LINCOLN: Towards a new omnichannel paradigm in professional services ?

The new coronavirus has been a life-changing event from all of us, globally.

It has created unprecedent changes in our daily life, impacting our way of living, working, consuming and organizing our social activities. It has changed our communication channels and has accelerated our use of technology, forcing us to be creative in our daily interactions.

Few days ago, one of my client in the FMCG industry was sharing that consumers were rethinking their purchasing decisions into more rational and responsible habits. Seemingly, we are observing some new trends emerging among our teams and talents. Some may vanish when the crisis will be over, but some others are definitely here to stay.

The Omnichannel concept which emerged the last few years within the Consumer industry may now apply to professional services.

1)    An extended collaboration facilitated by technology

The crisis has accelerated the need for online communication and collaboration within the workplace and with external partners. Covid-19 has been a huge digital transformation catalyst.

We are more than ever reliant on technology to ensure business continuity. This period is a good time to assess our own internal tools in order to be agile and improve quickly. Microsoft Teams by adding new features day by day gives us a good example leading the way. Within the workplace, we are seeing a huge increase of formally organized digital communication. Interactions with team members are eased by the use of group chat for instance. Team members are sharing very diverse content, from videos, photos, memes, quotes to useful tips and information, leading to an informal way of communicating which let them feel closer to each other, regardless of the seniority and status. Hierarchical barriers are getting blurred.

Gradually, we realize that e-meetings, e-conferences, webinars, e-interviews are not that bad after all. It is found to be more convenient and efficient than expected, and even allows to create new connections. Companies have been constrained to rethink their traveling plans for their Executives & Managers and will reassess their budget planning on travels in the new environment. Flying around the world to sign a contract and come back seems outdated. This event has been a distance equalizer. We are all from one Zoom link away from each other after all, which opens an ocean of new opportunities!

One nuance should be done on that point. The usage of e-meeting is efficient; however, in our near future, we believe that face-to-face meetings will remain necessary to build trust and long-lasting relationships, and handling sensitive topics.

Remote interviewing is becoming embedded: hiring managers are becoming better at conducting e-interviews and, talents are getting at ease being e-interviewees. We believe a big portion off the recruitment process will now be conducted through online meetings.

However, online on-boarding remains quite complex for both new employees, HR department and direct managers.

2)    Need for purpose and more meaningful connections

Telecommuting is now accepted and here to stay. Talents across the globe can create flexible, informal, creative and interpersonal online connections that become enjoyable. We are getting smarter about how we communicate, how we manage teams, and how we make our daily work enjoyable.

We can set our own timelines, dress codes and add some personal touch in our video meetings with teammates, talents and clients. This creates stronger bond. Connections seems easier, faster, more genuine and meaningful. Companies will benefit from this new opportunity of building more connection, collaboration, creativity and generosity among the team.

We are giving our work and interactions a deeper purpose, reassessing the impact we want to achieve. This new norm enables leaders a good opportunity to connect deeper with their team: learning more in-depth about their interests, goals, values and motivations. These interactions are crucial especially in such challenging times.

As a result, a more intimate and connected workplace is starting to emerge.

3)    A need to create a more flexible, efficient and enjoyable workplace

Once children will get back to school, people will be able to adapt their schedule at their own convenience. Time can be better invested in e-learning or e-training rather than commuting from home to office. Thus, more positive energy arises to start the day, resulting in more productive hours.

Efficiency has also increased. Video meetings have been found more efficient internally and externally, starting on time with a clear agenda and less room to “chit chat”. Meetings are shorter and should be kept shorter to boost the efficiency.

The need to make more connection and to create an enjoyable workplace will also result in organizing more gathering between team. To keep the motivation high, having supportive and empathic leaders and mentors also become a priority. Celebrations, after hours events, day time activities will have to emerge as the new norm in our workplace environment, to keep promoting this bonding and well-being new world. I’m sure everyone has enjoyed the last few weeks their very own virtual Friday pubs!

Conclusion

Although we are still in this global sanitarian crisis, things seem to start getting better. From our Talents Agents perspective, we believe those trends appeared the past few weeks may become new norms in the future workplace environment.

Growth mindset is more important than ever. This is a time where we should all leverage on our growth purpose and reflect about how we adapt and what to put in place to become stronger and to fit in this fast-moving new work environment. We should all take this opportunity to redefine and redesign our goals and purpose; to rethink our jobs in order to make them more meaningful, exciting and enjoyable; building stronger bonds within team, promoting creativity, collaboration, caring and generosity in our daily environment.

This leaves us with room for reflection and rethink about our current and future situation. What have you learned from this global real-life experiment? What will you implement post crisis that you have embraced in this unprecedented period?

The best is yet to come!

Leonard Canitrot & Maude Martinez

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