Communication in Times of Crisis
I never thought we’d be able to adapt.
This was what our Inside Sales Manager, Geoff Booker, thought when the global COVID-19 pandemic business interruption guidelines hit our home state of New Hampshire.
Our business blog is usually focused on topics that can help you drive your business. Posts consist of useful articles and commentary on how certain issues impact how you work and serve your customers. However, given our current business climate we wanted to share with you some things Chameleon Group did to prepare for a complete paradigm shift in our own business operations.
Like many of you, we had to shift our operations from our corporate offices to our home offices. One of the major challenges of this move was how we communicated with each other. Director of Inside Sales, Deb Clark, is known for her incredible ability to connect and interact with our employees. Her management style of ‘management by walking around’ allowed her to connect with each employee face to face. In moving to working remotely, there was fear that the connection and communication we previously had would be negatively affected.
Previous to our current circumstances, our management team met daily to discuss the current state of affairs. Thanks to technology, we are able to continue to meet daily to discuss each client and formulate a daily plan. Rather than meeting in a conference room, we are video conferencing. Our ability to review accounts and plan out daily support for each client is unhindered. However, there was concern about communication between our management team and our employees who have recently moved to working from home.
During a recent interview, Geoff Booker, Sales Manager, called the internal transformation, “astonishing”. What we could not have anticipated was how the external forces we are facing solidified our teams. We are deploying several communication tactics to keep the teams and management staff engaged. We have begun to utilize new software, such as Slack, for quick and instant communication. Our management staff is deploying multiple group conference calls each day to keep the team on schedule and able to respond to our clients’ ever-changing needs.
We are also checking in with our employees more often. Where we once walked by their desk, we are now checking in directly with each of them through several different modes throughout the day. This constant communication is reassuring to our team that we, as a management team, are here to support them through this challenging time. What has been born out of this change in communication is a deeper sense of connectedness in the organization. We have become more reliant on each other daily, which has driven home that sense. A deeper sense of trust with one another has developed as well. Deb said, “We rely on each other a lot. We always knew it and now we can appreciate the value of the strength of our team”.
Not only was communication with our teams important, but also the continual communication with our clients. The Chameleon team has decades of knowledge and experience in technology, which positioned us well to support our clients during such a challenging time. What is more important is our communication as a friend, not only a business partner.
Before Governor Chris Sununu issued his stay-at-home order, forcing many businesses to close their doors, we began to experiment with our teams working from home. As COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, we saw that we would likely need to shift how we do business. We began by asking our employees who may want to work from home and who wouldn’t consider working from home. We took our willing volunteers and helped
them shift operations to their home offices. There were many things to consider, including technological challenges in the homes of our staff. We invested in our people to make sure they had the resources necessary to be successful in their job. These pilot groups played an important role helping us understand and resolve issues and mistakes.
Dana LaRiviere, Chameleon founder, president, and CEO told the team early on that it was okay to make mistakes. So, in undertaking such an organizational shift, mistakes are bound to happen, but our accountability and response to those mistakes play a role in making sure our clients are taken care of.
Whether or not you are a client of ours, let us know what challenges you are facing. We are always here to support you during these difficult times. We wish you, your family, and employees health and safety.