With social distancing timelines extended, and workers and companies struggling to adapt, flexibility is required to survive this unprecedented situation.
In this blog post, our CEO, John Cunningham, discusses some of the lessons he has learned from dealing with other crises that are helping him to navigate his businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many companies across this nation, VTS and its divisions, IntelliShift and USA12Volt, are working to navigate this turbulent time. As CEO, the COVID-19 pandemic is the third major business disruption I have faced. The others were 9/11 and the financial meltdown of 2008. Each situation was distinct, but I learned lessons that have helped me to be a better leader and in turn, make the business stronger and more resilient.
My major concern is that I have so many families that count on VTS, so I am focused on every single employee’s emotional wellbeing. In this situation, employees are not only concerned about financial hardship but there is an added level of stress due to concerns for family members getting sick. Though we may not see each other on a daily basis, it’s important to me and my executive team to maintain a sense of community among the employees. Of particular concern is projecting a sense of confidence, calm, and purpose for employees who may not have dealt with a situation like this before – situations like this can take a heavy toll on their psyche.
Clients are alarmed right now, and each has their own specific concerns. They are worried about employees, their ability to provide services in this disruptive environment, and their ability to meet financial obligations, so we are working closely with each of them. Programs we have adopted include flexible payment terms, suspending service, and installing technology rental programs to address fluctuations in demand. Our flexible practices are aimed at helping our clients to get beyond this situation so they can be in a position to recover and thrive into the future.
As our business has grown, so has our use of technology, which allows employees to work effectively from remote locations. As an essential service, sometimes our jobs require an occasional trip to the office or client site. We quickly implemented social distancing and other practices to ensure their safety. We expect the procedures we are following now will engender trust for the future.
Communication has been a priority from day one and it continues to be a focus now. Through this challenging time, we are regularly communicating with our entire client base to provide them with information, reassure them of our empathy and support, and find ways, together, to get through this.
Additionally, we are sharing information regularly with employees about the business and how to cope during this difficult time. We are also promoting virtual get-togethers, both within teams and across the business, and are granting training opportunities for our employees to gain new skills.
With every crisis there is an opportunity to reflect, understand and prepare for what’s to come. I say this with the understanding that while this crisis will inevitably pass, there may be other unavoidable threats on the horizon. At VTS and our divisions we understand change is inevitable and for this business to grow and succeed well into the future, we must be able to adapt swiftly to environmental factors out of our control. While we are not conducting “business as usual,” we are moving the business forward every day.
Embracing flexibility works for the businesses, but it also applies to our employees who are getting up every day and pulling together to serve our clients.