When the COVID-19 pandemic struck earlier this year, businesses felt the fallout far and wide. But as tough as it has been for businesses, a great teaching moment has been revealed. Leaders have stepped up in unexpected ways to not only ride out the crisis, but to make innovation, creativity and teamwork a great recipe for survival and success.
ServiceNow recently interviewed several customers in the technology, financial services and public sector industries to get their insights on how they learned to thrive in this turbulent business environment. Their strategies ranged from empowering employees to work more effectively from home to crafting a transformative customer experience that leverages technology to address unique business challenges. Few companies were fully prepared for COVID-19, but these companies demonstrated enthusiastically how to respond in times of global adversity and uncertainty.
Here we reveal those key insights from the virtual conference Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience.
- Empowering the Company-wide Remote Workforce
Before the pandemic, many organizations already had some remote work policies in place, but no one could have predicted such rapid need for remote transformation so quickly. Companies are being forced to completely rethink their strategy to empower a top-to-bottom, all-location remote workforce. Remote-enabling employees with laptops, remote login, productivity tools, collaboration apps, and cloud applications is only the first step. Implementing ergonomic equipment guidelines, adjusting meeting times and meeting purposes, building in non-work collaboration and engagement, and supporting employee wellness are all crucial components of staying productive when virtually everyone must work from home.
- Technology Makes the Difference in Times of Uncertainty
Creative use of technology can lead the way to better efficiency and productivity when a crisis strikes, such as handling a spike in customer service needs during the pandemic. Our panelists shared how they placed a new emphasis on mobile apps to help reps create, process and track new service and support cases right from their mobile phone, removing the burden of being tethered to a monitor all day. They also expanded self-service knowledgebases and user communities so that customers could research and resolve common challenges themselves, reducing call center volume and giving talented support engineers the time to focus on the most critical issues. The new approaches adopted by these companies helped break down organizational silos and ensured more consistent collaboration.
- Addressing the Human Side of the Equation
Remote work can be an uphill battle for many, as the psychological and emotional challenges take their toll over days and weeks. But along with the challenges come opportunities for positive change. Addressing the human side of the equation must be a priority, such as teaching effective remote work habits, connecting employees with team bonding initiatives, and striving to manage the emotional ups and downs in an expanded remote work environment. You must address psychological issues, including anxiety about COVID-19, feelings of isolation, and concern about job security. Expand access to technology and skills training to keep employees professionally engaged. Go virtual with regular videoconferencing meetings so employees can see each other’s smiles and hear their laughter, and even encourage daily video “watercooler meetings” with absolutely no agenda. Take care of everyone as a family and see the positive results in employee satisfaction.
- Turning the Opportunity into Positive Results
No one goes into a transition period like this expecting to thrive, but it turns out that these companies all experienced actual gains in productivity and efficiency, driven in part by employees eliminating long commute times, but also a re-dedication to their company’s mission and commitment to customers. Punctuality to video meetings was also a pleasant surprise, as was palpable new team cooperation and a sense of higher worker satisfaction. They kept their workforces continually engaged and tried to bridge the emotional and psychological gap between employees and their managers and coworkers.
Conclusion: Embrace Uncertainty and Keep Innovating
Embrace this unique opportunity to pivot your businesses for positive change, even when you may not have a fully-baked “playbook” at your fingertips. Remember that communication is king – communication from leadership to employees, from employees to employees, and from companies to their customers. A further focus on openness, transparency, and honesty can help engender a sense of community and oneness so your teams can thrive during a crisis. Times of adversity often give way to unexpected resilience. Loosen the reins a bit and innovate like you’ve never done before. For more, you can now register for free to watch the on-demand session videos of Knowledge 2020 Digital Experience.