Late American football player and coach, Bud Wilkinson once said: “Morale and attitude are fundamentals to success.” We think he was right on the money. Those words are as true on the field as they are in the office.
Morale is especially important when it comes to team work, particularly in high-pressure environments like business development, bid and proposal teams. In fact, Gallup research showed that the behavior of highly engaged teams resulted in 21% greater profitability.
In our 4th annual proposal survey, in which we gathered responses from more than 400 professionals in 26 industries around the world, we learned that 48% of respondents work in teams of 5 or fewer members.
Where morale is high, respondents said that these are the main reasons:
- Their team – 25% of respondents
- Their manager – 14% of respondents
- The company – 11% of respondents
- The support they receive – 10% of respondents
We also heard from Zena De Kasha from Insight, and Nora Navin from Baker McKenzie who joined our survey results webinar. They helped us interpret the results and shared insight into the trends and challenges faced by proposal teams.
Using this feedback, we’ve listed a few ways that you can improve and maintain morale even when the pressure is on.
- Introduce team building activities
Team building exercises away from the office encourage collaboration and enable people to see their teammates through a different lens in a new setting. These activities foster deeper connections and help team members enhance communication, to improve their problem-solving tactics and to resolve conflict effectively.
You could also consider creating community spaces in the office, where employees can network, mingle and destress.
“When you like who you work with and you like who you work for, you stay; you perform and you’re driven,” says Nora.
- Allow a level of flexibility
According to the 2018 State of Flexible Work Arrangements report by Zenefits, 73% of employees felt that flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work. More than that, 78% also reported that flexibility made them more productive. The stats speak for themselves.
You could introduce flexibility to your work structures by allowing remote working, where possible, or by creating casual work spaces where employees might feel more relaxed and inspired.
“Community work spaces create a better sense of comradery. Some of the trends [like remote working] we see in the workforce at large contribute to higher morale,” adds Nora.
- Invest in your employees’ growth (and wellbeing)
40% of our proposal survey respondents said that they feel they have a clear career path and 42% report that employee churn is low. These statistics show a level of loyalty from bid and proposal professionals.
Show your employees that you appreciate their commitment; that you’re willing to invest in growing their skills and nurturing their talent. Research has shown that employees are motivated by far more than external rewards like money.
One way that you can foster intrinsic motivation is by allowing employees to take on internal gigs, pairing them up with mentors or signing them up for e-learning (or other) courses that interest them. It’s also important for them to know that you support their general wellbeing. This has a direct impact on their work, after all.
“Great feedback from my team on how to deal with the stress of managing proposals is not to forget to take care of yourself. I admire the fact that my team makes the time to exercise, to go grab a coffee with a teammate or enjoy lunch with a friend or peers,” shares Zena.
- Let them know that you have their backs
Team members rely on their team leaders or managers to steer them in the right direction, to create a sense of collaboration and – in the appropriate circumstances and when necessary – to speak up for them. Inevitably, there will be times where you need to answer for your team’s work, actions or decisions.
When those moments arise, standing up for your team members will no doubt reinforce a sense of trust and loyalty. Keeping communication channels open is also essential for good team morale.
- Invest in software that improves processes (and helps you win!)
It’s a great feeling when processes run smoothly, team members are able to collaborate effectively, and projects are completed in good time. It’s even better when your team wins! All of this can be achieved with software – like our proposal software – that enables your team to create pitches, proposals and RFP responses without hassle.
“We use Qorus for proposals, sales documents and contracts,” says Zena. “This simplifies multiple processes and adds great value to the business.”
Qorus software plugs into Microsoft Office and allows you to automatically pull data stored in your CRM or CMS. You can create business rules to personalize your document by client, region, industry and product. You can also invite SMEs to collaborate on Word and PowerPoint documents in real time, getting you closer to meeting your deadline.
Ready, set, go – success is yours to grab!