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  • Writer's pictureAnushruti

When the going gets tough, the tough get going

While most of the companies have some action plan in place for catastrophic events like fire, earthquake and floods, we were pretty unprepared for the level of disruption caused by COVID 19.

As we transform from a physical set up to a virtual one due to Covid 19, indeed only those will survive who have embraced the ‘new normal’. Those who object to this metamorphosis will become obsolete and might be wiped out of the race track.

Nokia’s supremacy for two decades beginning in 1970s had made its name synonymous to success. By 2000s it was selling more than half the cell phones in the planet. In 2004, few Nokia engineers proposed the idea of an internet run touchscreen display phone and an embedded online app store. However, idea was shot down by the leadership. Three years later iPhone was unveiled and a few years later Nokia had become irrelevant. Big companies fail when they refuse to change. And in current ‘abnormal’, those who are in hope to return to life before COVID 19 in a few months an unwilling to introduce landmark shifts in way of operation are in for trouble. We need to embrace the change and facilitate transition.

Let us try to decode some of the questions the pandemic poses to the major firms.

How do we plan to win the trust of the customers without meeting them?

Virtual product demos, online selling and telly selling are the new reality. While most of the sales officers are struggling to win the trust of the customers over Zoom calls, need of the hour is to develop trustworthy digital platforms, virtual e-stores/interfaces, digital signatures/IDs, company sites/links to win their confidence. In the near future, changing consumer behavior who too will accept this as the way of life; will make this shift easy for us.

How do we plan to ensure employee productivity while they work remotely?

In absence of on age old methods of tracking employee efficiency through physical attendance, I believe the new work-from-home brings us better opportunity rather than discomfort. Start measuring employee productivity through setting and monitoring daily achievement of goals. Ensure two way communication channel between employee and manager for enhanced tracking and better engagement. Employees might be working for double hours in the current scenario to keep up the business standards, thus it is important for managers to magnify the acknowledgement and recognition of their efforts.

How do we plan to keep our employees engaged and collaborated in the new normal?

A daily dose of morning huddle, word of appreciation, bouncing off ideas helped boost employee morale and keep the workforce engaged in old times. Our priority in the virtual set up should be to ensure the traditions are still kept alive, through virtual mediums like huddle through WebEx meetings. While we feel that need of meetings might increase in virtual set up too ensure strong bond and sense of belonging; refrain from introducing too many activities as it would lead to disruption of normal working hours. Research suggest that meetings during early morning or closing hours is the most productive. Do not let go off traditions of informal interactions for team bonding and letting company culture thrive. Facilitating the same through virtual mediums will surprisingly prove to be more costless.

How do we plan to tackle increased absenteeism?

The requests for leaves have increased in the current scenario for a majority of reasons like self-health care, child care, caring for affected kin, travelling to hometown, stress due to fear and uncertainty and more. As a considerate employer we need to be supportive in accommodating it and at the same time ensure business continuity. This can be achieved by enhanced documentation and creation of ‘Knowledge Repositories’. Move away from holding the knowledge in your head, else your absence will lead to chaos. While regulating the team leaves, encourage employees to document their work more and share more often.

The list does not end here. There are many best practices still unpopular and unexplored. Continuing to learn, adopt and transform should be our focus.

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