes more than one strong player to secure a win, and a culture of loyalty is built from a strong team unit, rather than a collection of strong individuals.
Recognize Individual AND Team Achievements
Allowing individual contributors ample opportunity to share in the success of the organization is key to instilling a culture of loyalty. Seize on any chance you get to reward the behaviors and actions that represent the kind of culture you want your team to embody.
Because ego comes into play in any position, leaders must strike a balance between recognizing achievements made by individuals, and the team as a whole. Knowing that their individual efforts will be not only acknowledged but wholeheartedly celebrated encourages team members to share their best strategies with the team, while keeping them motivated to excel personally.
Be Worthy of Loyalty
Leaders must proclaim their commitment to the welfare of the team members. The proclamation can and should take on the full spectrum of communications from the boardroom to town hall meetings and individual coaching sessions. Let’s not forget documents such as values statements, corporate objectives, strategic plans and annual plans.
Lastly, the leadership must model the behaviors expected of the entire team and demonstrate the highest levels of integrity.
Hold Managers Accountable
In large companies there may be several layers of supervision separating the leader from the individual contributor. To instill a culture of loyalty consistently throughout the entire organization, managers at every level must be held accountable to the highest standards of integrity and alignment with the corporate vision and mission. As representatives of the company and the leadership team there must be a top-down system of accountability in place and leaders must exemplify loyalty and integrity in everything they do.
If managers don’t follow through and execute within the framework of the company’s values and ideology, you can’t expect sales reps to adopt a culture of loyalty, either.