New initiatives ensure business as usual
Gilchrist Connell acted quickly and pre-emptively before the enforced shut-down, moving all staff to remote working on March 17. This enabled the firm to minimise disruption for clients and maintain pre-COVID-19 service levels.
“We’re really pleased to have made the move while preserving our full contingent of staff and conditions. It helped that we have a highly collaborative culture and many of us already work flexibly, but this was a whole new game. We applied a practical and positive approach to effect this ‘new normal’ almost seamlessly across the board – thanks to a full team effort and our excellent tech and systems – as well as plenty of burnt midnight oil!” said Managing Principal Richard Wood.
Since the move, the firm has implemented a number of new initiatives to maintain ‘business as usual’, including:
Regular and transparent communication
Transparency and managing communication is key, ensuring relevant information is regularly shared, including financial performance. Firm-wide videoconferences have been set up to present guidelines and assist with remote working issues. Presentations have been run enabling people to anonymously submit their curly questions and receive a direct response. This offers a valuable opportunity for issues to be raised that might otherwise go unaddressed.
Training and support
Training and prepared guidelines have been provided to support working parents through the new home schooling regime they’re taking on. It’s appreciated that kids and pets are a reality within the new remote office environment and unplanned interruptions during calls and video conferences are made to feel welcome. To help manage the challenges of operating in this new way, systems have been set up so that people can communicate about their adjusted availability, modify their hours as required, and be better supported in their new arrangements – so that they, in turn, can better support clients.
The firm is also still investing in talent to support clients in these challenging times. Three new staff have started with us in growth positions, including one to strengthen our People & Development team, which will boost resources to support staff in the months ahead and in the future.
“Our people have done an incredible job in transitioning to the new way of operating. Their flexibility and responsiveness was already part of our standard way of working, but we’ve really seen it come to the fore with the systems we were able to put in place to support them. We haven’t had to ask anyone to reduce their hours, or take leave, or take a salary cut. In fact, we just paid our quarterly staff incentive for FYQ3,” explained Richard.
So – where to from here? The firm is being conservative, but also optimistic and future-oriented – working closely with clients, rewarding staff for their hard work and continuing to make plans for not only a COVID world, but also the post-COVID one.
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