So, cards on the table, times are hard. It seems almost everyone you speak to is either furloughed or working reduced hours. The future is unsure. However, there are some predictions we can make.
The strong will rise
One prediction is that in order to deliver our plans and grow our businesses in the next years, we need to be stronger. Everything we do will count even more, so we need to do the right things first time, every time. That’s a tall order. It means reviewing what we have and ensuring that it is viable for the new normal that we are about to see. Lockdown has hit everyone hard and the impact is still only just being felt. So, we can sit and wait to see what happens or we can make the future, today.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Maya Angelou
Never has this statement been more true of any situation, as it is today. We don’t like where we are but we cannot change it, so let’s change how we look at it. What can we learn from it?
Business has changed
Yes, we can stick our heads in the sand, but many businesses have proved that they can operate differently, their teams can work from home, meetings can be held over the internet and business premises can be operated in a different manner. View the lockdown as a catalyst for a lot of the changes we were due to see in the next decade. The question is, which of those changes are long-term and which were only for the short-term. This question is tough, and it requires a strong leadership team to really question themselves, as much as anything else.
We have changed
For our Learning and Development Team, it has meant that we have moved from predominantly on-site and classroom-based training and coaching, to on-line delivery. Shorter sessions, with greater intensity. It has challenged us to question our assumptions, modify our techniques and seek new processes. Luckily, we had already started on this route before lockdown began but the rate of progress changed considerably when the COVID-19 crisis truly hit.
In recent months, we have delivered management, sales and customer service training and coaching. Most to people in their own homes. In one morning, we delivered training in Sweden, Italy, Spain and Ireland, as well as in the UK, all at the same time. No-one travelled anywhere, so the costs were greatly reduced as was the environmental impact. We developed programmes that are still truly interactive by maximising virtual breakout rooms. The feedback from participants and their businesses was that they want more. So, we now have Training Thursday for one client, and others are looking at this option. What’s more, as most of these participants were furloughed, it has been their choice to attend the training; they were not forced to.
Change is desired
What we identified with our clients is that there are significant advantages to training today, rather than waiting until people are back in the business.
If viewed from a balanced scorecard approach to business, then you can see the impact:
- Business Success– it means that we don’t stop people working to be trained on their return to work, a time when we need them to be at their most productive. New skills can start to be developed before working with customers, ensuring a fast start to trading.
- Business Systems and Process – the new processes that are required or can evolve our businesses can be implemented successfully from return to business. If the processes we have are already right, then we can ensure that they are being delivered consistently.
- Customer Engagement – a lot of people are looking at how to reach prospects but are they looking at how to then convert them into customers? We can align our service to our brand and product promises, ensuring a consistently appreciated customer experience.
- Team Engagement – developing your team now, shows them that you want them. Rather than being sat at home wondering if they have a job to go back to, they feel invested in. At a time when people are already in the ‘routine’ of working from home providing an environment where they can learn new skills, mix with colleagues and be engaged in something new has been a real positive. We
- also see so many people come on the training, just glad that their businesses are willing to invest in them and excited to be focusing their minds on work again.
As a business leader, don’t you want to see these things happen?
Be the change
What it comes down to, though, is that leaders need to take the opportunity. Review your business and decide how you can operate moving forward. Invest in your teams to ensure that they can be successful, as soon as they return to their roles. This is vital for your customers, it is essential for your business and it is desired by your team. So, can you be the change?
If you would like any further information on any of the points raised in this blog please contact us and one of our highly experienced team will be in touch.
SYLO | Beyond HR – supporting Your People and Your Business into the future.