3 Surefire Ways to Discourage Employees (And Sales)

By: Julie Crisara

As the manager of employees in the contracting industry, you have a lot of control over your people. And I don’t just mean technically, on paper, according to the company’s organizational chart, but rather in everyday ways, psychologically and behaviorally. You can have a huge effect on your contracting sales people and field service reps just by the way that you act and the things that you say to them on a regular basis. You can encourage them or discourage them. If you discourage them, expect a decrease in morale, revenues and company reputation. How would you go about discouraging your employees? Here are the 3 most effective ways.

Employees on the front lines (those in-the-trenches sales people and service reps in the field) need support and encouragement to stay motivated in their job. They have to create relationships, make happy customers and maintain a base of clients that stays for the long haul. So, if you fail to offer the support, understanding and resources they need in these few fundamental areas, you will guarantee a slow (or speedy) descent into a failing business.

SEE FACELESS BLOBS, NOT DISTINCT GENERATIONS

Treat all your employees exactly the same, regardless of their age or generational cohort. Disregard the differences, among your staff, between the World War II “Greatest” generation, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and Millennials. Treat them all generically. Do not interact and coach them based upon the fact that the WWII generation generally responds to authority, Boomers look for meaning in their work, Gen X is self-reliant and seeks life balance and Gen Y looks to be recognized for their exertion.

Throw away the knowledge that everyone’s belief system is nearly solidified by the time they turn 14. Likewise, ignore the expert advice to look at the major events that occurred during the formative years of each generation for guidance in empathizing with their fears, yearnings and aspirations.

MAKE IT ABOUT MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!

2.) Act in every situation as if money is the absolute motivation behind everything your employees think, do and feel. Assume that everyone is driven primarily by a lust for financial wealth at the expense of everything else. Approach your contracting sales people and field service reps based on the assumption that any other issue or problem they have can be solved by money. They are willing to suppress any negative feelings of their work, interactions or quality of life, if you just put more money in their bank accounts.

Disregard this simple fact: If you sit employees down and offer them 4 words- money, lifestyle, recognition and challenge- and ask them to rank the words in terms of personal importance, 90% will NOT put ‘money’ in the #1 slot.

So treat your employees as two-dimensional, money-hungry buzzards instead of as the complex, variously motivated human beings that they are.

TREAT THE INNER PERSON WITH SURFACE SOLUTIONS

3.) Approach all of your home contracting business employees as if they are solely animated by extrinsic– outside of themselves- motivations. As opposed to intrinsic motivations, which are reasons connected to feelings of doing something valid and worthwhile, being good at their job, or gaining recognition for helping people.

Keep on throwing external rewards at your contracting sales people and service reps- you know, all those goodies that keep people salivating and running, the same way as when you toss milk bones to a dog. Toss ’em a small cash bonus here, a vacation getaway there, a plate of Buffalo wings here, a Target gift card there. Assume that they live to accumulate things and stuff, and not to have feelings of peace, balance, self-worth, altruism, recognition, usefulness, expertise and integrity.

Don’t make an effort to really get to know you employees in a personal, multi-dimensional way. Don’t find out their strengths, personal values, goals and long term vision. Treat them like mannequins with moving parts and a microchip processor. Don’t appreciate or play off the things which really matter to them, in encouraging, training and motivating them in their job.

Don’t unlock your employees’ passions by figuring out what they really want, besides money, and then offering it to them in order to spur their achievement. Don’t figure out which sales person may want more time independence through telecommuting so they can spend more time with their kids. Or which field service rep may want bigger, more challenging repair and installation projects. Or which worker wants to collaborate on projects more, or which one wants to be the subject of an article in the company newsletter.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Overall, don’t listen in on your employees’ conversations to see what they care about and definitely don’t schedule some one-on-one talking time with each of them in order to praise them for what they’re doing right and to ask a bunch of questions to find out what’s on their minds and where they’re coming from. In order to almost guarantee that you’ll have discouraged employees in your contracting business, treat all your sales and service reps as exactly the same, one-size-fits-all, and do not find out their values- what makes them “tick”- in order to create a work environment that rewards them in the areas that are most personally meaningful. You do these simple things and watch your employees- and yourself- become a lot more discouraged and unhappy!

To learn more tips on what you should and shouldn’t do to help your team succeed, sign up for a membership at www.contractorselling.com. Our individual coaching plans start at just $89/month. Can you imagine having a business coach for your contracting business at that price? View our plans at http://www.contractorselling.com/public/department150.cfm.

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