Pharmaceutical sales organizations are extremely diverse and have multiple generations represented in them – from baby boomers (born 1946-1964) to Generation X (born 1965-1980) to millennials (born 1981-2000). There are big differences between the generations, including different expectations and preferences when it comes to how they communicate, how they want to be managed, what they are looking for in a job, and how they approach their work. There are also things that the generations have in common.
As a leader, it’s important to be able to flex your style to meet the needs and expectations of all of your employees.
One of the questions you should ask is: How can I tailor my approach according to generational preferences and help meet individuals’ expectations to ensure an aligned, engaged and productive pharmaceutical sales team.
Try the following four strategies to harness the power of a multigenerational workforce.
1. Celebrate Differences
Having a multigenerational workforce may seem like a challenge, but it can be a major advantage. If you nurture and embrace each group, they will complement, support and reinforce one another, optimizing your sales team’s performance. Explore the following questions to learn more about your team and what makes them tick:
- What generations do my sales team members represent? What things do they seem to have in common and where are there differences?
- Are there existing issues within my pharmaceutical sales team that may be the result of generational differences?
2. Spend Time To Save Time
From training new pharma sales team members, to managing current talent, to improving daily production levels, everything runs more smoothly when you take the time to understand the generations and know your team members on a personal level. Sometimes finding time in your busy day to just have a conversation with a team member can be a challenge. But spending the time regularly can actually save you time in the long run by learning about or dealing with issues sooner rather than later. Ask yourself:
- How can I interact with each pharma sales team member on a consistent basis to get to know them and understand what motivates and inspires them?
- How do members of my team like to communicate? How can I adjust my style to meet their needs?
3. Leverage Your Pharma Sales Team’s Strengths
Every generation and individual has strengths they bring to the team. Typically, a strength has two components – power and passion.
Power refers to ability. Each generation is gifted with certain skills, talents and attributes. Passion refers to energy. It encompasses what motivates, excites and drives people to high level of performance. Too often, we focus exclusively on power and ignore the importance of passion.
Take time to examine your team, searching for where power and passion are exhibited. Explore the following questions:
- How can I leverage generational strengths and create opportunities for their power and passion to be leveraged more frequently?
- How can I educate team members to appreciate and learn from one another’s strengths?
4. Show Respect
Regardless of generation, everyone on your pharma sales team responds positively to respect. This is one thing that the generations do share in common. We all want to be respected, period. As an organizational leader, you constantly demonstrate respect through your behaviors and actions.
Start by reflecting:
- How do I demonstrate respect for my pharma sales team?
- How often do I give recognition to employees? What methods do I use?
By asking yourself and members of your pharmaceutical sales team provocative questions and embracing the answers, you’ll start harnessing the power of a multigenerational workforce. As you increase your knowledge base and become more sensitive to generational characteristics, you will find engagement and productivity soaring.
Bottom line: Seize the opportunity to capitalize on both the differences and similarities within your multigenerational workforce. Getting to know your individual team members and celebrating their differences will help ensure that your team is integrated, aligned and high-performing.
Want to learn more about generational differences, preferences, strengths and gaps? Download the free whitepaper, The “Greatest Generation” – All Of Them now.