After over a year of grim reports, the news headlines are now finally turning positive. The world at large has emerged on the other side of the pandemic, and in India, it appears that the number of cases are abating.
Earlier this year, during our ‘lockdown anniversary’ in March 2021, the news was heavily populated with hints of an economic bounce back. Now that we’ve come further into the year, a look back at the numbers reflect that the economy has indeed taken a turn for the better. With a GDP growth of over 20% in the April-June quarter of this fiscal year, markets on an all-time high, credit formation starting, government disinvestment announced, India Inc is quickly catching up with its pre-pandemic goals.
Building back big: What is the need of the hour?
Despite the silver lining, the lockdowns were not easy on people. There was loss of livelihoods, people lost their loved ones, and overall, the headlines were full of gloom and doom. The combination of these factors undoubtedly dampened consumer demand on a global scale, and subsequently also impacted business and investment sentiment.
But now that we are forging ahead on the path to recovery, what is the need of the hour for business organizations who want to build back big? The answer lies in the renewed sense of optimism that has replaced pandemic-related negativity.
With consumer demand rising and economic growth back on track, I believe that businesses need to focus on two key areas — empathy at scale, and infectious impatience to employ best practices across the economy. This is also the right time to switch focus from just paper currency to “motivational currency” across the business ecosystem.
Here is how I believe organizations can build back big using the above mantras.
Building empathy at scale
During any kind of crisis, it is empathy that makes an organization stand out among its competition and society, at large. People may forget the businesses that made big bucks or tripled their revenues but they will always remember the organizations that stood by their side and empathized with them during the bad times.
Empathy is important during a crisis, but it is even more relevant once the bad times have passed. There are many ways in which businesses can practice empathy today, across different organizational divisions. Top among these is easy digital access. People are still apprehensive about contact-based solutions. Digital touchpoints across the consumer journey can go a long way in ensuring consumer safety and comfort. The same goes for partners and employees who are working remotely, yet are connected through digital touchpoints, be it for consumer interaction, onboarding or training. To ensure overall health and wellness, over the last year and a half, organisations have displayed a willingness to go out of the way to assist their workforce with measures like COVID-related assistance and vaccination drives. I only see this trend increasing further for sustenance and productivity.
Comprehensive and infectious impatience to bring out the best
Organizations can also capitalize on the massive growth phase we are in right now with an infectious impatience to implement the best business practices. There is no time to wait around for someone else to take the lead. Many businesses have identified what its stakeholders need most, and are proactively carrying out measures to meet those requirements.
For example, one way to capture the interest of customers and prospects is to give users anytime, anywhere and anyhow access to solutions that resolve their needs. It not only makes the journey highly convenient for them, but also motivates them to rely on your products and services because they see you as an entity that understands them.
This infectious impatience should also be visible in all areas of business functions, and that includes the workforce too. One way your organization can be a part of the future is by investing in diversity hiring. And this encompasses traditional practices like upskilling your existing employees to meet the new digital demand wave, as well as gig arrangements that allow your organization to keep pace with the future. Jobs and roles have become location agnostic, and it is time to look beyond an employee’s coordinates on a map and focus instead on their skill sets, plus what they can bring by way of making a difference.
People-centric business decisions
The last piece of the puzzle to truly motivate the people involved in your business is to make sure that your business decisions impact them positively. This paradigm shift is only possible when organizations completely overhaul their decision-making processes. The end goal is no longer merely to give people a cash reward at the end of the year. Motivational currency is the new end goal, and people-centric decisions can give every business the edge they need to create a positive organizational culture and a highly inclusive work ethic.
To be a leader in the new world we’ve emerged in, businesses need to build oneness and inclusivity for every person within the organizational ecosystem. Ultimately, it is this kind of motivational and empathetic leadership that will result in fantastic outcomes — like greater talent retention, a higher enthusiasm to learn and contribute to the organization’s success, and the ability to innovate and build sustainable, resilient practices in this post pandemic next normal.
– Kayzad Hiramanek, Chief-Operations & Customer Experience, Bajaj Allianz Life