Self Care if Not Selfish (mental health)

The professional behavior of the team has changed a lot in the last nine months. We have personally seen this change in many employees.

As a Manager, I tend to do the analysis and found that the pandemic has created a deep scar in many minds and hearts

The first thing we noticed is anger. Nearly 42% of the employees are getting angry with or without genuine reasons.

People are getting short-tempered soon. The reason is, their mind is not shifting between job and personal life at the end of the day. The mind lives in the job even after closing the laptop. And this was not the scenario before the pandemic. When we take our laptop bag and start from the office, we had many things to visualize in reality to adjust our minds.

The human touch between the team members is slowly vanishing, and it creates a rough situation between teams. The personal activities like chit-chat, team-break, movie times, road trips had brought personal bonding among people. We are losing those forever now.

According to the survey by 7th Fold, 36% of employees are affected by mental health and 17% with physical health. The survey has revealed some interesting data. People with less than 5L annual salary are worried about personal finance and career prospect. But surprisingly, people with more than 20 or 30L salary reported burnout and poor mental health.

These guys are going to handle the team. If they feel burnout, they are going to burn the bridges between others. Actually, stress is leading to burnout

The deadline of tasks alone is the reason for 48% of stress. These were not the main reasons before the pandemic. 

Actually, with very-small efforts, we can come out of this work-related stress very soon.

  • Draw the boundary between work and life
  • Self-care
  • Work-life balance
  • Write down what you can and cannot and follow it religiously.
  • Remove the fear. Involve in activities which will make your mind carefree.
  • Resilience. We need to learn this. It is the ability to bounce back from any trauma. 
  • Above all, connect with your close friends. Even if you are not in contact with them, call and speak to them. Maybe they are also sailing the same boat.

Finally, Self Care is Not Selfish!

How should sales guys handle the pandemic situation?

The first and the foremost thing a salesperson should do it, “keeping selling.” It is not that there is “no need” situation in the market. There is only a “no want” situation in the market. So a salesperson should not stop the selling. 

A new norm is there everywhere. So it should be there in the sales presentation and pitch too. Rewrite your sales pitch. Redesign your presentation. Revisit what you are selling. 

The conventional “cold email” and “cold call” is going to be tactless in this situation. The same old way of “one-stop-shop” is not going to fetch any more water. Adjust your team to the new reality. 

As per a survey, it requires six times more effort to convince a client for a deal than earlier. So the best part is to hold your clients very close to your heart. Often speak to your customers. Communicate proactively with them.

Reassure your client that you can understand their pain because they are also crossing the same situation.

Whatever may be the situation, the closure should keep on happening. Revisit your old leads. Engage with your earlier prospects. Analyze why they didn’t give you the business last time.

Finally, speak to your delivery organization to bring them on board with you on keeping the “Customer First” attitude.

Personal tip to sales guys: Don’t shift job now. Sell what you are well versed in all these days rather than going to new selling. It is not just you are going to sell. It’s the brand name of the company which is going to help you to sell. 

The synchronization of what you have with your company and your selling skill is your real motivation. You cannot sell yourself and also the brand now. It is a risky task.

No same rule applies! (Business Travel)

Yes, the current pandemic has changed the Business travel structure too. Roadshow or Business travel, Business events, Summits, Seminars, and Trade shows play a vital role in every industry. Particularly in the IT / Software industry, it happened to be a game-changer.

Popular events like the Disrupt of Techcrunch, or GITEX of Dubai, or even the Refresh of Freshworks gathered a large crowd in the IT industry. 

Apart from networking, the other uses of IT roadshows are the following:

  • Brand selling
  • Spreading the thoughts of the Leadership team
  • Demand Generation, and
  • Making the sales team penetrate the region to sell what they want

Even these uses are now in a question mark due to the current situation.

Does that mean Events and Roadshows are not going to happen? The answer is mostly YES and few cases NO. 

What would be the reason for the answer to be NO?

They are:

  • Safety
  • Budget
  • Hesitation or Anxiety of the Crowd
  • Above all the new Normal called “Virtual event”

The organizers had to spend more on safety features. Even if they are ready to spend more, there are no fixed norms available to handle the safety features now.

On Budget, every company is decreasing their spending or they want to divert it to other uses.

One of my known company had to cancel their annual event at the last moment because of the Anxiety of their regular crowd to travel and being in a closed space.

On Virtual Event, all the other hindrances are taken care of, so any company can organize a well-planned event with 1/3 of the regular event budget.

As per the Bizzabo, 93% of the regular Event-goers are ready for a Virtual Event rather than a physical event.

On a survey conducted by them, ONLY 62% of people are ready to attend the in-person event even after getting vaccinated.

The current Covid19 situation had made people become less trust in others. Companies are not ready to allow others to come to their conference room to run their presentation. So no in-person appointments are given.

The Event Management Software has seen tremendous growth in 2019 itself. Due to the current volatility, it is going to grow several-fold. It is also going to save more than 200 hours a year for the people who attend events.

Until late 2021, due to the air bubble flight operation, there is no hope for in-person meetings or events. Also, due to the repetitive waves of Covid19, all personal meetings, events, seminars, and summits are going to take a step back.

Singapore is planning to open a new lane for business travelers, house them in a bubble. But, this is not going to be affordable for SME segment companies.

ZOOM, Google Meet, Skype, and Microsoft teams have become ubiquitous during the pandemic. We are soon going to see many to follow them. Also, fundings are going to pour in into that segment in the years.

Finally, Business travel is going to take a step back for sure for the next two years.

No same rule applies! (Sales hire)

We will google for any information. Being it personal or official, we will get answers. Will we get an answer that is suitable for us? The answer would be mostly NO.

We will tend to fit ourselves into that answer and get satisfied.

With keeping the same situation, let us analyze the business. There are zillion business houses in the World. But very few create footprints in their arena. The entire remaining business houses blindly follow those footprints as if they are also equal to those others.

We can see a lot of these in my business line, the Small and Medium Business area. There are not many similarities among the business houses of the SME segment. But we all feel that we can follow others to become one like them.

The best example is in hiring salespeople. During the initial days of the company, the sales guys play a vital role in the growth of the company by formalizing the sales strategies.

But, when the company stabilizes the business, sales guys will not get the opportunity to play many roles in new strategy formulation. They sometimes will get to fine-tune those already formalized strategies only. The company brand or current client references will take the role of spearheading the part of the sales.

It is not the capability problem of the sales guy. Here he didn’t get the specific opportunity to play those strategists’ roles. He will be a good sales guy to run the already formalized sales strategy.

What happened in the market now is, a new company will check the profile of these sales guy and feels that they have won many large deals and so if they hire those sales guys, they are going to bring such deals to their company too.

It may or may not happen. Predominantly it will not happen. This is where the CEOs or the Management of the new company fails. Mostly, only those who have played a vital role in formalizing the business strategy can plan the same role in the new company too. If you hire a hardcore sales guy who was successful in bringing new clients and deals with the collaterals and portfolios of the company may fail big time to play the role of a strategist.

It may not be a failure of the sales guy alone and it will be the failure of the new company too.

You can crosscheck this with the frequent job change of sales guys in the market or with the frequent firing of sales guys by the companies.

Next: No same rule applies! (Business Travel)

Pandemic and Business Operations!

After the Second World War, workforce behavior across the globe was mostly on a single structure. The change to this structure has happened only after the evolution of the Software Development / IT industry.

From early 1990 to 2019, across the globe, there was a uniform workforce behavior. But the pandemic has changed the workforce world.

What was a positive sign earlier has now mostly become a negative sign. For example, the much-awaited WFH has become a pain now. Today people are not happy to have a WFH forever as they want to go to the office at least once a week to experience the work environment and meet their colleagues.

On the other side, people have become more self-organized and productive. They know how to handle both personal and official things in a given day. In my example, the productivity of the teams has not decreased if not increased.

The maturity and handling capacity of the Managers has increased a lot. We can see more of an entrepreneur behavior in most of the middle-level managers.

Same way, the pain of taking time to commute to work earlier is now seen as individual personal time.

IT world is always a world of stress. Socializing was a norm for the IT workforce to alleviate the stress. Now that there is no scope to socialize, people are becoming more stressed and heading to depression and even anxiety.

On the employer side, we find certain aspects are very challenging. When we have the team in one place, there was more coordination and understanding between teams. Now even small gaps are leading to intervention from others to make it normal.

Companies can save operation costs to some extent but the additional infrastructure cost to make things happen in WFH is increasing on the other side.

On the HR side, remote Onboarding is easily possible than off-boarding as it takes more work to collect all the official assets from them. Leave Management has become a more painful process for them.

Airlines still feel the Business Travel can become normal only in late 2022.

On taking all the above, the business and workforce management is not going to have a standard norm anytime sooner. The pandemic may see some light at the end of the tunnel but not the workforce management and business operations.