Interview Series, Episode 1: How to Keep Your Team Engaged & Motivated?

September 11, 2019
6 mins read
how to keep your team engaged & motivated_final

Video Transcript

Sean: Hi it's Sean from staff treats.

What are some useful tips you should know to keep your team engaged and motivated? I'm sat with John sergeant who is the founder and director of ThinkVen. He's going to share some interesting insights from his career to date.

So I understand that you've worked in digital media for a very long time, I also know that you've been involved in many different projects that have nothing to do with digital media, tell me about them.

John: Thanks a lot for having me on, and yeah my career certainly taken a couple of twists and turns over the years.

I originally started out as a Formula1 engineer at one point which was a lot of fun for a championship winning team very very many years ago now, and since then I've owned and run a bunch of e-commerce import/export businesses. I've also created and run a number of content marketing and affiliate networks, and on the side, in fact I still do this today, I'm an eSports event host and commentator. 

So I guess you could say I just enjoy following things that I enjoy and I'm passionate about and I just try and make the time to do them and not necessarily have my job as an excuse to not do other things that I like doing.

Sean: I understand that you've worked at so many different places and different kind of work environments what are some of the things that you've noticed about employee engagement managers and employers are not doing so well at the moment.

John: So that's a really interesting question because quite often it depends on your standpoint and where you are in terms of being an organization. 

What I mean by that is from my personal experience and observation you can often get situations where higher-ups in a hierarchy of a large company doesn't really communicate or necessarily even have the passion or the drive that sort of filters down through to the rest of the workforce. 

It's very difficult to see that at times but then individual managers as well often can lack the self motivation and determination to set a good example, and really be for lack of a better phrase like a shining light for the people who report to them to follow, and if you're thinking from the point of view of the starter you're going to be thinking well hang on a second, I've got that in spades absolutely no problem at all. I'm a starter with a team of 3 to 5 people everyone is ultra motivated to get this out the door everyone from top to bottom because frankly it's a small room of people is completely fine in terms of drive, but the challenge is always trying to maintain as much of that as possible, you can never maintain it a hundred percent as an organisation continues to grow. 

If you think about someone who leaves a large business for example it's actually not that often that someone leaves a business because they're terrible at their job, the vast majority of people end up leaving large companies because they don't want to be there anymore. So a big part of that is employee engagement, and a big part of that is making sure that you keep motivation drive determination and passion visible throughout the entire organization.


Sean: So what are some of the top tips you would give to the employers and managers today to help them engage and motivate employees better.

John: So I think from my experience as a manager and director my direct sphere of influence was always very much on the people around me, I was rarely in a position where I could necessarily change the culture in a 5,000 person organization for example, but there's no reason why you can't start with things at home. 

So some of the things I would recommend and I found to have worked well in the past are things like meeting with your team to set up systems and processes that you follow, especially where you're doing something that can revolve around best practice where you can effectively mark each other's homework and get stuck in as well, and I think part of that is for me personally the ability to get stuck in and be involved. 

If a member of my team happens to be struggling at one aspect of their job that's not really a problem, not only is that something I can help them with directly rather than just tell them what they've done wrong. 

There'll be other members of the team because we've all sort of dabbled in each other's areas of strength that we'll be able to assist them as well when they have an area of weakness, so I think getting stuck in is very important and not being afraid to get your hands dirty plays a big big part in that. 

Another thing that I think is very important is setting yourself where possible rewards and sticking to them and it doesn't have to be some sort of amazing hierarchical bonus sort of commission scheme structure, I'm talking about the small things day to day like we have a list of tasks to do on a Friday let's we have a chat in the morning about them, decide who does what.

You know what if we get everything done we're gonna go for a drink at half-past four or something like that, you know the small things that can not only help you get your work done hopefully to a better standard, but also motivate your team provides opportunities for things like team bonding, it doesn't have to be all reflected in sales and Commission and everything is tabulated on a spreadsheet to work out how well you've done. 

Employee engagement and motivation is about how you feel and how you feel can't always be quantified in numbers.


Sean: So if someone from a senior management team from large company wants to ask you, what would be your one piece of advice to give to understand the employee better, what would be your twenty second answer.

John: I would say, look at the areas of the business you understand the least, go to those teams and walk a mile in their shoes. 

That doesn't mean you have to become an accountant or an HR manager, or someone dealing with technical area for the day or for the week. But go out of your way to spend some time with them, try and understand their challenges and maybe the bits of their jobs that they find the most difficult, without proposing any solutions. Just go and experience and listen, and that will naturally help you to understand where you can make improvements better.

 

Written by Sean Xie

Head of Performance Marketing @Staff Treats, founder of @ZelusLondon, a bit Zen

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