In-market, tour, and regional managers; and team leads, if you’ve been in the field for a length of time you know keeping morale high and your team committed to an overall goal or program can be tough.
Speaking from experience, when I manage in-market programs and tours that are longer than three months, the ability to keep a team dialed-in has been an ongoing challenge. Studies show that once individuals adapt to a new environment they have the potential to become complacent. I have been guilty of this myself, however, when you work in the Experiential Marketing industry, you have to be ready for surprises and change to occur daily.
Here’s how to keep your team on their toes:
Exhibit a high level of positivity and energy around your team.
As a manager, you are responsible for ensuring that your team loves their job and expresses that pride to consumers. I have experienced, on various tours, that midway through an event, team morale tends to drop. The tour staff starts to take less initiative to ensure that all aspects of the tour are well executed. If this happens, it must be averted.
A low-morale tour team will go through the motions but pay less attention to detail. As a result, the overall consumer experience will suffer. In other words, your team stops caring. To avoid this, it is important to be an example of what you want your team to embody. If you notice someone who has lost their enthusiasm for the program, pull them to the side and have a private talk with them to address any issues. They could be sick, fighting with another team member, or simply burnt out; do your best to address the problems your staff member is struggling with.
Incorporate team-building activities.
Whether is go-karting, paintball, movies, or a weekly team dinner, spending time together as a team outside of event days is a great way to keep morale high and build team camaraderie. This will encourage everyone to put their best foot forward. Share with your agency or client the importance of team morale and secure a budget for once a week activities on longer tours.
Be transparent and have event goals.
Whether you are executing a one-day event or an eight-month tour, it is always important to be transparent as the manager. Communicate your expectations and the goals to every member of your team. It is also important that you set goals each week and revisit what you expect from your team in regular meetings. This will keep everyone on track and provide the team with a way to measure their progress.
Engage in friendly competition.
EXPs like contests and competitions. Whether it is to see who can engage with the most consumers or who can finish or find a solution to a difficult task, creating an environment where your team feels comfortable being themselves is key. I have worked with teammates and we have started fantasy football leagues and competed against each other. You won’t believe how much competition and fond memories this has created for me.
As a manager, always lead by example. You can’t expect your team to listen and follow if your actions are not aligned with your words. Part of keeping morale high is also being able to take constructive criticism. Find ways to make your weaknesses into your strengths.
I can attest to the fact that people are more apt to listen and follow directions from someone when open lines of communication have been established. Listen to your team and validate their concerns. Let them know their input is welcomed and they can come to you with anything. And always, always stay humble.