Overnight, marketers and brands alike across the globe were forced to change the way they work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The need to adapt was instantly apparent and working remotely quickly became ‘the new norm’. To combat both the crisis and the already fast paced B2B landscape we inhabit, today’s leaders are being challenged with providing answers on how best to upskill their workforce to ensure that any business model put in place now will remain effective in a post-pandemic world.
Learning without limits
So, where to start? Time to put some time into learning and development. L&D is a mainstay in any business model, but coronavirus has made it all the more crucial for long-term survival.
But what should marketers and B2B business owners be upskilling their employees in? Technology has played a vital part in our new working norm and presents a two-fold opportunity for development – adopting new forms of communication and embracing digital knowledge sharing. Setting up effective digital processes that successfully replace face-to-face customer relationship management not only ensures the continued seamless delivery of work, but also presents a learning opportunity for employees to strengthen their dexterity and flexibility in times of unexpected change. It’s these more general skills, such as in digital communication, that should be nurtured to help tackle the challenges we currently face.
A new set of skills
This ties nicely into training. Like everything else, any existing training programme will need to adapt and mould to answer the needs of the current climate. Sessions that cover online presenting skills, access to industry relevant webinars or expert-hosted sessions giving marketers the opportunity to interact with their peers, are all great ways to ensure your team is up to speed and equipped to work in the ‘now’. Looking at, and understanding, the skills that each employee brings to the table will both help you optimise workflow and identity any gaps that could be filled by relevant training.
The imposter experience
As many have discovered, both personally and professionally, adapting to this new world comes with its challenges. Thrown into the unknown, many may be experiencing a feeling of being unprepared or lacking the relevant skills needed to complete a job well, all leading to a sense of ‘imposter syndrome’.
Imposter syndrome – the doubting of one’s accomplishments and a fear of being exposed as a fraud – is a common psychological phenomenon. Sufferers can experience extreme anxiety due to the belief they’re not good enough to complete a task or do something well. For many, this mindset has been exacerbated by the recent pandemic and has called for teams to come together and support each other more than they ever have before, to weather the storm and celebrate the good that can come out of an unforeseen challenge.
“Building resilience, managing inner criticism and addressing ‘imposter syndrome’ are all important areas for leaders to understand. It’s very difficult to build an honest and trusting relationship with others if the metaphorical walls are up around you.”
Worth their weight in gold
What does this tell us? Effective leadership is key. Leaders who understand and are tuned in to the needs of their team, who are willing to have open conversations, and provide support with relevant guidance and training. Leaders who communicate clearly and cultivate a culture that promotes support and growth opportunities will be able to build a strong team and, as a result, work of high quality, relevance and a creative edge. A great example in relation to the recent pandemic is New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. Her effective, quick and compassionate response, imposing strict restrictions early on in the crisis to protect her people, has won her praise across the globe. She was clear, trusted in the science and unlike other countries declaring war on COVID, she encouraged unification, working together to save lives. COVID-19 isn’t over and, if we’re being realistic, probably won’t be for a while yet. But the skills we learn now while adapting to the way we work will make us stronger, more resilient and serve us well – whatever the future of the B2B world may hold.
Continue the talent conversation with the B2B !MPACT podcast. In this episode, featuring recruitment professional Leon Milns, we discuss how to attract and retain great talent in today’s fluctuating marketplace. Watch the video version here.