Susan Noell is the Director of Professional Services, HCM Solutions at RCM Technologies.
Crisis has the potential to do great harm, creating widespread and systematic disruption. But they can also be forces of constructive change, growth and renewal. It is up to you to reassure your clients that you are willing and capable to outstrip the competition during a crisis and do your best as a partner to aid them through to a prosperous outcome.
With 20+ years’ experience in human capital management (HCM), I’ve seen my fair share of crisis and worked with clients and partners to succeed and excel in what could have ended in devastating outcomes. What I’ve found to be most important, not only in a crisis situation, but in an everyday partnership, are communication, honesty, and flexibility.
Having an open line of communication with partners from the beginning of your partnership assures clients that you’re available, no matter the time or the place. Whether it’s a large client or a smaller one, we must treat each association with the same importance. Our HCM team is remote, a diverse group across the the country, available to communicate with clients irrespective of time or day.
When time of crisis strikes, that already open line established with partners allows you to better liaise with your sponsor and work through issues, as soon as you see things beginning to slip. The start of a crisis can often be a crucial period, possibly your only chance to nip an issue in the bud before it can become unmanageable. Open communications, being available around the clock for your partners, may be the thing that prevents a bad circumstance from becoming a catastrophe.
Honesty and Transparency
Partners need to be clear on deliverables and schedules from the beginning of their associations, if only in order to make sure projects operate smoothly. There must be no hidden dimensions or elements. Transparency in all aspects of your association must be implemented.
Withholding information from clients or twisting the truth can often come back to bite you. Honesty and transparency with partners and clients establish trust. This trust becomes especially integral when faced with a crisis. When your business partners trust you enough to rely on your opinions and guidance in the day-to-day, they are more likely follow your counsel in times of need.
Many times, partners forget that when they’re working with clients on a project, those clients still have jobs and tasks that they’re completing. While your work with the client is priority for you, clients have many priorities they must attend to. With this understanding comes flexibility on your part and a willingness to work around a partner’s schedule so you may be as accommodating as they may need.
During a crisis, unforeseen meeting and deliverables may pop up at any moment, changing schedules and turning eight-hour workdays into twelve-hour days. Adapting to these unexpected changes and being prepared with a plan B, C, D, and E assure our partners they are our priority.
HCM is my history and my experience in the field has prepared me to be a better partner to my clients. With that 20+ years of experience, knowing the importance of establishing open communication, honesty, transparency, and flexibility before a crisis can emerge, has been integral to client relationships.
Implementation of these practices have consistently assured our clients that they can trust we are prepared to lead them through a crisis to a successful outcome.