During the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been rare hot spots in an economy that went ice cold, with the rise of some companies and fall of others. But why have some businesses been successful in riding out the crisis while others were not?

Heather  Mostert, Co-Founder and Director of Airshot, says the organisation’s that quickly leveraged employee engagement and productivity through the real power of virtual connections are generally also the companies that weathered lockdown with flying colours.

“Today’s business environment is very Darwinian, where you adapt or die and it really is survival of the fittest. Digital transformation may have taken a giant leap forward during lockdown but the real gamechanger has been technology that ensured employees were actively engaged and productive,” Mostert explains.

She says the companies that have thrived over lockdown embraced the new reality of virtual offices and remote work but focused on driving productivity through meaningful, quantifiable and relevant engagement across the value chain. Using this now proven form of communications technology, sales teams and support staff will continue to be able to work effectively and efficiently literally anywhere in the world.

Here are Mostert’s top tips for keeping your people actively engaged and productive, especially when they are on the road or working remotely:

  1. Work Life Integration

Working habits became more agile during lockdown and work life balance became work life integration. We never imagined that many people would be more productive and busier than ever operating in a digital environment. And businesses have embraced this, recognising that the key to productivity is their ability to communicate and incentivise employees and retailers remotely.

With so much information in the virtual environment, it is essential that all your communication is centralised onto one platform, one central hub to streamline and manage your data flow. And ensure that what you are providing is filtered to their role so they get the relevant information timeously and are not bombarded with unnecessary information.

  1. Delivering Quantifiable Productivity

Lockdown has provided real proof that if a company’s communication channels are clear and the target audience is aligned with the vision, growth is possible regardless of the circumstances.

For example, through a company-wide focus one of Airshot’s flagship clients has increased the sales of their Top 20 house brands by 21%! This is unprecedented growth at any time, never mind the fact that it was lockdown.

This level of growth is only possible when results are quantifiable, when feedback is ongoing and when employees – specially remote employees – are empowered with the information they need to be proactive instead of reactive.

  1. Active Engagement

Employee engagement means active engagement. It is giving your people the ability to translate the group vision into action. There is no point in waiting until the end of the quarter to find that you’ve missed targets or that your employees haven’t been singing from the same hymn sheet.

Tailor your data and communications to your business, turning important information into a handful of graphs and analytics so that your team can access key performance areas on the road, in a simple, easily understandable format. When you get this right, effort translates into performance – every time you distribute information. Communication matched with relevant, concise data is key to unlocking growth and true engagement throughout the value chain.

  1. Policing Kills Morale

One of the mistakes made by many companies during lockdown was the monitoring and policing of their employees to ensure delivery, a draconian concept that killed productivity.

A ‘carrot not the stick mentality’ works far better. Sure, you can still track activities and responses – see who has engaged with your content and for how long but do this in a way that drives productivity through incentives. When performance results are transparent, there is nowhere for underperforming sales staff to hide.

“Our biggest lesson from Lockdown is that your team don’t need to be chained to a desk. Done right, a centralised platform for communications results in a well-informed, incentivised, motivated sales force and support team with a focused work ethic and this is ultimately the only driver for a powerful business and long term growth that can weather any storm,” Mostert concludes.

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