Using downtime to move your team towards a great future

The COVID-19 situation unexpectedly brought the entire globe to a near standstill. Never did one in their wildest dreams expect what this situation could do to people, their lives, their businesses and to their employees.

But as the saying goes ‘every cloud has a silver lining’; people/businesses can spend this downtime working for a bright and powerful future.

As I speak more for the latter, using this downtime period can prove much more beneficial than one might expect. How? For your organization, working on adjusting and dealing with the sudden and rough changes will not only reflect the strength of your business, but it also lets you seize the opportunity to show your business as resilient and a survivor of changes.

Probably one of the best things you can do right now is to focus on the workforce – your employees. During the pandemic many organisations did not retrench its employees, rather they utilised the down time to re-skill and up-skill our employees to prepare the company for the new reality.

Time and Tide wait for none - Make the most of this time

Use this time to sharpen and reinforce the skillset of your team. Speak to your employees about their career aspirations and get to know how each of your employees can add to the company’s success. Investing in your employee’s personal development is the perfect opportunity for you to help them recognise their valuable skills and motivate them to try something new and undergo additional training.

Company Ethos – Bring your organizational values to practice

It is also extremely crucial for an organisation to have its employees imbibe the core values they practice. Leaders should take personal responsibility for their organizational values and for making sure its employees put these into practice. How can you do that? Just walk your talk – show people what the organizational values mean through your behaviour and you will see how easily your workforce observes this and follows your lead.

Also, as an organisation, one must believe in connecting with customers through timely delivery, trust, and transparency. This is the ethos that every organisation should consistently follow. Train your employees to manage time and stick to delivery schedules. These schedules are forwarded to customers who can be rest assured of their supplies. Honouring delivery schedules ensures transparency and trust.

Building a professional environment

It is necessary that all employees in an organisation act in a professional and organised manner. Being more organised means being more time efficient. If your customers and stakeholders should take you seriously, you must demonstrate strong commitment and discipline. Especially in unorganised sectors, bringing about a system that can help disparate functions come together will help the sector move forward. On the operational front, ensuring your KPIs are always aligned to the overall business goals will also help accurately access the health of the organisation.

Ensuring adoption of professional behaviour seeps through to the grassroot level of the organisation is key for success. Build a professional environment right from the field – whether it comes to uniforms to establish a sense of unity and responsibility, or to instilling polite manners of conversation with customers while training, leave no detail behind.

Your Strength, Your Team – Empower them

Your employees, your team, they are your biggest strength. Appreciate the team whenever you can, treat them well, give them opportunities to grow. Do NOT micromanage, because an independent employee is a happy employee and in the long run, this will help your employees build their problem-solving and leadership skills. Reward performances through incentives through kind or cash. Incentives are an ideal motivation to spur employees on.

Have your employees trained well enough, that when put in a challenging situation, their confidence to handle client queries by themselves comes naturally. This way the team is well equipped to solve first-hand queries, and not waste senior management’s time on minor issues that can easily be resolved with proper training.

Inclusive Workplace

Diversity at workplace is not something new. But what we do miss out on is making diversity more inclusive within teams – this includes people representing a variety of genders, cultures, religion, ethnicities, and ableness. A conscious decision to ensure that the gender mix at a retail outlet is balanced, will help encourage and motivate others to pursue their dreams.

Apart from ensuring inclusivity in terms of representation, make sure everyone is treated equally. It is key to build a healthy work environment. Appropriately connect with your employees and get to know their likes and dislikes. Encouraging positive habits and team bonding to ensure a seamless work atmosphere helps productivity of the organisation. Listen to the junior most team members and act on their suggestion if they merit value.

As we ardently wait for things to unravel, I would like to encourage you to work with your teams, proactively strategizing your team’s abilities that add on to the organization’s growth and success. Make sure you are encouraging your workforce regularly, cheering on their achievements, and most importantly, being readily available to hear their concerns.

Your team is your biggest asset, let this be known to them.