As Pandemic Fatigue Sets In at Work, Employers Try to Help

People are tired. Between a global pandemic, economic crisis, social unrest, & political upheaval, the past year has been physically and emotionally draining for just about everyone, and perhaps most for essential workers.

Across industries, workers struggling with pandemic fatigue are facing burnout more than ever. For leaders, keeping these employees engaged and motivated is a challenge in itself. While some leaders are turning to incentives like gift cards and cash to help support employees, others are taking a softer approach, investing in relationships and focusing on workplace communication.

Money Talks

When the pandemic began, the hospitality industry fell off a cliff, says Liz Neumark, founder and CEO of Great Performances, a catering company in New York City. She knew keeping everyone employed would be difficult until her business could find another source of revenue apart from events, which eventually came in the form of preparing meals for essential workers and people unable to quarantine at home. While some of her employees, such as those in sales or event production, saw salary reductions, chefs, kitchen staff, and other employees making food for essential workers kept their full salaries and got help with transportation as well.  

The founders of P. Terry’s, an Austin, Texas-based fast-food restaurant chain, give employees gift cards and cash to help pay for groceries and offer them interest-free loans. They also incentivize employees to participate in community and civic causes, including paying hourly wages for volunteer work.

Justin Spannuth, chief operating officer of Unique Snacks, a sixth-generation, family-operated hard pretzel maker in Reading, Pennsylvania, increased hourly wages by $2 for all 85 of his employees. The company also hired additional temporary employees to provide a backup workforce. Spannuth says the move helped persuade employees with possible symptoms to stay at home by easing the guilt that employees can have about not coming in and potentially increasing the workload on their colleagues. 

“The last thing we wanted our employees to do was get worn out from working too many hours and then have their immune system compromised because of it,” says Spannuth.

Helping Employees Connect

Andrea Ahern, vice president of Mid Florida Material Handling, a material handling company in Orlando, Florida, says it was difficult to keep morale up when the business was clearly struggling; employees were uncertain about the company’s future, and their own. To help ease the stress, the company held a wide array of picnic-style meals in the company’s parking lot. It was a light distraction that still followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Now, she says, morale has started to rise.

“With the release of the vaccine and the so-called ‘light at the end of the tunnel,’ we’re starting to see the industry get a lift in activity, and associates feel good when they know their jobs aren’t at risk. However, it wasn’t always this way.”

These kinds of events can, of course, also take place virtually. Company leaders across industries are encouraging staff to treat Zoom as a virtual water cooler. But while casual online gatherings after work can help colleagues maintain friendly relationships, they can also contribute to “Zoom fatigue”–the drained feeling that comes after a long day of video calls, which often require more concentration than in-person meetings.

Matt McCambridge, co-founder and CEO of Eden Health, a primary/collaborative care practice based in New York, says while his teams hold regular virtual water coolers, they switch it up. For example, the company hosted an interactive “dueling pianos” virtual event over the holidays, as well as a magic show. 

Better Communication From the Top

Communicating support work-life balance at a time when many people are remote and facing trauma is critical. Neumark notes that when her catering company was pivoting and in the process of providing hundreds, if not thousands, of meals, the team was relying mostly on sheer adrenaline. Months later, now that the novelty is gone and fatigue has fully set in, the boundaries she set are crucial.

One rule, for example, is weekends off, unless there’s an urgent, unavoidable request. “The weeks are still so intense, and people need their private time right now,” says Neumark.

It’s essential that leaders understand the issues their employees may be facing and not try to gloss over them, says Dr. Benjamin F. Miller, a psychologist and chief strategy officer of Well Being Trust, a foundation aimed at advancing mental and social health. “When your boss is pretending that everything is OK, it doesn’t create a conducive work environment for someone to talk about having a bad day,” says Miller. That’s one reason virtual water coolers often fail, he notes. While they’re great at getting people together, there’s little benefit if people can’t speak openly and honestly.

It’s also OK to tell employees that you, as a leader, are not having an easy time. Showing vulnerability doesn’t show weakness, Miller adds. You’re setting an example that shows that it’s OK to be honest and acknowledge that not everyone is not having the best time. If you aren’t aware that someone is in a crisis, he says, you may lose the opportunity to reach out to that person and help.

By Brit Morse@britnmorse

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How To Stand Out As a Leader In a Saturated Online Market

Fit in, or stand out? Serve existing markets, or serve those in untapped markets? As the online marketplace becomes increasingly saturated for entrepreneurs, and the amount of information available to us online leaves us feeling increasingly overwhelmed, we reach a point where we have no choice but to pull back and reassess what is important to us.

What is commonly referred to as the red or blue ocean strategy, business owners can create an offer so unique and differentiated that they can stand out in the market instead of drowning in a blood-stained red ocean. 

Here are 3 ways you can stand out in a saturated market online, more so from a humane level rather than a strategic level.

Realize what is true for you, not what is true for others

It is easy for people to follow the cookie-cutter strategies of how things have always been done. But as the world, society, and humans evolve, so does the way we do business.

Many find this challenging because they lack a deep level of awareness and trust in themselves. They’re afraid that if they tapped into their own intuition and deep inner-knowing, it might not bring them the success they see everyone else achieving.

Long-lasting and sustainable success in business comes from doing what feels good to you, every step of the way. While you can achieve success following other strategies, if it doesn’t feel good to you, it will leave you feeling uninspired and unfulfilled.

Related: Go WIth Your Gut: How To Use Your Intuition To Succeed In Business

Challenge the status quo of business

As humanity evolves into heightened levels of awareness and consciousness, we naturally begin to create a new paradigm of business.

Challenging the status quo is not a common desire amongst leaders. According to Harvard Business Review, 72 percent of leaders say they rarely, or never or rarely challenge their status quo in business.

Leading and serving from the inside out means we learn to know ourselves first and foremost. This can be a fulfilling journey of self-discovery for many, finding their own purpose and truth, which can become largely suppressed when we work in a typical traditional job that isn’t aligned with our highest desires. 

To challenge the status quo of business comes with making one fearless and courageous decision at a time.

Related: Is Your Status Quo Killing Your Business?

Find your “Zone of Genius”

Gay Hendricks identifies 4 different zones of genius in his book, The Big Leap.

In the “zone of genius,” we can zone in on and capitalize on our innate gifts and abilities that come naturally to us. In this zone, we become in flow and realize what we are uniquely gifted at, often finding ourselves skilled in a specific area more so than others. 

In Hendricks’ book, he prompts you to ask yourself what you do you do that doesn’t seem like work, and what brings you ultimate joy, satisfaction, and abundance at the same time.

Related: 8 Reasons To Find Joy In Your Job

Ultimately, standing out in a saturated market online is about identifying what comes naturally to you and capitalizing on that unique gift and skill. We often attempt to do things that come naturally to other people, mimicking their steps and strategies while ignoring or denying our truest and inner-most skills and gifts. 

To live a whole and fulfilling life, we must enjoy what we do, including how we run our business on a day-to-day basis. By focusing on what feels good to you (and not others), we can ultimately achieve the levels of joy and freedom we are all seeking. 

Kelly Wing Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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AlexandraTV

To put into action everything you learn here on AlexandraTV, download your FREE AlexandraTV resources HERE: https://www.creationsava.com/alexandratv Sign up and we promise to send you a ton of FREE valuable content! S U B S C R I B E for new AlexandraTV episodes almost every day of the week: https://www.youtube.com/user/Alexandr… ====================== O F F I C I A L W E B S I T E ====================== Meet Alexandra at http://www.alexandravillarroel.com/eng/ and subscribe to the email list for FREE gifts and resources directly to your inbox! ================= F A C E B O O K ================= Free daily inspiration & motivation: http://www.FB.com/AlexandraVillarroel… ================= I N S T A G R A M ================= The behind the scenes life of an author, life coach and businesswoman: http://instagram.com/AlexandraAbrego ================== ABOUT ALEXANDRA ================== Alexandra Villarroel Abrego is a Canadian trilingual international speaker, author, certified life coach, talk-show host and producer, and businesswoman, born and raised in Montreal, Canada. She is the owner of A.V.A. International, The School of Freedom™, A.V.A. Academy and AlexandraTV. Through her work, she teaches women how to unleash their true potential, gain real confidence in themselves, and find a balance between their personal and professional life so that they may finally live the life of their dreams. In 2010, she released her first internationally solicited book, “Beyond Beauty,” which takes readers on a journey of self-love, and brings to this new generation of women a better understanding of the concepts of inner and outer beauty, self confidence and feminine power. In 2012, the book was translated into French, and continues to sell worldwide. Since the release of her first book, Alexandra has been giving conferences nationally in her native Canada and internationally, in North America, South America and Europe, in three languages (French, English and Spanish). ================ THE A.V.A. STORE ================ If you liked this video and you want to dive more into the personal development and coaching world, visit our online store for life-changing resources and tools: http://www.alexandravillarroel.com/en…

Why You Need a Virtual Office in 2021

As businesses and entrepreneurs have persevered through 2020, the climate has shifted from business continuity and pivoting to how to recapture business and growth as we enter 2021. Throughout the year, businesses of all sizes and various industries have sought innovative ways to launch new products or services while in this new normal of quarantine, restrictive travel and working from home.

How are entrepreneurs doing this? Social media immediately comes to mind, but more than that, many are using virtual office services, virtual assistants and reimagining what it means to work from home. The proliferation of virtual offices is allowing businesses to have a physical footprint in a market, grow their business and stay connected to their customer base while remaining apart.

Related: 5 Ways Your Business Can Benefit From a Virtual Office

What is a virtual office?

A virtual office is typically provided by coworking or flex office providers, although there are some online-only providers. From business address services, phone services, virtual assistants, office space available by the hour or day, coworking and other offerings, a virtual office can be the primary address of a business, used as a satellite office for a business or used for larger businesses looking to reduce their overhead costs. More than a PO Box, businesses are able to use their virtual office to list their business on Google and other online search engines, have physical office space on an ‘as-needed’ basis, utilize telephone services and receive mail or packages.

Why do I need a virtual office?

With the unpredictability of what 2021 may bring, a virtual office provides you with business options and space, whereas previously, the options would have involved investing in a long-term, costly commercial lease. By utilizing a virtual office service, your business has options. You can test a market without large overhead costs, scale slowly in a new market without hiring multiple employees and have the flexibility of canceling a virtual office if unsuccessful. Most virtual office plans are month-to-month and can easily be canceled.

Second, you must show your existing customer base that they are making the right choice by investing in you. People want to buy from businesses that solve their problems and have an upward trajectory for stability and growth. Even incremental investments in new markets demonstrate perseverance and strength, and signal to existing customers that you are a stable choice to assist their business through 2021.

Third, by establishing a strong business relationship with your virtual office provider, you can be a part of a business networking community already established in that location. Typically, the management is in constant communication with other businesses and entrepreneurs that both have physical office space or a virtual office. customerbase

Throughout the past year, most have worked hard at reinventing their business via new networking opportunities, and now have a calendar packed with virtual networking lunch and learns, virtual “happy hours” and other innovative events.

Related: Employee Engagement: How to Get Remote Workers to Care About Your Business as Much as You Do

Businesses and entrepreneurs alike are looking to rebound from 2020, and by using a virtual office, most find they can enter new markets, reduce overhead and become more appealing to their customer base. There is only one guarantee about 2021 — just like 2020, expect the unexpected!

By: Adam Horlock Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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HubSpot

Learn more in our free remote leadership training: https://bit.ly/3cTQyZp

In order for any team to survive and thrive, there needs to be a culture of inclusion, collaboration, and respect. As the manager of a remote team, developing and promoting this type of culture is an especially important task. When coworkers aren’t physically in the same place, there are fewer opportunities to foster interpersonal interaction and connection, so it’s important to be proactive and creative. Really, an effective remote team should feel pretty similar to a team with a physical office.

Humans are social creatures who want to feel safe and have a sense of belonging—the key here is relationship building. Creating a positive social vibe will help your team members build relationships with each other. Building strong relationships across your team can lead to an increase in psychological safety, strengthened attachment to the team and organization, and elevated performance outcomes.

You may be asking yourself, “how do I create an inclusive and productive work from home culture?” Let’s check in with Debbie Farese. Debbie is HubSpot’s Director of Global Web Strategy. She’s been leading a 100% remote team for more than two years and wants to share her tips on how to create an inclusive virtual office.

How Entrepreneurs Can Use Data Aggregation to Grow Their Business

One of the rising tech sectors today is data aggregation with many millennials coming to the forefront of the industry to bundle information and convey it in a summary form.

Aggregating is all around us

To fully understand what data aggregation is, let’s look at this example: Data-collecting companies, like Facebook, gather intelligence such as likes or page-visits users consume. This information is carefully organized to promote ads or document what users see in their feeds. In business using behavior metrics such as the number of transactions, or average age of the consumer, helps the company focus on bestsellers. 

Related: Opportunity For Startups in Manufacturing, Logistics and Supply Chain

What does this mean to the average entrepreneur? Using these kinds of systems can pinpoint and increase productivity to boost sales and growth

Related: [Funding Alert] Healthtech Start-Up Innovate Raises $70 Million

Dollars for data

Vasiliy Fomin is an excellent example of someone currently cashing in by way of running a data aggregator, bundling information from various sources into a single API, and allowing all types of businesses to power their offerings to consumers. He’s been able to build a thriving business earning millions in revenue by selling aggregated vehicle data, arrest record data, and more to a network of qualified resellers. 

For entrepreneurs, research and development are essential in understanding the market behavior so as to provide the best services to their customers. Data aggregators embrace innovations, new ideas and critical questioning by syncing with the industry’s changing trends in various aspects like leading, hiring, retaining and technology.

Related: 4 Ways Businesses and Consumers Can Take Back Their Data

By: Luis Jorge Rios Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

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How Sales Enablement Can Drive Revenue Growth in 2021

How did your leadership priorities change in 2020? If you started paying more attention to the sales enablement needs of your organization, you’re not alone.

According to recent HubSpot research, 65% of sales leaders who outperformed revenue targets in 2020 reported having a dedicated person or team working on sales enablement efforts instead of making it an initiative someone works on off the side of their desk.

[New Data] The 2021 Sales Enablement Report

For sales organizations that have been waiting to implement dedicated sales enablement measures — the time is now. With 2021 right around the corner, intentional sales enablement is a must-have for organizations that want to remain competitive in the future.

HubSpot recently sat down with Chris Pope, Director of Sales at Crayon, to discuss how companies can implement sales enablement strategies that can move the needle and drive revenue growth.

“Crayon defines sales enablement as providing our account executives with the resources and content they need to win more deals. Closing deals is more important than ever, especially in today’s competitive market where there are fewer deals to close,” he says.

In 2020, Crayon placed even greater emphasis on sales enablement to support their sales force. “We’ve put even more effort into making sure that our sales teams have the resources they need, simply because every deal matters more than ever,” says Pope.

How to Improve Sales Enablement for Your Team

1. Use data to inform your sales enablement content.

Crayon uses data to inform sales enablement decisions. According to Pope, his team relies on “velocity reports” to determine what areas of the sales process reps need the most support with.

“Velocity reports tell us what our reps conversion rates are at every stage of the sales funnel. How many opportunities are turning into discovery calls? How many discovery calls are turning into demos? How many demos are turning into proposals? And how many proposals do we send out that turn into closed business?” says Pope.

“We leverage that data to inform us where each individual rep needs to spend the most time, and where managers need to spend time training individual contributors.”

From an organizational level, this approach helps sales leaders know how to support sales managers and reps, and provides valuable insight into the type of training and content would be most effective.

Two examples of enablement content Crayon leadership has provided to their sales team include:

Call Recordings

“We love call recordings. We not only have call recordings of what the perfect call sounds like, we also have recordings of ideal discovery calls, effective demos, and successful closing calls. We share these recordings with reps who may need help in those areas, and we share them broadly across the organization so everyone is on the same page,” Pope says.

Battle Cards

Battle cards are a valuable tool for preparing reps to speak to features and objections related to your product. Crayon relies heavily on battle cards to ensure sales reps understand what they’re selling inside and out.

“We use our own product to make sure that our individual contributors have the most up to date messaging on how we position against our competition. This knowledge has been crucial not only for our organization, but for our customers as well,” says Pope.

2. Focus on sales team culture.

Chances are, you’re familiar with the term “company culture” — the idea that a company should have a shared set of beliefs, values, and practices. But when was the last time you assessed the culture of your sales team?

Sales teams are often dynamic organizations with motivated team members whose ability to sell is critical to the health of a company. Building strong rapport among members of the sales team and having a culture of open communication, especially in a remote environment, is an effective way to support sales enablement.

Feeling supported and included while selling remotely can be challenging for reps. For Crayon, sales team cohesion is a high priority.

“We’ve done our best to create a team atmosphere. We have daily calls where the entire sales team is on together, we have a peer program where our more experienced reps are paired with less experienced reps to offer coaching and mentorship, and we’re creating cross-functional opportunities for our pipeline generation team to work closer with our closing team,” says Pope.

These activities build trust across the team, and strengthen communication among sales managers and reps, creating a better environment to tackle sales enablement issues as they arise.

3. Prioritize sales enablement at each level of the organization.

At Crayon, sales enablement is an all-hands-on-deck initiative from the top down.

“Sales enablement is a team effort at Crayon. It starts at the top with our Senior Vice President of Sales, who delivers insight on broad topics and training related to overarching sales themes such as a demo workflow, or how to run a closing call,” says Pope.

“The managers and directors are responsible for individual training tailored to the needs of their reps. This can include listening in on at least a few calls for each individual contributor weekly, and providing regular feedback.”

In addition to the sales enablement work of leadership, Crayon focuses heavily on team selling to get everyone involved.

“If one of our reps is great at positioning our product against a competitor’s or they’re strong at demoing a certain aspect of our platform, we’ll invite their team members to tune into their sales calls so they can learn from them.”

Everybody within the organization plays a role in our sales enablement.

In 2020, sales managers at Crayon took a hands-on approach to coaching reps who had opportunities for improvement.

“We’ve really made it a focus to make sure managers are involved in more calls. Managers are putting time aside to give individual contributors and feedback that they need after calls, and benchmarking performance after every stage of the sales cycle,” says Pope.

According to Pope, if a rep is struggling with a specific part of the sales process, Crayon’s team will “focus our training on the specific aspect of the process they’re struggling with to help them improve and get their overall win rate up.”

4. Don’t wait to give feedback.

When sales managers and seasoned team members are coaching reps, the Crayon team makes it a point to provide feedback quickly.

For example, if Pope were to listen in to a rep’s sales call with a prospect, he would schedule 15 minutes with the rep right after the call to deliver feedback on how it went.

“When you let time pass, the call is not as fresh in the rep’s mind, and your feedback is not going to be as direct as it would be if you delivered it right away.”

5. Make sure sales managers feel supported.

Sales managers often have a lot on their plate. They are responsible for coaching and leading their reps to success, and are accountable for their team’s performance to leadership. For growing companies, relieving pressure from sales managers is crucial for a healthy organization.

“As you continue to scale your teams you don’t want your managers to feel overwhelmed. You want to make sure they have enough time in the day to give every individual contributor the attention that they need to to perform their best.” says Pope.

Pope says Crayon focuses on conscious staffing and resourcing to avoid sales manager burnout:

“If we know we’re going to hire a new group of sales reps, we make sure we already have enough managers in place who have the bandwidth to lead.

So when those people start we don’t have a new manager meeting new reps, we have experienced managers working with new reps, and we make sure that team members have the data they need to understand what their path to success will be as an individual contributor.”

Improving Team Morale in 2021

Per HubSpot’s 2021 Sales Enablement Report, 40% of sales leaders expected to miss their revenue targets this year. That means sales enablement efforts are not only necessary for growth — they are critical for survival.

In a competitive landscape where sales teams are working with volatile markets and buyer uncertainty, keeping morale high is more challenging than ever. Pope shares why communication is Crayon’s greatest tool for keeping employees engaged.

“Morale has been all over the map for different members of the team. At Crayon, we never go a day without checking in on our reps,” he says. “I try to at least have two times a day where I’m asking them how their days are going, what they’ve been working on, what calls have gone well, what calls haven’t gone well, and asking how can I continue to support them.”

This approach to communication happens at the organizational level as well.

“Crayon has done a really great job of communicating, being honest about when we might go back into the office, and making sure we’re meeting with folks who are concerned about not having an office atmosphere to make sure that they’re comfortable with their remote work setup,” says Pope.

If you’re looking for more advice on boosting sales rep productivity and morale, check out this post for advice from an Aircall sales leader on navigating employee fatigue.

By: Lestraundra Alfred @writerlest

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HubSpot

Learn more about Sales Enablement: Why You Need Sales Enablement: https://clickhubspot.com/Sales-Enable… The Sales Enablement Certification will teach you how to develop a marketing-driven sales enablement strategy. This course was designed with marketing managers in mind, but other marketers, as well as sales leaders, can benefit from learning the principles involved in this approach to sales enablement.

This course is made up of 12 classes and a 60-question exam. Completing this course will help you: 1. Align your marketing and sales teams around business-level goals 2. Define your target customer using buyer personas and Jobs to Be Done 3. Implement marketing processes that will provide your sales team with a steady flow of qualified leads 📔 Grow Your Career and Business with HubSpot Academy: https://clickhubspot.com/Popular-Courses 📔 Favorite Free Certification Courses: • Social Media Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Social-Media… • SEO Training Course: https://clickhubspot.com/SEO-Training… • Inbound Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Cert… • Inbound Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Mark… • Email Marketing Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Email-Market… • Inbound Sales Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Inbound-Sale… • Taking your Business Online Course: https://clickhubspot.com/Business-Online

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