It was my misfortune at the time, but ultimately one of my greatest lessons, to lead a business into the Global Financial Crisis in 2007 and develop first-hand experience of a paradigm-shifting economic downturn.
That’s not to say that I was prepared for this pandemic. The onset of Covid-19 was nothing like 2007 – everything happened so quickly and within a matter of days we had progressed from forecasting a record-breaking year for the business to having conversations about furloughing staff. This speed of change was totally unexpected and, to use the most over-used word of 2020, unprecedented. But we were able to fall back on lessons we learned in the past.
The worst thing you can do in a crisis is to become paralysed by indecision. And so, we took the decision to be responsive at every stage of the pandemic. We were amongst the first to lock down in March, the first to get back to physical offices at the start of June. We were also quick to onboard technologies that would enable us, not just to operate with people working remotely, but to continue to deliver the same high standards of service, with call monitoring and compliance checks. Some businesses put off decision making during a crisis – but that is precisely the time when you need to be decisive.
Communication is also crucial. It can take guts to stick your neck out and communicate proactively, when nobody really knows what is around the corner, but it also demonstrates leadership. Throughout the first lockdown we published a weekly vlog with updates on the latest developments in the market. This approach went down really well in the market and we have continued it on a less frequent basis. More importantly, however, if provided us with a regular communication platform to keep our people informed and connected.
If there is one lesson that any business should take, it’s the importance of looking after your people. Don’t just pay lip service to the idea – a healthy culture is something you have to create; it doesn’t just happen. At times of crisis, it can be easy to take your eye off of this particular ball, but it’s so important to stay focused. If there is any single reason behind the growth or our business, it is the collective efforts of our people.
From our experience, proactive decision making and clear communication both provide a supportive framework for people in times of uncertainty, and we are really pleased that this approach has helped us to weather the storm of this pandemic, and even grow our team for the future.
FOR INTERMEDIARIES ONLY AND NOT INTENDED FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC
Source: Mortgage Introducer