Positive change through adversity: Stories from PKF International’s people
We spoke to Amy Taylor, People Director at PKF Francis Clark
A successful practice in the South West of England with 750 staff in eight offices, the lockdown from late March onwards has seen much change at PKF Francis Clark.
“Prior to this period, we were office-based, so it’s been a very real change to get used to,” explains People Director Amy Taylor. “Many people have been pleasantly surprised by how well they have been able to continue working with their teams despite everyone being in different locations.”
A key aspect of this change has been managing and supporting people who are working remotely, as well as some of their colleagues who aren’t currently working – and making them all feel that they’re still part of one team.
Similarly, the firm has been helping clients who are going through the same challenges. “For us it’s all about being the trusted adviser at the end of a phone, email or video call. We have teams in place, and alongside them there’s other resources such as the Coronavirus Updates hub on our website, where we are collating useful information and insights to help businesses through the current crisis.”
For Amy and the rest of the firm, it’s vital to remember that this is a crucial time “when we’ll be judged by clients and employees on how we act”.
“We have been making sure that our actions are aligned to our values. Ultimately you’re judged by your behaviour.”
The firm’s values are: the ingenuity to deliver; the compassion to respect everyone; the commitment to put the client first; the expertise to drive excellence; and the courage to be ambitious.
Amy points out that communication has increased among its people in recent weeks. “People are taking the time to talk to others on a one-to-one basis with a very open ‘how are you?’ Everyone’s own situation in this crisis is different, but communication has definitely increased - and I’d say improved.”
Driving social interaction has been key. Fun get-togethers have been important in recent weeks. Video-based photo competitions, Friday ‘virtual’ drinks and quizzes are commonplace.
Some changes in working patterns, plus client and team communications, may stay in place once lockdown is eased.
“We’re thinking about how lockdown ending will impact us, in both the short-term and longer term,” says Amy. “It will impact our clients and therefore our service offerings as well. Perhaps there will be less working in the office, less travelling and more online discussions with clients.
“We’ve proved that we can change how we work, and there will be a demand for some of those changes to stay in place as we think about how we can work more effectively going forward.”
For more information on how PKF member firms are implementing positive change, visit our COVID-19 hub.