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Capacity Building For Employees

Capacity Building For Employees

After the last round of performance appraisals, your human resources team suggested capacity building for employees in the sales department. While having your staff hard it work and converting new clients is your priority, you cannot underestimate the value of additional training for the sales team. Most companies will train new staff upon hiring while others require new hires to catch up on their own. On the job training saves time from hard training sessions but it can also be costly down the road.

Take an example of a poorly trained sales representative. The sales representative can only perform as far as their skills will allow them. The chances are that they will perform dismally for a consecutive number of weeks and probably make a dent in your sales numbers. This negative impact will force your hand to pay a little more attention to your sales team.

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You may be wondering, how do I train my team without halting operations? In this article, we discuss various ways that employees can partake capacity building training without interfering with their regular assignment.

Early morning

The first one or two hours of the day are suitable for training as most clients are yet to report to work. If your sales team usually report to the office first before heading out to the field, encourage them to have seminars early in the morning before the pressures of the day kick in. Driven employees should have no qualms about reporting to work a little early if this effort helps them horn their skills.

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While sales employees may have a retainer, the bulk of their income comes from direct sales efforts in the form of commission checks computed on the basis of their closed sales. A great training can turn introverts into the champions of the team.

Lunch hour

Employees are entitled to a one-hour lunch break to have a meal and stretch their legs or just catch up with colleagues. You can gather your sales staff in the boardroom for a webinar or PowerPoint presentation on the best sales tactics. Motivate them to attend this training by offering healthy snacks to the first ten sales reps to walk through the boardroom door. Alternatively, you can have a brown bag lunch in the break room or by the fountain in the yard of your office building.

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After work

If gathering your sales team during the day proves difficult due to erratic schedules and field assignments, you may want to try training them after 5pm. Any employee who understands the value of this training will hold off on excuses such as a routine dental appointment or spin class.

After-work training is likely to be more fruitful as there are fewer distractions from clients and colleagues from the other departments. What’s mire, you can have that executive boardroom and its state-of-the-art conferencing facilities all to yourself; go an extra mile and invite a training expert to give a lecture on your chosen topic.

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During weekends

If all else fails, consider training your sales staff over the weekend when things have cooled down a notch. Try Saturday mornings or afternoons for a solid training session. Be conscious of the fact that you are occupying your staff’s weekend, so avoid stretching out the training beyond the agreed duration. Make it a little fun and interactive by dividing the staff into groups and having an ideation session on a topic of your choice. Have each team put up their sticky notes on the whiteboard and go through each idea they suggest.

This way, your sales reps will share ideas on what works for them and what does not. Involving them in this scale helps them own the responsibility to deliver world-class performance through teamwork.

Conclusion

Training your employees is not a one-off exercise but rather something you should do more frequently. Make use of technology to keep the conversations going. For instance, you can set up webinars or sign them up for online training with external tutors on a quarterly basis. Remember to incentivize your sales team when they hit their targets. Incentives can be in the form of commissions, team building retreats, certificate of recognition. Incentives will boost the morale of the team and encourage competition in the team.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com/en/tie-necktie-adjust-adjusting-man-690084/ via pixabay.com

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Vikas Agrawal

Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

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Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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