Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Road to Recovery

In the June Round Table meetings, we discussed the topic of “The Road to Recovery.” For your convenience, notes from the chapter meetings have been recorded for you to review.

As a reminder, our next Virtual Event will feature Bryce Harbaugh, Co-Owner of Midwest Management Systems, on July 24th. Bryce will be speaking on “How Serving Others Equals Success in Business & in Life.”  Spaces are limited, so click here to RSVP!

If you are unable to attend, subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can review all past event presentations. Be sure to turn on your notifications so that you are the first to know when Bryce’s presentation is available!

The June Round Table notes are below:

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

How do we get our people back?

  • Company survey to review employee’s feelings on returning to work.
  • For one company, less than 20% of employees feel safe to come back to the office. Out of 160 employees, only 15 want to come back — in spite of being a predominantly young company. How do we encourage our people to return to a routine and still respect their concern?
  • Many are wanting to stay home indefinitely. When employees were asked what their concerns were, some admitted that it had nothing to do with COVID but that they simply liked working form home with the new-found flexibility.

Phases of bringing people back to the office:

  • Be as diligent as we can. Have answers for their concerns: protocols, timing, etc.
  • Plan for a “soft launch”: Don’t require them to come back right away. Simply allow it as an option.
  • Consider hybridizing between working from home and working from the office.
  • Offer flexibility on their time in the office. Remember, one of the draws of working from home is the flexibility and the ability to arrange their work day as they want to.

How do we maintain company culture through Covid:

  • Foster collaboration
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual trivia nights
  • Rest on core values to drive your strategy.
    • Make your client’s experience one of your core values. It doesn’t matter whether that experience is virtual, in person, at home, or at the office. As long as employees are embracing that value, they will provide a great experience to your clients regardless of where they are.

What other challenges have presented themselves as we try to move back into the workplace?

  • Business has fundamentally changed. Many businesses have had to shift their focus to areas of the market that were not initially their primary targets.
    • For instance, some companies had an increase in demand in products that were not initially their bread and butter product (such as waffle makers). Other companies have switched to making PPE. Will that demand continue? What consumer behavior will remain and what behavior will change after COVID?
  • How do we tackle the work we’ve taken on to survive during the crisis while also getting back to the work we were doing before?
  • Some companies have moved from wholesale to retail which changed the work flow and process for them, but has been positive in terms of business.

How does our faith support and guide those challenges that we’re facing?

  • Our faith is our only source of stability right now.
  • This situation has allowed faith and religion to become more common in workplace discussions. Prior to Covid we could only demonstrate our faith through actions, but now we have more opportunities to share with words.
  • Changes in personal faith: previously tended to say “this is what I have, this is what I’m doing. Lord please bless it.” Now we’re asking “What do You want from me today? Where do You want me to spend my time?”
  • We cannot possibly predict what will come next. It is faith only that will carry us through.

Takeaways:

  • Understanding that we should not shape our own plans and simply ask for God’s stamp of approval. We must leave ourselves open to God’s leading.
  • God is going to use this situation, but we have to listen, watch, and learn.
  • Digging deeper into the reasons people want to stay remote and figure out if that will be part of the change.
  • None of us have the ability to know how this will turn out. We’re all in the same boat and there is some comfort in that.

Kalamazoo Round Table (Thursday)

What new challenges or opportunities have developed for you or personally in these last 3-4 months during quarantine?

  • The lockdown has provided more time to work on writing and creating new materials.  
  • Taking time to reflect and exercise some self-awareness.
  • Focusing on becoming who we need or want to be in the future rather than simply staying the same.
  • New opportunities for growth for industries such as financial advising, securities, technology, etc.
  • This situation has forced us to utilize technology that we always had access to but never pursued.  
    • One member who works with people with disabilities said their organization was forced to quickly create an online sales platform, adapt to virtual case management, and finding ways to support their clients long-distance. The quicker this can be done, the better.

How have you changed your business model? Will they be long lasting or short term?

  • Remote work will continue long term. This may lead to businesses getting rid of their offices to save funding or simply because they don’t need them anymore.
  • How do we network in this new world?
    • Virtual meetings
    • Send a Starbucks gift card and tell them to enjoy the coffee on me.
  • In the short term, our business models have all changed, but it will need to remain fluid with the governor dictating what is allowed.

What are some of your fears in the midst of this?

  • Many people are losing their jobs.
  • Fear that the governor will not let us re-open.
  • Uncertainty on whether our clients will be back once we reopen.
  • With unemployment being so high and businesses being shut down, there is a concern over how young people fresh out of college will get hired for work experience.
  • Will the small businesses make it? They’re the lifeblood of our economy.
  • Social media has become so divisive. There are no peace makers.
  • Fear is a part of our life. We must combat it with more time in prayer and relying on each other. Be thankful in all things.
  • Challenge: discover what you can be more thankful for: kids, wives, husbands, families, relationships in business, running group, fellow employees, staff members, technology etc. He has and will continue to provide for us in this time.

What are some of the positives?

  • The emphasis on personal relationships. Learning what is really important to us. Increased relationships with family members, friends, neighbors etc.  
  • It is breeding creativity and adaptability.
  • A newfound respect for teachers from parents. Parents had lost respect for teachers but now, with the homeschooling, they’re realizing just how hard of a job it is.

How do we come alongside others during this time?

  • Reach out to friends, family, colleagues to simply ask them how their doing.
  • Social media has been a blessing and curse:
    • Cons: there is been a huge divide that has been exacerbated by social media. As Christians, we need to reach out and try to bridge the gap through helping others and sharing positive posts on our pages.
    • Pros: It has kept us connected through lockdown and has even had a huge hand in helping local businesses.  It has been a valuable avenue in promoting takeout availability from restaurants. People have been organically trying to support the businesses that have suffered.

Join us at an upcoming Round Table meeting! RSVP to info@thebusinessrt.org.