Across the IPRS Group, each part of our organisation has been affected due to the global pandemic. In the ‘Health’ arm of our business, there was a total cessation of ‘hands on’ and face to face treatments for individuals requiring physiotherapy and counselling services.
Key business decisions centered around maintaining a service to all our clients, albeit a variation in most cases and retaining our multiskilled workforce in employment with the minimum amount of distress, whilst also ensuring our business would come out of the crisis viable and with a long-term future.
We established a number of committees and working groups that concentrated on areas such as the Job Retention Scheme to provide security for our c.200 workforce and how to manage and communicate to our longstanding and valued clients.
From a client perspective, we prioritised communication and flexible ways of working to maintain services to them. Key initiatives included:
- Regular and pertinent communication to all clients, with a focus on what we can and cannot do at a point in time. Communication had to be bespoke and sympathetic to the client’s individual circumstance
- Adopting new technology and ways of working by promoting more virtual services as opposed to face to face services
- Using social media in a more focused way to reach as many clients and customers as possible
- Through our relationship management teams, we sought out regular feedback from our clients and partners on their own organisational status and in doing so becoming more aware of their own priorities
- We are particularly proud of 2 initiatives that supported our supply chain, 100% of which are SMEs
- Supplier Relief for SMEs – Through our direct relationships with our core clients, we were able to negotiate supplier relief funds to our supply chain partners, somewhere in the value of £100k. The level of feedback and goodwill we have received from our supply chain has been overwhelmingly positive.
- With other market leading suppliers, we developed a Covid-19 standard and pledge for the treatment of employees and individuals requiring physiotherapy and rehabilitation. We assisted many SMEs in becoming ‘Covid-19 ready’ and therefore open for business.
As a result of the initiatives above, we have continued to enjoy excellent client relationships, strengthen our supply chain loyalty and protect our employees by securing their roles and long-term employment.
What did we learn from this?
The lessons are innumerable and continue to grow as we remain gripped by this pandemic. In summary, key lessons include;
- Have a plan and take control of what you have control of
- Communication is key, this extends to your Clients, Partners, Supply Chain and your own employees, however, be mindful of information overload
- Be flexible with your approach and consider other ways of working, even if at first this seems farfetched and unworkable
- With flexibility, you need innovation. Adopting new technologies, such as virtual working has been a blessing, even if not everyone is entirely comfortable with the concept
- For those slow to adopt, be patient and convincing with regards to new approaches, eventually most will come around
- Put trust in your People and Management Teams, the cream will rise, and you will, like us, see another side to people not otherwise seen before