As we get used to working in a Covid19 world, many things have changed and are changing.
Pretty much everybody is working from home, (or have been furloughed) and are starting to get over the shock of daily video conference calls. It won’t be long before the jokes about conference calling on social media will subside and video calls will be come as common as the daily commute was before coronavirus.
Some things haven’t changed, I’m still scared of losing both my elderly parents, the number of deaths registered on the news is terrifying and the fact that some salespeople and marketers are still selling and marketing with the lack of empathy to this new situation. Our employees, our prospects, our customers our channel partners will have country issues, company issues and family issues. We need to be cognisant that now might not be the right time and that people have far bigger priorities. One partner of mine that is pan-european is needing to deal with each different set of country employee rules and requirements as they work with their pan-european customers and workforce. And they have a big office culture, which is now remote. People need time to adjust.
We are getting used to selling and marketing in the “new normal”, but what about leading a remote team?
We need to find ways to allow us to manage our managers, our workforce and as well as our channel. Here at DLA Ignite we have a channel and they are business in their own right. There are two rules now that there are no face-to-face meetings is the need for virtual connectivity and virtual management.
We have to understand that different companies are in a different space, DLA Ignite have never had an office and have always worked remotely, where as some inside sales teams have always been wanted to go into an office and the culture is divert from the office.
So how is is that we need to make sure that we retain a feeling of connection?
The first thing you can do is provide people with a sense of community and these things need to be team related not work related, for example:-
Virtual coffee breaks
Virtual lunch (why not give employees an Ubereats / Deliveroo voucher?)
Virtual band hour
Here at DLA Ignite, this is difficult as we are a global organisation and if we run this at UK or US time, then people in Asia feel left out. So please make sure you take time zones into account.
Many people run “check-ins” first thing in the morning, I think this is more about managers wanting control and to make sure employees are at their desks. Personally, I see that as an employer that does not trust it’s staff, but that’s down to your own management and leadership style. Management and leadership being two, very different things.
Don’t forget your channel and partners. These are small businesses in their own right, they have people and cash flow and if you have a channel you need to look after well now, so that when the upturn comes, you will be able to rely on it to scale.
As a business you also need to be innovative, you need to look at everything you do now and re-evaluate it and think “can this be done better in a Covid19 world?” As we go through the current times you need to think “what are we learning?” and what is it we can do to offer our employees a better work experience. There are some things that will change forever.
Is having everybody in the office old thinking?
Do we need global sales kick offs? Maybe, rather than once a year, we do them by region and more often?
Looking at the communication normals. Are there way we can change the frequency, content and style. In these times, do we need to be more humble.
Should we be selling or marketing differently? What about using social media strategically, rather than tactically and using a methodology to sell on social. Better still, getting an independent third party in to help you, so not distracting the current resources.
If you have furlough staff, you should of course make sure you invest in them and carry on giving them a sense of purpose. The UK rules allows a business to offer furlough staff online training without impacting the Government payment. This might be something to look at as you want these people to be ready for the “new normal” when it arrives. It would also help you to be stronger and fitter when the restrictions are lifted.
Sales leaders around the world have been adjusting to working from home while attempting to maintain a team-oriented environment. However, leading a virtual workforce eliminates the face-to-face interactions that so many businesses have relied on. How do you sustain personal connections and community, especially in large, global organizations?