Senior Leadership through Covid-19 – continued

In partnership with Foulger Underwood, we are facilitating fortnightly conference calls for clients and other interested senior leaders to share best practice and challenges. This article provides a summary of the key points discussed on the latest call, previous summaries can be found here.

STRATEGY

  • Weekly board meetings (instead of monthly) – that are much more concise and fluid with current focus on cashflow and resourcing.
  • One firm has shifted main board meetings from quarterly to monthly and will never go back to face to face again, as they are shorter and more effective.
  • Space planning is being looked at – most firms looking to save around 25-30% + in office space, with significant cost savings.
  • A number of new office projects have been cancelled as it has made firms realise they don’t need the additional space, with huge financial savings.

PEOPLE

Furlough

  • A marked increase in numbers for most since early April. Firms have tended to furlough in two rounds, with a third round in early May, a significant proportion of staff furloughed are business support and facilities.
  • No plans to bring people back just yet, hope to once restrictions are lifted but will extend as necessary. It’s a fluid process with continual reviews of the position.

Resourcing

  • Some areas of business have capacity, some VERY busy – some redeployment of people is taking place.
  • As an alternative to furlough, some firms have reduced pay and hours, communications have been open and honest and resistance hasn’t been received.
  • Recruitment is still taking place in some areas – e.g. financial services, graduates and practices are keeping an eye out for available talent.
  • Working from home is here to stay – will be the norm as opposed to the exception. This will have a huge impact on firms cultures. It’s been proved it can work, and often work better.

 Work / Productivity

  • It’s been a tough week for payroll teams administering all furlough claims.
  • Work is being done in a different way – firms have realised so much can be done remotely, including audits.
  • Much harder with trainees and staff that need more supervision.
  • Lack of human interaction with teams is biggest challenge – lots of ways teams are doing this were shared, e.g. quiz nights, virtual lunch together, team huddles, afternoon catch ups.

The people manager role is vital – more one-to-ones, having to manage, engage, motivate.

CLIENTS

  • Contact now weekly, if not daily for some and conversations of more value  – much easier to get in touch, huge uptake in video conferencing which was resisted by some clients in the past. One Partner commented that “we have never felt so close to our clients” another that “I have never been able to have six meetings in a day before”. 
  • At the opposite end of the scale, one firm has been very busy with payroll support (furloughs etc) and their response times for client queries has come under a lot of pressure.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT & MARKETING

  • Focus is on keeping pipeline live and building and strengthening relationships, but BD as key as ever, maybe more important.
  • The key is offering value to clients: free advice, sharing best practice, showing that you care.
  • Price is becoming increasingly more important in pitching for work (pitching still talking place).
  • Firms doing more on LinkedIn and email – open rates have improved to between 30-50%.
  • Dedicated hubs on websites – seeing lots of traffic in response to Covid19 information.

RESOURCES

See our dedicated webpage for further tools and resources to help you, your people and your clients.

 

The calls take place fortnightly and the next one is scheduled for Thursday 7 May at 2pm. If you would like to join or want to know how others are adapting to these new circumstances please do give us a call on 01892 610060 or email paul@thegrogroup.com