So the world is a pretty crazy place right now. We are indeed in the middle of a National Emergency and the priority has to be to protect the NHS and save lives. Business and economy will have to recover another day, and it will.
However, I think it is important in these difficult economic times for us all to hang on to positives, look for things to shout about and celebrate successes.
Here at Andrew James we focus on two main sectors, B2B sales and HR recruitment.
I am seeing amazing things happening by individuals and employers in both environments and here are a few examples of tings to celebrate.
Within Sales, I have seen lots of environments need to embrace the new way of working. I have witnessed first-hand Sales Directors and employers of Salespeople be forced for the first time to allow and enable their teams to work remotely. For many, this has been game changing and eye opening. Whilst many support flexible and home working, some clients have confessed that they were sceptical and fundamentally didn’t believe that people would be productive at home. The vast majority of these have now changed their views as they have seen how productive, creative and engaged their teams can be from home. My view is that these teams might enjoy more flexible working after COVID-19 and for businesses that use this time to adjust to flexible working, and choose to continue to embrace it moving forward, it will help them to hire the best talent in the future as it is not secret that in today’s world, having flexibility around working hours is a huge incentive.
Furthermore, many are reporting an increase in their perceived togetherness and closeness as a team. Even when they are not physically seeing each other, sales leaders, teammates and colleagues are engaging with their compatriots via technology and seeing each other in their home environments. They are learning things about each other and building a togetherness that they have not seen before. With the presence of a common enemy, people are uniting to work towards a common goal and do what they can.
Of course, this also applies to their sales cycles. Sales professionals are engaging with their customers in a more remote way, enjoying the same benefits of remote insight and relationship building. Many have also developed new processes and systems that enable them to define and close deals remotely. The potential productivity improvements in doing this once we have navigated this crisis are obvious.
In the HR marketplace, I have spoken to many burdened with the huge task of managing un-precedented, and difficult decisions, trying to balance the needs of a business with the welfare of their staff. Many are doing all they can to support employees, working exceptionally hard to ensure goals are achieved in the best possible way. I have heard of new processes and procedures being implemented robustly but quickly, all of which will undoubtedly benefit in the long term; many have now practised and successfully used remote interviewing protocols, hiring in a short space of time with the same confidence in decision making as would be the case from a face to face process. Will we see video interviewing used more commonly in the future at early stages, resulting in a quicker hiring process overall? Potentially in certain circumstances or at least as part of an overall model.
I have also seen HR professionals quickly roll out new online induction programmes, and appraisal systems, enabling staff to start, be inducted, feel engaged and be managed remotely, pioneering new ways of working that could benefit businesses in the future.
In writing this article, the point I make is not to detract from what is without doubt a crisis both from a perspective of humanity and the economy. Speaking solely about the workplace, many have lost their roles; others are missing interaction with their colleagues; some are missing purpose having been furloughed and of course those that are seeking employment will be finding it much harder as businesses strive to survive and achieve their corporate goals. Our priority must be to look after one another socially, financially, logistically and psychologically. But, when we get through this and we will, I believe there are already signs that the workplace will have evolved and developed new processes and behaviours that will benefit us all.
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