Over the past 20 months, sales and marketing leaders have aimed to provide greater support to help their teams avoid burnout with tactics like encouraging half-day Fridays and providing access to meditation apps. However, despite their best efforts, sales leaders are still seeing gaps, with 83% of employees reporting they feel emotionally drained from their work in 2021. In our high-pressure sales roles, now is the time to double down on the topic of well-being in the workplace to ensure the happiness of our sales professionals as well as our organizations’ future success.
If we truly want to support our sales and marketing teams, many leaders will need to reconsider the way they think about the topic. Here are four ways I’m thinking about prioritizing mental health within my teams as the sales leader at Vyond (a Certified Great Place to Work®).
Set Goals Outside of Sales and Marketing Targets
As we all know, sales is all about hitting your targets is often translated into quantitative measures. What if sales managers used this same level of thinking and started to apply similar measures of success to elements like taking PTO? For example, leaders can set a benchmark for their team and say, “I logged off an hour earlier than usual four times this month and used that time to take a walk,” or “By Q3, I will have used at least 60% of my allotted PTO.” Having a leader steer these types of discussions with their employees can help employees feel better about taking time off.
Leaders can even choose to give out prizes or incentives to employees who are reaching their goals. After all, setting measurable, achievable targets will give your teams a guiding benchmark to help prioritize their mental health in a language we all understand: goal setting.
Lead By Example
Sales leaders know it’s not about talking the talk, but rather walking the walk. If you want your teams to prioritize their mental health, it will be up to you to model this behavior. The consequences of not doing so can be serious, as data from the American Psychological Association’s 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey showed in organizations where employees do not view leadership as committed to their well-being, only 17% would recommend the company as a good place to work.
Setting an example as a leader is key, so it’s important for your team to see you taking time away from work to disconnect. Some examples could include setting an automatic internal reply that notes you’re taking an early afternoon for some much-needed R&R or taking a mental health day.
Here at Vyond, we’ve had some great conversations about using fun GIFs or videos (like a moving image of someone kicking back with a glass of wine) into their OOO messages to create authentic, less formal connections that are meant to normalize our shared need for mental hygiene.
Invest in Wellness Training
The strongest teams are those that are given the tools and technologies needed to succeed from the very beginning and sales leaders know just how critical investments in the right training can be.
We’ll often supply our teams with sales skills training, and once in a blue moon, we’ll share a wellness-related resource. Lately, I’ve been thinking about whether there is a way to incorporate wellness into existing sales training. It could be as simple as inserting a tip about taking breaks in long stretches of outreach calls or checking in with yourself every morning about how you’re feeling and what your objectives for the day are. The more we integrate the wellness conversation within our regular day-to-day, the better.
Recognize That Feedback Is a Two-Way Street
There is always room for improvement. In order to make sure your teams feel engaged and supported, it is critical for leaders to provide ongoing “temperature checks ” to fully assess how their teams are feeling and responding to their initiatives in real time. Leaders can do this through anonymous surveys, hosting monthly town halls, or even planning 1×1 regular check-ins with each team member. It’s important to keep in mind that one solution is not a fix for all scenarios, and leaders will need to take a multi-layered approach to communicating self-care among their teams.
Our work world is changing, and so must our conversations on promoting self-care and employee engagement among our teams. It will be up to us as sales leaders to define the standard for a better, more supportive future for employees that encompasses mental health needs to ensure both employee and organization success.