When you hear the term “BFF,” the image of young children on a playground likely comes to mind. But consider the implications that accompany this term and how it can positively impact your employees’ day-to-day tasks.
This type of close-knit friendship offers constant support without judgment as well as mentorship through the job’s triumphs and challenges. In medical sales, helping your employees find their work BFFs is critical.
In fact, 54 percent of medical sales reps said team building and collaboration is one of the most important value in employers, according to recent research results featured in our Best Places to Work 2018 report.
In a sales career, however, team building and collaboration is a struggle. With flexible hours, time spent on the road, and reps running in and out of the office, finding a work BFF isn’t easy.
Here’s how you can help your entire team find their work BFFs:
Improve their emotional intelligence
Nobody wants a one-sided friendship. For each working relationship to be successful, both employees need to bring empathy, compassion, and insight to the table. The best way to do this is with strong emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence, the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically, doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some of your employees may simply need to hone their emotional intelligence skills, while others will need a complete crash course.
Help employees develop their emotional intelligence — no matter their current skill level. Set aside team development days and pair reps up for communication exercises. Encourage them to recognize one another’s accomplishments and the specific traits they admire.
Once they open up, have them to dig a bit deeper. Ask each person to also note one flaw, failure, or discouraging moment that has happened to them at work in the last quarter. In return, allow their team member to acknowledge that flaw, giving them the opportunity to practice empathy and encouragement.
As you work through these exercises each month, be sure everyone pairs up with someone new. You never know when one pair will flourish into a lasting friendship.
Encourage work and play
Medical sales is a competitive field. Your employees are all fighting for the top spot on the sales leaderboard, and things can get tense. Ease competitiveness and help your team find their work BFFs by encouraging them to have fun on and off the clock.
With an already high-stress career, your reps would benefit from fun outside of the office. When you add in a companion who understands those stressors, the opportunity for collaboration and a refreshing experience is heightened.
Ask your team to offer-up their weekly schedule in advance. Find reps who will be in a similar territory and surprise them with a fun afternoon activity. Send them to a restaurant, a nearby escape room, rock climbing, or even a museum.
In any of these scenarios, reps will be able to relax, see each other more as friends than colleagues, and potentially connect as BFFs. Continue having your team participate in these surprise events, even after they’ve found their work friend, to help them connect, de-stress, and build on their teamwork skills.
Create a buddy system for new hires
Onboarding is a critical and intimidating time for new medical sales reps. Nobody wants to learn the ropes and find their footing in a demanding sales role by themselves. During onboarding, this vulnerability creates the perfect window for helping new hires find their work BFF from day one.
In this case, a work BFF should be someone who can closely relate to your new hires’ current struggles. You can help them connect with others going through the onboarding process or those who have recently settled into their position.
However, it’s important to remember not everyone will hit it off or remain BFFs for their entire employment — and that’s OK. If you notice tension or a disconnect, lead new hires to another person they might have a deeper connection with for the long-haul.
How do you encourage healthy friendships in the workplace? Let us know!