The Working Model is Changing, Are You Ready?

What’s the best post-pandemic working model — remote, hybrid or in-office? Workers and their employers don’t always agree on how to answer that question. The “we’ve always done it this way” approach has worked in the electrical industry for what seems to be forever, but it isn’t going to work for long.  I hear my clients say, “My team can’t work from home…You can’t do this role from home”, etc.  But what about those who can? Many sales and operations roles have been done remotely at some point in the last two years…the more forward-thinking companies have made the switch to a full-time work from home strategy, or hybrid flex schedule and are just now starting to quantify that switch. Roles such as sales, marketing, project management, operations, finance, human resources, legal and IT have made a significant shift to a work from home model….and it is working!  I’ve recently seen a shift in even engineering roles being successfully performed remotely.  Surprisingly, the adoption of this strategy has paid off most for the mid-sized organization (less than $500M).  Over the course of 2022, my clients who embrace this new strategy are seeing everything from improved productivity to overall job satisfaction. Some companies have taken advantage of this shift in business to free themselves from real estate that is no longer necessary and, in turn, have seen marked improvements in profitability. I’ve seen more office consolidations and the emergence of new regional technical centers than at any other time.

It’s interesting to note how quickly things have changed. Companies have been forced to redefine how they conduct business. Before Covid, these nontraditional work models were more likely to be viewed as employee perks.

Lack of workplace innovation, insufficient oversight and cultural shifts can be identified as barriers to successful hybrid or remote work, but they’re certainly not insurmountable. With investment in strategy, building culture remotely and the application of technology, organizations can transition to a successful hybrid or remote work environment.

The landscape is changing, the industry will certainly not escape those changes. Are you ready?

Are Distributors Ready to Embrace a Hybrid Work Model?

What’s the best post-pandemic working model — remote, hybrid or in-office? Workers and their employers don’t always agree on how to answer that question. The ‘we’ve always done it this way’ approach has worked in electrical distribution for as long as I’ve been around, but it isn’t going to work for long. Everyone agrees that possibly half of your workforce can’t work from home, you can’t pick orders from home, manage a counter, or deliver product, but what about those who can? Many of your administrative roles have been done remotely at some point in the last two years…the more forward-thinking companies have made the switch to a full-time work from home strategy, or hybrid flex schedule and are just now starting to quantify that switch. Roles such as inside sales, project management, quotations, administrative support roles, finance, human resources, marketing, legal and IT have made a significant shift to a work from home model….and it is working! I have clients who are generating revenues ranging from $50M to over $6B and surprisingly, the adoption of this strategy has paid off most for the mid-sized distributor (less than $500M) Over the course of 2022, my clients who do embrace this new strategy are seeing everything from improved productivity to overall job satisfaction. Some companies have taken advantage of this shift in business to free themselves from real estate that is no longer necessary and in turn have seen marked improvements in profitability. I’ve seen more branch consolidations and the emergence of more and more distribution centers than at any other time in the last 20 years. The landscape is changing, the industry will certainly not escape those changes. Are you ready?

Recently AT&T ran a survey of employees and leaders at large US companies, and the results are telling. This survey was composed of 303 United States-based respondents, 87% above director level, across five key industries, with more than one-million employees represented and 34% with companies over $1 billion in revenue.

Based the survey; 86% of employees would prefer hybrid work while 64% of businesses would prefer a full return to the office. The discrepancy could be rooted in a lack of preparation.

72% of businesses reported having no hybrid strategy and 76% reported not having the right performance indicators to support permanent hybrid work. At the same time, 100% of respondents agree that a hybrid work model will help court talent in one of the tightest labor markets in years.

 

  • Hybrid work isn’t without challenges. For instance, people complained that they were forced to commute three hours roundtrip to work in a cubicle, only to find that the folks they need to collaborate with aren’t even in the office. The person is left feeling frustrated, fuming that they are sending emails and jumping on Zoom calls in the office by themself, when they could have been home, saving the commute time and money for gas.
  • The results reveal that while hybrid is the preferred choice by many businesses, 72% of businesses lack a clear hybrid-work strategy.  The findings also show other sentiments and challenges around Covid-driven hybrid working, including lack of innovation, insufficient oversight, and cultural shifts.
  • Alicia Dietsch, senior vice president of business marketing at AT&T, said about the survey, “There’s been a non-reversible shift in the way business is done thanks to the constraints of Covid-19. It’s clear that a successful talent program now requires a hybrid work policy, but that policy needs to be supported by a strategic tech-first cultural reset, to ensure business growth and competition.” Dietsch pointed out, “Firms need to ask themselves if they have the in-house expertise to achieve this, or whether it’s now time to go beyond a partner in remote infrastructure rollout to a partner in tech-first remote business strategy.”

Highlights Of The AT&T Study

  • Hybrid work will be the default by 2024, half of work will be performed offsite: 81% believe hybrid work will be the foremost working model by 2024, with 56% of work done off site
  • Vast majority of businesses lack a detailed hybrid work strategy:72% lack a detailed strategy and 76% don’t have the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to support hybrid working models
  • Tension between what employees want and what organizations prefer: 86% believe their employees prefer a hybrid work model, but 64% believe their organization prefers an on-premises work model
  • 100% of respondents believe a hybrid work model will help attract young talent

It’s interesting to note how quickly things have changed. Last year redefined how companies conducted business with just 24% of respondents’ employees working onsite. Before Covid-19, these nontraditional work models were more likely to be viewed as employee perks.

Lack of workplace innovation, insufficient oversight and cultural shifts were identified as three barriers to successful hybrid work, but respondents believe they’re not insurmountable. With investment in strategy, building culture remotely and the application of technology—specifically AI—in critical business use-cases, firms can transition to a successful hybrid-first work environment.

The top challenges to effective hybrid work identified by the chief experience officer—a C-suite business executive responsible for a company’s overall experience—include maintaining employee oversight, losing institutional or tribal knowledge, and sustaining company culture—all traditionally highly associated with in-person work.

Mass adoption of new work models has shown to be partially effective, with 79% of firms believing that employees have been productive, although not without resulting challenges, with only 45% confident in employee innovation throughout the period.

Gaurav Pant, cofounder, and chief insights officer at Incisiv, said about artificial intelligence and machine learning, Covid-19 has been the single most transformative event in shaping the future of work. Attitudes toward working models have dramatically transformed over the last 24 months, and the ‘hybrid’ working model will soon become default. Firms need to upgrade their employee technology stack and undergo a cultural reset to prepare for this new normal.”

Artificial intelligence and machine learning were identified as the top transformative technologies in the survey, with their intrinsic value identified specifically in the areas of employee training, intelligent enterprise search and learning and conversational help.

The research shows that while employee productivity is maturing, with high analytics adoption, other areas like revenue leakage and employee retention require further investment. A need for deeper analytics and insights, driven by AI, into both the customer and employee can be accomplished by mining and transforming data from remote conversations and interactions to build new models of operation in targeted business functions.

Businesses moved with urgency to distance employees. Now, we need to do the same when it comes to deploying the tools needed to overcome distance. Closing the gap between a business and their customers and employees should be a priority for every electrical distributor in the industry.

 

Prudence Thompson

Senior Partner, Electrical Distribution Recruiter

Egret Consulting Group www.egretconsulting.com

pt@egretconsulting.com

847-307-7126 office 847-571-7080 cell

https://www.linkedin.com/in/electricaldistributorrecruiter/

 

Read the full Forbes article here

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2022/03/16/hybrid-will-be-the-new-work-style-but-72-of-businesses-lack-a-strategy-atts-future-of-work-study-shows/?sh=135f126e3989

 

Employee Value Proposition

Leading candidates are getting 10+ recruiting calls a day.  We must speak to what will resonate with them, especially in the case of a lateral move.  We’re seeing that strong candidates have on average 3 – 5 solid opportunities on their plate and the differentiation between which they choose to move forward with often comes down to the Employee Value Proposition.

Employee Value Proposition answers the questions:
 

    • Why should prospective candidates come work for your company?
    • What are the set of unique contributions you could make to their lives for a complete, and fulfilling, employee experience?
    • What can you offer them that your competitors can’t?
    • Why would they not only want to join your organization, but also perform their best work for you every day?

     

    Employer brand is how people outside of the organization perceive what it’s like to work there. It’s the sum of the company mission and vision, its culture, and the benefits it can offer employees. The Employee Value Proposition specifically describes the benefits a candidate will receive in exchange for the skills, capabilities and experience they will bring.
     

      • Opportunity (career advancement, challenge and self-improvement, formal training, on-the-job learning, evaluations and feedback, personal development, company growth rate)
      • People (company culture, relationships and camaraderie, reputation of senior leadership, quality of management and coworkers, trust, collaboration, team spirit, team-building activities, and events)
      • Organization (market position, company reputation, quality of product/service, company mission/vision/values, diversity, social responsibility)
      • Work (job-interest alignment, challenging/fulfilling tasks and responsibilities, work-life balance, quality of projects, innovation, intellectual stimulation, impact the role plays in fulfilling the company vision)
      • Rewards (salary, bonuses, health and retirement benefits, disability, holidays and vacation time, paid leave, remote work, tuition benefits, share ownership, and the level and fairness of compensation)

       
      What will make candidates respond to outreach? How will they perceive your organization? What does the role and organization offer that their current company does not? Which tangible benefits (salary, health benefits, PTO) and intangible benefits (recognition, challenging work, flexible environment) that you offer are most important?

      What ultimately made current employees decide to come work for you? Have their expectations of the company been met (or exceeded)? How? What makes your organization unique? What tangible benefits offered by the company are most attractive to them (and why)? What intangible benefits are most attractive to them (and why)? What’s been the most fulfilling thing about working for your org? What would they change if they were in charge?

      What initially drew former employees to your organization? Were their expectations met? Why did they ultimately leave? What did the employee experience lack that would’ve made them stay? What did they appreciate most about working for your organization? What would their advice be to a jobseeker who wanted to know about the company?

      To attract and land the industry’s top talent, you must have an Employee Value Proposition that truly stands out.  It should be compelling and differentiate your organization’s offer from your competitors.  If you cannot immediately articulate your company’s EVP, it’s time to create one or reinvent it to effectively share your story with prospective candidates.

How to Craft the Perfect LinkedIn Profile

With 706+ Million Users in 200 + countries, LinkedIn is the most used social media platform designed specifically for business. In a brief survey I conducted of 100 people in the electrical distribution industry who DO NOT have a LinkedIn profile, 84% visit the website to search the name and background of both new and existing contacts! In this article, I’ll give you step by step instructions to help you stand out amongst your competition. I’ve personally curated a network of 30,000 first level contacts in the industry (the maximum that LinkedIn will allow) and have found that each person I reach out to checks my profile before responding and in recent years, 50% of my new business comes from a company searching for my particular expertise on the site.

Let’s make sure that you are putting your best, professional foot forward when they do.  Following the steps outlined below, you harness the power of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a place for you to build your professional brand, showcase your achievements and skills, share content with other professionals, and connect with colleagues, business partners, and potential employees or employers.

People come across your profile in a variety of ways. They might be searching for employees at your company or in your industry, remember you from a conference and remind themselves about your work, or simply want to know who called them before they respond. No matter how or why they end up on your LinkedIn page, there’s a shared and simple goal: Your LinkedIn profile needs to capture — and keep — their attention.

What is the perfect LinkedIn profile? Ideally, it’s one that gets you noticed for all the right reasons and helps you achieve your goals – whether this means expanding your reach, finding new contacts, or getting a job offer.  And while true perfection isn’t possible, there are steps you can take to help your profile stand out. 

Upload a great profile picture

First up? Upload a great profile picture. Profile pictures should be recent, look like you and your face should take up around 60 percent of the total space. The goal here is to look like you normally look at work, in turn making it easier for prospective contacts who may have only met you virtually to recognize you from your profile picture. In the age of video meetings taking the place of being face to face, it’s even more important that you have a recent photo online. Pictures of a big fish you caught, your spouse or children aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn, better to be used on more personal social media site.

Set a background photo

Along with your profile photo, you can also set a wider background photo that showcases a bit more about you. Here, it’s not as important you’re your face is in the shot, but you want to make it something that’s memorable and tells visitors more about you as a person.

Create a great headline

Your headline can also help boost your profile impact. While this short description is often used for job titles, you can take it a step further by adding a bit more detail about your current role, what it means to you or what you’ve accomplished. Be sure to include your title prior to your headline as to not confuse the person reading your profile. For example,  Regional Sales Manager “Two-time President’s Award Winning Industrial Sales Professional”.

Tell your story

You’ve got a story to tell, and your LinkedIn summary lets you tell it however you want. And while some professionals simply use it as a way to list their recent job titles or most valuable skills, it’s got potential as a way to connect with prospective employers and colleagues by providing more information about who you are.

Sync your profile

It’s also worth syncing your profile with your email address book — though make sure you’ve got company permission if you’re using your assigned work email address. Equipped with this email data, LinkedIn can recommend connections that might share similar interests or offer endorsements for your skills, and since you get to vet all connections, you’re always in control of who gets contacted.

Highlight Your Skills

One of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile is your skill list. The platform makes it easy to search and select skills that match your experience and expertise, but this comes with a word of caution: The sheer number of skills available on LinkedIn makes it easy to go overboard and inundate your profile with talents that are only tangentially related to current or prospective work. While highlighting your skills is critical, make sure they’re relevant.

Share relevant content

Speaking of relevancy, profiles don’t exist in a vacuum. As a result, it’s worth sharing relevant content, such as thought leadership posts you’ve created yourself or those from industry influencers as part of your profile page. If potential connections find and click through on great content from your profile, they’re more likely to come back.

Stay connected

It’s also a good idea to stay connected once your profile is up and running. Stop by for at least 15 minutes a week to see what you’ve missed, make comments on relevant stories and answer any messages. You can also have your LinkedIn alerts sent to your chosen email address or by downloading their app directly to your cell phone.

Post new content

Put simply? While a solid LinkedIn profile is a great start, it requires regular maintenance to perform over time.  Although LinkedIn is distinctly different from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, it still relies on content updates to keep things fresh and interesting. As a result, it’s worth posting new content — either material you’ve created on your own for public consumption or the work of other leaders in your industry that you find interesting, and you can add 1 or 2 sentences that summarize what you liked about their article.

Go public

If you want connections to find you and potential customers track you down, you need to make your profile public. It’s an easy process: Head to your LinkedIn page and click on the “Me” button under your profile picture at the top of the page, then select “View Profile”. Now, you’ll see an option for Edit Public Profile and URL — select this option and you can toggle your public profile status on and off, and control who can see your profile picture. 

Create a custom URL

While you’re on the Edit Profile and URL page, it’s worth customizing your URL to make finding your profile easier. When you join LinkedIn, you’ll typically be assigned a URL that contains parts of your first and last name along with a random string of numbers. Where possible, remove the numbers and make your URL your full first and last name. If this is taken, try adding a middle initial or the industry you work in. 

Request recommendations

Although skill endorsements are great to highlight your areas of expertise, recommendations take things to the next level with a personalized testimonial about time spent working together, projects completed, or skills developed. Consider reaching out to close contacts for recommendations that are relevant to your current role.

Spotlight your services

Maybe you have specialized certifications or training that sets you apart from the crowd.  Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to highlight these services and let people know that you’re more than just your job — you’re a talented, interesting, and knowledgeable individual that brings significant value to your customers.

Curate your network

Big networks are great. Networks that are too big, however, can take focus away from the primary purpose of your profile: Connecting with like-minded and skilled individuals to expand your industry impact and potentially advance your career. The result? Make sure to occasionally curate your network so your profile remains aligned with your goals.

Make regular improvements

Last but not least? Don’t let your profile sit idle for too long. In addition to regularly interacting with the site to make new posts and engage with new connections, it’s a good idea to regularly update your profile with new information about your current job, new skills you’ve obtained, or projects you’ve completed. Not only does this demonstrate consistency, but it also shows that you’re continuing to grow and learn — something prospective customers are always looking for.

Feel free to visit my profile for inspiration!

https://www.linkedin.com/in/electricaldistributorrecruiter/

 

How to Create the Perfect LinkedIn Profile

With 706+ million users in 200+ countries, LinkedIn is the most used social media platform designed specifically for business. In a brief survey of 100 people in the electrical industry who DO NOT have LinkedIn profiles, 84% visit the website to search the name and background of both new and existing contacts! In this article, we will give you step by step instructions to help you stand out amongst your competition. Our recruiters have curated networks with tens of thousands of first level contacts in the industry.  We found that most people will read our profiles before responding and in recent years, 50% of new business comes from a company searching for a particular expertise on the site.

Let’s make sure that you are putting your best, professional foot forward when they do.  Following the steps outlined below, you harness the power of your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a place for you to build your professional brand, showcase your achievements and skills, share content with other professionals, and connect with colleagues, business partners, and potential employees or employers.

People come across your profile in a variety of ways. They might be searching for employees at your company or in your industry, remember you from a conference and remind themselves about your work, or simply want to know who called them before they respond. No matter how or why they end up on your LinkedIn page, there’s a shared and simple goal: Your LinkedIn profile needs to capture — and keep — their attention.

What is the perfect LinkedIn profile? Ideally, it’s one that gets you noticed for all the right reasons and helps you achieve your goals – whether this means expanding your reach, finding new contacts, or getting a job offer.  And while true perfection isn’t possible, there are steps you can take to help your profile stand out.

 

Upload a great profile picture

First up? Upload a great profile picture. Profile pictures should be recent, look like you and your face should take up around 60 percent of the total space. The goal here is to look like you normally look at work, in turn making it easier for prospective contacts who may have only met you virtually to recognize you from your profile picture. In the age of video meetings taking the place of being face to face, it’s even more important that you have a recent photo online. Pictures of a big fish you caught, your spouse or children aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn, better to be used on more personal social media site.

Set a background photo

Along with your profile photo, you can also set a wider background photo that showcases a bit more about you. Here, it’s not as important you’re your face is in the shot, but you want to make it something that’s memorable and tells visitors more about you as a person.

Create a great headline

Your headline can also help boost your profile impact. While this short description is often used for job titles, you can take it a step further by adding a bit more detail about your current role, what it means to you or what you’ve accomplished. Be sure to include your title prior to your headline as to not confuse the person reading your profile. For example,  Regional Sales Manager “Two-time President’s Award Winning Industrial Sales Professional”.

Tell your story

You’ve got a story to tell, and your LinkedIn summary lets you tell it however you want. And while some professionals simply use it as a way to list their recent job titles or most valuable skills, it’s got potential as a way to connect with prospective employers and colleagues by providing more information about who you are.

Sync your profile

It’s also worth syncing your profile with your email address book — though make sure you’ve got company permission if you’re using your assigned work email address. Equipped with this email data, LinkedIn can recommend connections that might share similar interests or offer endorsements for your skills, and since you get to vet all connections, you’re always in control of who gets contacted.

Highlight Your Skills

One of the most important parts of your LinkedIn profile is your skill list. The platform makes it easy to search and select skills that match your experience and expertise, but this comes with a word of caution: The sheer number of skills available on LinkedIn makes it easy to go overboard and inundate your profile with talents that are only tangentially related to current or prospective work. While highlighting your skills is critical, make sure they’re relevant.

Share relevant content

Speaking of relevancy, profiles don’t exist in a vacuum. As a result, it’s worth sharing relevant content, such as thought leadership posts you’ve created yourself or those from industry influencers as part of your profile page. If potential connections find and click through on great content from your profile, they’re more likely to come back.

Stay connected

It’s also a good idea to stay connected once your profile is up and running. Stop by for at least 15 minutes a week to see what you’ve missed, make comments on relevant stories and answer any messages. You can also have your LinkedIn alerts sent to your chosen email address or by downloading their app directly to your cell phone.

Post new content

Put simply? While a solid LinkedIn profile is a great start, it requires regular maintenance to perform over time.  Although LinkedIn is distinctly different from social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, it still relies on content updates to keep things fresh and interesting. As a result, it’s worth posting new content — either material you’ve created on your own for public consumption or the work of other leaders in your industry that you find interesting, and you can add 1 or 2 sentences that summarize what you liked about their article.

Go public

If you want connections to find you and potential customers track you down, you need to make your profile public. It’s an easy process: Head to your LinkedIn page and click on the “Me” button under your profile picture at the top of the page, then select “View Profile”. Now, you’ll see an option for Edit Public Profile and URL — select this option and you can toggle your public profile status on and off, and control who can see your profile picture. 

Create a custom URL

While you’re on the Edit Profile and URL page, it’s worth customizing your URL to make finding your profile easier. When you join LinkedIn, you’ll typically be assigned a URL that contains parts of your first and last name along with a random string of numbers. Where possible, remove the numbers and make your URL your full first and last name. If this is taken, try adding a middle initial or the industry you work in. 

Request recommendations

Although skill endorsements are great to highlight your areas of expertise, recommendations take things to the next level with a personalized testimonial about time spent working together, projects completed, or skills developed. Consider reaching out to close contacts for recommendations that are relevant to your current role.

Spotlight your services

Maybe you have specialized certifications or training that sets you apart from the crowd.  Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to highlight these services and let people know that you’re more than just your job — you’re a talented, interesting, and knowledgeable individual that brings significant value to your customers.

Curate your network

Big networks are great. Networks that are too big, however, can take focus away from the primary purpose of your profile: Connecting with like-minded and skilled individuals to expand your industry impact and potentially advance your career. The result? Make sure to occasionally curate your network so your profile remains aligned with your goals.

Make regular improvements

Last but not least? Don’t let your profile sit idle for too long. In addition to regularly interacting with the site to make new posts and engage with new connections, it’s a good idea to regularly update your profile with new information about your current job, new skills you’ve obtained, or projects you’ve completed. Not only does this demonstrate consistency, but it also shows that you’re continuing to grow and learn — something prospective customers are always looking for.