A few weeks ago, a few Workhaus staff members attended the 2021 Collision conference. Although the conference was virtual this year, it was incredibly interactive and provided insight into the future of industries like technology, media, commerce and more. With over 600 speakers and 38,000+ attendees, there were some truly enlightening moments. If you didn’t get the chance to attend this year there’s no need to have FOMO – we’ve got you covered with our top 5 key takeaways.
1. Avoid cancel culture by adapting to consumer behavior
In the ever-changing world of coronavirus, many businesses have been forced to pivot and adapt quickly. Consumers spend more time online now than ever before, meaning they are more informed on products, social issues, and brand behavior.
Previously, customers had very low expectations for brands, expecting products in pretty packaging with a cutesy jingle to go with it. The pandemic has shown that consumers expect more, they’re hyper aware of their consumption and they need realism; they want to purchase from companies that can take a stand and support values similar to their own.
However taking a passionate stance can be troublesome for older brick-and-mortar companies. Post-pandemic marketing tactics will have to navigate the vast world of social media and consumer beliefs.
2. Zoom fatigue and virtual stress? Flexible office space may be the solution.
The majority of non-essential employees have been working remotely for over a year now. While many businesses continued to thrive with a remote-work structure, cracks are beginning to show for both businesses and their employees.
Different businesses, projects or employees require different accommodations to be more collaborative, creative and productive, This is reflected by the oft-mentioned concept of zoom-fatigue and the multi-platform communication chaos that working remote requires.
But how do you ensure all employees feel equally valued no matter their workplace setting?
Flexible office options – Give employees the option to choose how and when they go into the office. Coworking options like Workhaus give companies and their employees the option to decide for themselves without making long term and costly commitments.
No second class employees – Ensure policies and procedures are the same, regardless of whether it’s an in-person or remote relationship.
Communication and project autonomy – Establish clear lines of communication while giving employees flexibility (within reason) to make decisions on project time management.
From startups to Fortune 500 companies, executives are looking toward flexible office space to accommodate both company and employee needs.
3. Organizational Culture is Key to Business Health
Over the past year, we’ve seen many startups emerge and adapt to the remote work ecosystem. While many companies focus on funding, customer acquisition, and overall growth, the concept of organizational health is typically put on the backburner. However, in an uncertain environment, communication and organizational culture is your most important asset.
As we recently witnessed with the GME ‘meme stock’ chaos, the power of online communities is still heavily underrated. Many leaders fail to realize their internal team is the first opportunity to market. It seems simple: happy employees create positive interactions with consumers, which leads to positive consumer experiences. It’s important that employees feel respected and valued.
So how do you really leverage organizational culture to benefit your company?
Internal marketing – Define your organizational values and make them known through actions.
Know your team, play to their strengths, & check in – Find their purpose and passions, try to find a way to connect it to their role in the company. When an employee meets or surpasses a goal, celebrate!
Establish mutual trust – Respect employee’s personal boundaries and trust them to get things done.
4. Reinvent Your Lead strategy & Client Engagement
We’ve always heard that first impressions are everything, but how well do first impressions work when operations are almost entirely virtual? Prior to the pandemic, you could form a personal relationship with a client in-person by getting together for coffee.
Now email inboxes are flooded with the same basic notifications, and it’s hard for clients to recognize the real person behind them. Making it even more difficult to build a personal relationship or make your business ‘pop.’
Try these solutions to diversify your emails and make a lasting impression:
Utilize visuals to personalize messages – Use their information to draw them in. Whether it’s their linkedin profile, website, annual report, etc., show that you’re informed and interested in engaging with them specifically.
Proposal videos – Rather than expecting a customer to ‘visualize’ something with no reference, go the extra mile and show them exactly what they can expect.
Experiment with timing & practice – Trying new ways to approach leads can be difficult, especially in older industries, but practice makes perfect! Experiment with timing as to when you integrate videos & see if video improves response rates from cold leads.
“Many people may not even have the confidence to make a video and watch themselves in action, if you are the one person who does make it happen – clients will notice!” – Tyler Lessard of Vidyard
5. The “I Weigh” Movement
I Weigh is a movement started by actress, model, and activist Jameela Jamil. As an actress, Jameela often faces criticism about her weight or appearance. One day while scrolling Instagram, she saw a press photo of the Kardashians detailing each person’s weight. Frustrated at the media’s emphasis on women’s worth equating to their weight, Jameela tweeted, “I weigh: lovely relationship, great friends, I laugh every day…I speak out for women’s rights…” and so on; emphasizing the point that people weigh more than what’s surface level. Although this was something done in passing, it was a message that resonated with so many people.
While this tip is not business-related per say, Jameela’s insights can be applied to any situation; particularly to those who are feeling overwhelmed as a result of the pandemic. With the remote work environment being extremely fast paced, many employees do not take enough time to recognize their efforts, or check in with their mind & body.
In fact, many struggle with imposter syndrome and compare their competence to the achievements of colleagues, determining they aren’t as successful, and belittling their overall worth. This is something that primarily occurs within minority groups as those employees can’t connect with like-minded individuals. This contributes to internal issues with recognition or value in their profession. It’s important to remind friends, family, and colleagues that the feelings of inadequacy that can come from scrolling social media, or peer-comparison, aren’t everything.
Here’s a few points to help your colleagues and employees feel healthy, safe, and empowered:
Diversify your team – Ensure there are different types of people in your environment, be inclusive & invite everyone to the conversation.
Find a mentor! – Find allies in your field. Even if they aren’t in your specific company, they can share experiences and validate your feelings.
Don’t adhere, stand out – If you feel cramped by traditional gender roles, or find yourself shrinking down to fit into a mold, recognize that you can be the change.
We’re all doing our best to find ways to grow despite the chaos of this pandemic. Be kind and remind yourself, the value of everything you ‘weigh’ isn’t just a number on a scale, a data point in a spreadsheet, or anything else that society deems relevant. You are worth so much more!