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A time for change and action

Posted in Company News, Employers, Training & Development on Jun 29, 2020 by Keeley Edge

Last quarter, I wrote a blog on how I tackled the first month of lockdown and how reflecting and learning from the situation was helping me, in one of the strangest times any of us have ever faced.

Following on from my blog back in April, I thought it would be a good time to write the next installment, which I’ve named “A time for change and action”.


I’ve learnt over the years that I’m a person who enjoys a certain amount of change. Even though I’m quite process driven, I enjoy variety and I like learning and adopting new ways of working. I think this comes from my very first Manager who, every so often would say “shall we move the desks around?“. Health and safety wise, we maybe should’ve left it to the experts, but I do think it’s enabled me to adapt to change and it certainly helped with my IT / problem solving skills, as there would undoubtedly be something that didn’t quite switch back on and I would have to work out what had gone wrong!

If something as simple as changing where you sit can create new energy and increase productivity, what other outcomes are there if we look at “change” in a positive way?

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, I personally believe that to assume that it will soon be ‘business as usual’ is very risky. You can fear change or embrace the limitless possibilities it holds. You can lower your horizons and hold out for the way things were, or you can take action and look for new ways of working that will take your business forward.

 

Embrace change

We’ve all had to change the way we operate in our daily lives over the past 3 months and it’s probably fair to say that some people adapt quicker than others. I used the Kluber-Ross change curve in my last blog, as it was shared with me by Jennie-Kate from JKChangeWork in the first week of lockdown and it really helped me to identify where I might be on that curve. At the time of writing the last blog, I was probably in the “Experiment” phase and I’m now happy to be in the “Integration” phase.

Although some may go through the curve quicker than others, I have the view that as a Manager, Director or Business Owner, the quicker we go through that curve the better for the future success of the business.

In these roles, if we are not leading from the front in adapting to new ways of working, employees will do one of two things – they will resist change themselves and become unproductive, lacking in creativity and could even become difficult to manage. Alternatively, they could become frustrated that change isn’t happening, that new ideas are not being adopted and may notice opportunities to move forward being missed. This may lead them to seek out another place to work and you could lose key employees to competitors.

One of the biggest areas for change is around flexible and remote working. This has been a hot topic for some time now (you only have to remember our Guest Blog from August 2018, to know that!). If you have employees currently working from home and they have shown that their productivity has stayed the same or gone up, why wouldn’t you consider making this new way of working, more permanent? Many companies we are talking to, are now considering a more blended working week between office and remote working.

This can only be good for parents wanting to share family responsibilities, which in turn leads to more equal opportunities at management levels in the workplace.

 

Look for opportunities

As there have been limitations around working hours amongst the team at Key Appointments, it’s meant that I have stepped in to do tasks that I’ve not done for some time. I’ve found there have been opportunities to streamline processes, integrate systems and amend documents, all which will save time and improve efficiencies in the business.

It’s also been a great time to review our marketing plan and look at our client base to consider what different target markets might be beneficial for us to work with over the next 6-12 months. The opportunity to review our service offering and how we can add value to our clients has also been reviewed, which in itself has created opportunities for us to work in partnership with third parties like HR & Training Consultants for instance.

There are some great stories out there, about businesses who have adapted and changed quickly which has created whole new markets for them. One is Delifresh – a Yorkshire based food supplier to restaurants and cafes etc with aolso depots in Newcastle and Widnes. They have created a whole new business model, supplying food straight to people’s doors. When people couldn’t get online supermarket delivery slots, Delifresh took the opportunity to step in.

On a smaller scale, Heather Johnson Interiors provide a full design and project managed service for kitchens, bedrooms and home offices. Obviously, Heather couldn’t go into people’s houses initially, so instead she offered consultations via video. This has led to Heather having several projects on the go, now that lockdown is easing.

Although things may still be tough, I’ve found by looking at what you CAN do, rather than what you CAN’T do has a positive impact on how you approach things. Embracing change and looking for the opportunity will open lots of doors. Learn from other businesses and look for those good news stories on sites like LinkedIn and Bdaily.

 

Utilise technology more

As mentioned in my last blog, at Key Appointments, we have been using video for more than 2 years to interview candidates. Our ability in identifying the right candidates for client interviews which result into placements and then furthermore, the success of those placements is just as good, if not better than when we used to meet candidates in person.

I believe there are a number of reasons for this but one in particular, is that candidates are usually in their home environment during a video interview, so tend to act more like themselves, enabling us to get to know them as a person and it makes it easier to assess whether they will make a good fit for the company and role we are recruiting for.

This could be backed up by a recent article I read which reported that 9 out of 10 staff felt closer to colleagues during lockdown.

By seeing people in their home environment, it allows us to create more of a bond. I think this is a good case for displaying that teams can be just as effective even if they are not working in the same office.

I often hear of reasons why companies don’t want to conduct part of their recruitment process online or why they can’t offer remote working, but sometimes what we think are barriers just need a different perspective and a bit of rethinking. For me, the convenience for all parties, the cost, the time and the environmental reasons are all cases for why we should utilise video technology more.

If you need another reason to consider recruiting remote workers, it also widens your talent pool. If you are looking to recruit in a niche area, the perfect candidate who has the right skills, experience, attitude, and values might be 100 miles away. There’s no stopping you from recruiting that person though, if it’s managed properly. You can still create a good team ethos when people work remotely and even look at versions of social activity that can be done online.


Network with other businesses

For me, having a diverse range of businesses that I network with has been instrumental in helping me, not only over the last 3 months but since I set up Key Appointments in 2009. Being around different businesses has allowed me to learn about other industries, services, and products, and from other business owners.

During lockdown, having 121 and group meetings via video has lifted my day, given me ideas, allowed me to help others and provided opportunities to make new contacts and relationships with people I’ve never even met in person.

Whether it’s a formal networking organisation like BNI which I belong to; a business coaching board like The Alternative Board; working with a Business Coach like John Davison who can introduce you to other businesses, I would highly recommend any Director or Business Owner to get out there (virtually for now) and meet other Directors and Owners of businesses. You won’t feel so alone, it will give you ideas, it will present opportunities and leave you with a positive outlook.


Whatever the future holds, I know that having that time to change and taking action will put Key Appointments in the best shape it can be to move forward for the rest of the year and I hope the same for your business too.

If you’ve been looking for some inspiration, I hope that by me sharing what is working for me will help you and your business. I don’t think you can go wrong by:

  • Embracing Change
  • Looking for Opportunities
  • Utilising Technology more
  • Networking with other Businesses

If you would like to visit a BNI meeting or be introduced to anyone mentioned in this article, please drop me a line. Also, if you would like to chat through any ideas or concerns in relation to using video technology and recruiting, onboarding and managing remotely, just let me know.

Keeley Edge - 07943 116559 / keeley@key-appointments.co.uk

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