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Let Your Sales Reps Sleep on the Job

December 8, 2015

I have asked a lot of people, what does a good company culture look like?  The most common response I receive is: “you know it when you see it”.  Frankly, I think this is a very accurate answer.  However, what is it that we see that makes us respond in this manner?

I think one reason why we may respond in that fashion is all these organizations have something that cannot be tracked, written, or heard.  The best company cultures are felt.  The energy in the room immediately picks up your emotional state to a better one the second you are in the same room.  You see smiling faces and energetic activity towards the task at hand.  No one seems to be just going through the motions and you immediately feel a sense of belonging.  It is that sense which gets those people up every day to go to work, not their alarm clocks.

How do you create that in a sales environment?  It all starts with your leadership.  You could hire “A” players all day and fail with bad company culture.  Sales-driven organizations with excellent company cultures often have sales managers out on the floor with their reps.  These managers are very upbeat, carry a positive disposition, and communicate constantly with their team.  Recognition is at a high and they lead by example.  They are never afraid to get their hands dirty and do not let their title get in the way.  They’ll excuse themselves from a conversation to go introduce themselves to someone they don’t know and find out then if it is a customer, prospect or potential new hire.  They make their employees feel good every day and it may be as simple as never being too uptight.

Take this for example; would you tell your sales reps to take a nap if they felt tired?  Yes, allow them to sleep on the job for a half hour and pay them.  Some studies have actually shown napping increases productivity!  When those employees talk about their organization and reference taking a nap to friends and family, that message is probably delivered in a positive manner.  While most people in life will not work in an environment where “sleeping on the job” is allowed, it is important to recognize the metaphorical message it sends.  It makes that employee feel special, valued, and trusted, a few of the many things that may give them that sense of belonging … being an integral part of a greater whole.

The next time you walk into any organization and the phrase “you know it when you see it” comes to mind about good company culture, pay attention to what is happening.  What is it that you feel and what is it you suppose the employees feel?  What are their actions?  What is different and can any of it be applied to your place of work?  It will take a lot more than allowing naps to create the right culture, but be prepared to get outside conventional corporate comfort zones.