5 Challenges During COVID-19 & How to Solve Them

Your business needs have undoubtedly changed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. Organizations in all industries are affected by economic changes, some more heavily than others. One thing is for certain, we could all use a glimmer of hope amidst the uncertainty the year has brought. When it comes to the current state of your business, we have compiled five of the most common challenges our clients have seen, combined with research from the PwC. We investigate each and the method of attack to help you start shifting from surviving to thriving.

Challenge #1: Keeping a group motivated after an incentive trip is postponed or canceled

Incentive travel plans have been heavily disrupted, and in many cases pushed to a “TBD” status until more information is known about a vaccine for COVID-19. As much as 54% of survey respondents from a recent Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) study would cancel a trip due to a pandemic in the surrounding region. Simultaneously, people are still craving travel-related activities and experiences. Your incentive program winners, whether employees or channel partners, want to be recognized for their achievements and performance during the qualification period – sooner rather than later. When it comes to your top-performers, you will miss the mark if you wait to reward them appropriately.

As business goals change, so do your targets, qualifiers, and time periods for your sales or channel partner incentive programs. You have options to ensure winners maintain momentum and continue to be inspired to meet their new goals. Creative Group can quickly transition a previously scheduled group incentive trip into an individual program with the right set of rewards, ranging from unique travel experiences to high-end electronics. Individual travel offers longer-term expirations and includes something for everyone, from a relaxed family trip to the Bahamas to an adventurous and scenic driving experience with a Porsche. Take a look at this example of how we pivoted a group travel incentive trip for a client just weeks into the pandemic.

Challenge #2: The need to collaborate when being physically face-to-face is not possible

Humans are hard-wired for connection, and let’s face it – sometimes a regular conference call, even with video, won’t cut it. “Engagement” is now a buzzword as businesses navigate this entirely new structure, figuring out how to maintain a level of participation needed to make an event pay off in the end. Return on investment, in addition to keeping people connected, is key in adjusting to the current situation.

Virtual experiences, small gatherings, or a mixture of the two (referred to as hybrid events) are now being explored by leaders who, in many cases, have never been a part of planning anything other than 100% face-to-face, in-person events. With all the different types of technologies and solutions out there, it can be hard to determine the best one for your particular situation. And it would be a miss to focus solely on the technology and overlook the entire participant experience. Creative Group’s proprietary i|xperience® design approach coupled with trusted technology allows us to approach your meeting, event, or incentive program with a focus on the full participant journey. Our immersive approach to creating virtual (and face-to-face) events will keep your audience participating, highly immersed in content, and generating ROI. We will curate the most effective and memorable experiences for your participants, employing both digital and physical elements. It is more effective than simply shifting an entire physical event to a webcast format. Find out more about our virtual experience solutions.

Challenge #3: Adapting to an ever-changing competitive landscape

Competition is fierce during an economic downturn, and these changes mean a decline in demand for certain products and services (e.g. movie theaters) and a rise in demand for others (e.g. streaming services). Businesses in all industries are experiencing some form of increased competitive pressure due to COVID-19.

As we explore the ability for businesses to remain flexible, maintaining an agile and informed sales team is key. How can this be accomplished? Offering a reward program is proven as a competitive advantage alone. Already have a program in place? Consider ramping up your program by expanding your reward options to give people more to choose from. As the reward component is even more important in times of uncertainty, let your audience know that the rewards in place are not going away, especially when everyone needs an extra push to keep them motivated.

Challenge #4: Inspiring a reduced and fragile workforce or channel partner

Whether your employee base has been furloughed, on reduced hours, or dealing with general job uncertainty, now is the time to recalibrate and reap the benefits with an incentive program. If you already have a program in place, take the time to refine your rewards for post-pandemic recovery.

Schedule a virtual town hall or team huddle to bring everyone together to realign and collaborate on the next steps. If everyone feels as though they are a part of the decision-making process, they will be more likely to feel confident in the changes made and appreciate the transparency.

Challenge #5: Shifting product offerings due to inventory issues or changes in fulfillment

Inventory concerns are growing for many businesses during the economic downturn we are experiencing. Whether you are overstocked or understocked on a product or offering a new solution, the need to sell more of a specific product is growing.

We have implemented reward programs with the ability to add immediate bonus opportunities (i.e. SPIFF) to make a difference in these situations. For example, you may launch a program that rewards the first 10 salespeople to successfully order an overstocked item within the month of August. Participants will strive to see their name on the top of the leaderboard. They will see a curated catalog of merchandise, future trips, or experiences they can select from once they earn that top position. Even better, show the group some options of what they can earn with the points awarded for the SPIFF. Adding a knowledge check or two with micro-learning tactics awards your audience with small earnings and educates them along the way. A sales team can only sell what they know, right?

Throughout all the challenges we are faced with, remember to continue connecting through all the digital ways we can right now – your employees, clients, partners, and suppliers will thank you for it. Continued and clear communication now is key to implementing changes and generating future success.

Ready to develop a plan that takes you from surviving to thriving?

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