A 7-Step Adaptation to the Pandemic—How AMC Bridge Deals With the COVID-19 Crisis
Staff posted on June 24, 2020 |
A company based in Waltham, Massachusetts share their COVID-19 protocols.

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“We are striving to be the employer of choice for our team and the vendor of choice for our clients” Igor Tsinman, President at AMC Bridge.
“We are striving to be the employer of choice for our team and the vendor of choice for our clients,” Igor Tsinman, President at AMC Bridge.

Doing right by our employees and clients is one of the core values at AMC Bridge. Thus, we have directed our response to the pandemic at creating the safest conditions for our employees to work, while maintaining the highest level of service to our clients.

In practical terms it means:

  • Keep the existing team and have no layoffs.
  • Find personalized and effective ways to support our clients.
  • Keeping our budget balanced.

Keeping those principles in mind, AMC Bridge has arrived at a seven-step adaptation strategy to the pandemic that we share in this article.

Step 1: Strategy Planning

Importance: Critical business decisions require that the management team and the executive team be on the same page.

Implementation: In the time of crisis, the executive team needs to prepare and share with the team a well-structured strategic plan that covers the following points:

  • Ensures fair treatment of the employees.
  • Provides an objective and insightful understanding of the business and its trends.
  • Anticipates the recovery and prepares for it.

AMC Bridge experience: The AMC Bridge Executive Team prepared the list of strategic measures within the first week of the pandemic, based on the cash flow, payment terms, anticipated effects on the P&L and balance sheet, customers' and suppliers' situations and nonfinancial KPIs.

Step 2: Establishing a Working Group on Emergency Measures

Importance: In unforeseen emergencies, companies of our size need a group of experts who can guide separate locations and teams, as well as the company in general, through all emerging issues.

Implementation: For effective crisis management, the company should form a team that would:

  • Define a plan of changes.
  • Communicate with the teams.
  • Prepare instructions on new rules.
  • Provide answers to FAQ.

Ensure that the company rules comply with the government anti-pandemic policies.

AMC Bridge experience: We established a working group on emergency measures within the first week of the pandemic. Today, they manage unexpected situations that might occur during the crisis and help our employees with any questions they might have.

Step 3: Introducing Working from Home (WFH) Mode

Importance: During the pandemic, it becomes critical to reduce the risk of exposing the employees to COVID-19 infection and introduce WFH mode.

Implementation: With no opportunity to manage the team's work in person, WFH calls for new managerial practices of task planning and monitoring. It also brings infrastructure challenges, from equipment allocation and distribution to connecting company resources and maintaining the usual workflows and procedures.

AMC Bridge experience: Having extensive experience with various project management methodologies, AMC Teams worked with clients to select and sometimes recommend the best approaches for the respective projects. For example, teams that already used SAFe methodologies have adapted them to work in a fully distributed mode, and reported results well exceeding the expectations and improving on the pre-WFH mode.

As for the infrastructure, everyone uses their office equipment connected to the company resources through a secure VPN. All interpersonal communication and group meetings are conducted, as usual, via MS Teams, and all the established workflows and procedures remain unchanged. We have been working in an online environment for several decades already, so the lock-down has not affected us as hard as many offline businesses, and we have continued delivering high-quality services to our clients despite WFH.

Step 4: Maintaining External Communication

Importance: Customers are looking for a sign that you are adapting to the crisis because your performance may impact their business. 

Implementation: With that in mind, companies need to use their communication channels to the fullest, to update customers on the emergency measures taken.

AMC Bridge experience: At AMC Bridge, we keep maximum transparency in communication with our clients. In line with this commitment, we have:

  • Added an official notice to the corporate website home page.
  • Sent an informational email with the list of measures taken in response to COVID-19.
  • Asked our Account Managers to communicate all the details to the clients personally.

Step 5: Intensifying Internal Communication

Importance: In the time of pandemic, it is essential to have the information flow from one corporate group to another, from the executives to the top management, middle management, and all employees. When people face risks, they want facts that can help them make better decisions, even if they're getting bad news. Lack of information leads to misinterpretation and confusion.

Implementation: Due to the current situation, many activities and programs that require in person interactions have been suspended or rescheduled. In this regard, internal communications need to change and intensify, to offer the employees more clarity and stability. It is up to the working group on emergency measures to develop a new internal communication plan, which is advised to include the following points:

  • All strategic decisions should be communicated by the board members.
  • New company rules and policies should be communicated by the Top Management of the corresponding department.
  • New recurrent online meeting formats should be implemented to communicate the issues that the middle management and teams are facing.

AMC Bridge experience: We always speak to our employees openly about potential hardships because strong business ethics is a core value at AMC Bridge. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, we have launched online Town Hall meetings to establish a new communication channel between the executive management and the team while we are collaborating in WFH mode.

During the meetings, the executive management informs the employees of the latest COVID-19 developments in the world and in the countries where we operate. The members of the executive team communicate company decisions, measures taken, strategy, steps, plans, and forecasts, provide updates on the financial status of the company and the situation with the AMC Bridge clients, and answer questions.

Employing over 700 people, it is our responsibility to keep the communication channels open for feedback from our employees in these challenging times and enable the team to be a team despite social distancing. Thus, we have added the following new activities to the regular communication workflow:

  • Initiated weekly calls to monitor the team climate at each location.
  • Created separate channels of communication for each location with useful tips for WFH.
  • Updated PR plans to connect employees on social media.
  • Started online team-building activities.

Looking back at the last 10+ weeks of updating communications, monitoring, and gathering feedback, we are glad to admit that the AMC Bridge team is as healthy and united as ever, despite the global uncertainty.

Step 6: Conducting Client Surveys on Company Efficiency

Importance: Taking into consideration the rapidly changing situation, delivering an excellent client experience has become more critical than ever before. When adjusting processes to the new conditions, many companies cannot foresee the effect the changes may have on their performance, relationships with clients, and, as a result, on their businesses.

Implementation: Timely client satisfaction surveys may help detect any potential problems and nip them in the bud. Both telephone and email surveys are suitable, as long as they let you know how the client feels about the way you provide services and the quality they get.

AMC Bridge experience: To maintain productivity and ensure the security of the entrusted data while WFH, we have readjusted our processes and added capacity to our communication, virtual private network, and shared development tools. Having implemented the changes, we have also asked our clients to take a short online survey to ensure that WFH mode hasn't impacted the overall efficiency of our teams.

According to 98% of our respondents, AMC Bridge works as efficiently as usual. 100% of the respondents confirm that they have sufficient communication with the AMC Bridge Account Managers on their projects. We have been happy with the current results, we will continue conducting similar surveys during the lock-down to ensure that our customers receive the level of service they are used to expecting, as well as uncover areas for potential improvement.

Step 7: Surveying Managers on the Team WFH Performance

Importance: Switching from working from office to working from home may impact the team's productivity and performance. Thus, it is crucial to determine any issues at the level of the department, location, or team as early as possible.

Implementation: It's important to distinguish the main points that may impact the team's efficiency and conduct surveys to see if those risks are real.

AMC Bridge experience: At AMC Bridge, we've distinguished three main points that may impact work efficiency:

  • Communication within the team.
  • Overall work quality during WFH mode.
  • Technical issues (equipment, Internet, software, information security).

We surveyed the top and middle management to determine if WFH had affected the performance and what factors had influenced productivity. The results have revealed that the employees demonstrate the same level of productivity, self-organization, and responsibility as before. No technical or communication issues while working from home have been reported. The second round of the survey is scheduled for Q3 2020.

AMC Bridge has developed this strategy and emergency measures to weather the current situation and minimize its impact. To keep providing services and supporting our clients during the crisis, AMC Bridge has focused on preserving the entire team and continuing to develop and expand our expertise. With the steps outlined above, we expect to emerge from the crisis with the minimal negative impact on our current client base and solid foundation for the future growth.

Although no one can be sure how the coronavirus pandemic will impact our business, we believe that sharing experience with the community will help us and the industry contend with all the challenges.

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