Pictured above: Emerging from lockdown (left to right); Sandra Berns, Amy Richardson and Helen Watkins.
When I launched Centric HR in October 2016, amongst the excitement and trepidation, I realised the upcoming years would be full of highs and lows and also various challenges which we would embrace and learn from…never in my wildest dreams did I expect a world wide pandemic to be one of them! Like all others, back in March our lives were shaken and a new way of working was forced upon us.
The timing for us as a business, as many others in the same boat, wasn’t ideal, but when was ideal to face a unknown virus? We had just employed a new member of staff who we were very excited to bring on board as our Head of HR Operations, but Covid threw us into uncertainty and an unknown road ahead. It turns out that our new member of staff was a godsend, and fitted right in with our existing dynamic team, and hit the ground running, albeit, a little earlier than expected!
As a direct result of Covid we lost a large contract as their resources had to be deployed elsewhere and we had a choice to make. Fight or fold. We had to continue as a business, remain profitable but adapt very quickly to the new “norm” and our overwhelming first thought was how we could help other companies do the same and ride the storm and emerge the other side. We decided that even if we went under, we would go under helping other people.
My team did what they do best, pulled together, started working from home and Zoom quickly became our new best friend for communication and at times, our sanity. We decided, after our phones started ringing relentlessly with panicked clients, that a survival pack was the way forward. We sent this out to not only existing clients, but all past clients too, as a life line and some form of help in these unprecedented times. We vowed to help, offering our services and advice for free and only after that initial assistance, would we charge.
Horror stories reached us of companies that were profiting from this pandemic, but it went against our company ethos to survive this way and we refused to be the same. Our moral compass resulted in a huge influx of calls and business thrived. We worked closely with Great British Expos over the months of lockdown and decided to host a weekly webinar free of charge, to assist with their charity and to offer advice, on the basis, that we could get our brand and business out there. This continued for 16 weeks and was a huge success and also forced me into work clothes and make up at least once a week!
Throughout, my team remained focused and worked efficiently together, embracing new challenges, with a sense of humour firmly intact. That sense of humour, which is a prerequisite of Centric HR, was hi-lighted in one particular Zoom meeting when we conducted it dressed in Alsatian, horse and chimp masks! The laughs and giggles kept the tears of frustration away, and the trials and tribulations of home schooling and running a business simultaneously, deserves a whole other blog!
We continue with our growth strategy, and although hopeful we have weathered the storm, we also remain insistent on helping other businesses to support them in their growth too. We decided to send packs out free of charge, every few weeks, which consist of the latest government advice on various subjects, ranging from furlough to home work assessments, to return to work policies. Our aim remains the same, to help and support companies and not to exploit others misfortune to make money out of this pandemic.
We have not only survived, but look forward to our new website launch, our new offices and remain positive for the future of Centric HR. We have come through this stage of our journey and have hopefully helped many others do the same.