Companies throughout the commercial equipment finance and leasing industry are taking steps to reaffirm their corporate cultures.
Over the past year, companies adjusted to maximize their productivity throughout the pandemic. They worked from home, had virtual meetings, and instituted hybrid in-office work schedules. Many have stated that the new normal will include (some, most, all) staff working remotely indefinitely. Everyone seems to be onboard with the new arrangements. Employees have been recruited, hired, and trained without ever meeting any co-workers in person.
The preliminary results have been mostly positive. However, for every action there are reactions. Every change has unintended consequences. Industry leaders have taken notice that the new normal has deterred spontaneous collaboration before and after scheduled meetings. Some employees have become disconnected from the company's fabric, especially newer employees. Seasoned employees have lost some of their sense of teamwork; they feel as if they have become disconnected from other departments and activities.
I recently interviewed a middle manager that has been working with a remote sales staff for several years (prior to the pandemic). Her sales staff didn't miss a beat throughout the pandemic. However, now with the company's entire personnel working remotely on a routine basis, her sales staff is being strained. The home office (mainland) has been fragmented. The entire organization is working remotely (islands) and the company is losing its past identity. Production is up (because the market is robust); but company moral is down. A long-term employee just left the company for a slight increase in pay and stated that it didn't matter if she was working for company A or B, she was still just working in her home office doing the exact same functions. The employee had lost her connection to her employer. This may be the unintended consequence of remote working - a sense of belonging.
I have witnessed several organizations taking proactive steps to reaffirm their corporate structures.
A company allows flexible schedules with employees having the ability to work both remotely and in-person. However, they require most employees to be in-person at least 10 workdays a month. The company has two days a month that all employees must be in-person. These days include team building activities at the end of the day which often flow into fun evening events.
A company has pre-scheduled days every month whereby sales and operations have group in-person meetings to discuss joint successes and challenges.
A company has established quarterly company-wide retreats starting in the second quarter of 2021. These two-day events include internal and external training sessions. It includes an awards ceremony for top employees and multiple opportunities for employees to share ideas with top management. The first meeting in June was highly successful in re-connecting the staff and reaffirming the goals, strategies, and objectives of the company.
Many companies are, and have been for many months, fully back to in-person routines. These companies have also had to adjust and offer additional employee enhancement, because the job market is strong, and employees want flexibility. A fully in-person company has instituted several career enhancement opportunities for their entire staff. The management is closely monitoring the individual needs of its staff and has offered flexibility to those that require special accommodations. Most of its staff is 100% in-person every day, because they cherish the camaraderie that allows them to personally succeed.
Change is good, and the new normal will require different degrees of changes by different organizations. However, companies must ensure that their corporate cultures, principles, strategies, and goals are never sacrificed. Corporate cultures allow organizations to flourish and to be sustainable for the long term.
Wheeler Business Consulting works with banks, independents, captives, origination companies, and investors in the equipment leasing and finance arena. We provide training, strategic planning, and acquisition services. Scott Wheeler is available to discuss your long-term strategy, to assist your staff to maximize outcomes, and to better position your organization in the market.