We recently saw The Lumery’s first-ever Virtual Round Table hosted by Co-Founder and Managing Director Rajan Kumar; joined by a small panel of marketing, digital and business leaders. “The real opportunity of this round table is to open up a conversation, ask each other questions and learn from one another” says Rajan. This round table saw leaders discussing different ways they are using COVID-19 as an opportunity to expedite business growth and internal capability.

Here are our three key takeaways:

#1 Focusing on your team’s wellbeing is a non-negotiable

Shifting to an 100% online workforce has come with many unique challenges. CEO at Flybuys, John Merakovsky says “there has been a myriad of different personal circumstances impacting on people’s wellbeing and addressing those issues has become my number one focus”.

The norm that governs employee support and wellness must change and rise to the occasion. “We are trying to anticipate where things were going rather than be reactive” explains John, highlighting the importance of proactively planning for employee impact. Focusing on employee wellbeing and their individual needs during this time has become a non-negotiable. “For me it’s been fantastic to see my leadership team and the whole organisation respond and co-design…I think people feel that we genuinely care about their health and wellbeing” says John.

#2 Supporting your customers has never been more important

As online spending increases so does the pressure of core systems to execute on the demand. The technical infrastructure to support customer care, delivery and return processes and other core transactional communications becomes foundational in the success of a business in crisis mode. CMO at Adore Beauty, Dan Ferguson says “How you support your customers now will no doubt have a tangible impact to your brand’s reputation coming out the other side of COVID-19”.

For non-retail brands, the focus is also directed at problem solving for their customers and community. From a mental health perspective, the Country Director APAC at Movember, Rachel Carr says “this is the time when we really need to show up for our community and help them work through challenges they are facing”. Rachel reiterates the importance of supporting, facilitating, and educating customers during this uncertain time, providing guidance and trustworthy information.

#3 Digital growth comes with growing pains

While many companies are facing declining revenue and increasing staff redundancies, others have been embracing a newfound period of accelerated growth.

Growth is welcomed in times of business ‘normality’, yet in this time of crisis there are certain verticals seeing expedited demand in consumer spending online, which they have had to quickly cater for. Improving reliability and scale of e-commerce deliveries from an operational perspective, whilst maintaining a strong brand presence are the priority here. “Some of my job has completely pivoted from a revenue & growth focus to also partnering closely with our exec team & considering questions such as; how many shifts can we put on? how can we keep the warehouse healthy? how are we addressing people’s perceived risks versus risks? and ultimately what do we look like coming out the other end?” says Dan Ferguson.

There is no doubt that retail has been one of the hardest hit industries, but for some businesses it has brought an opportunity to better understand how to connect with customers online and lead with data-driven experiences. Head of Online Shop at Bunnings, Kimberley Carr explains “this time has been a growth opportunity… a catalyst to really shift and take the momentum of consumers looking online”.

There have been few industries spared from the crushing impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and it is likely the worst is far from over as this pandemic affects global systems, laws and policies for all businesses. Overall, this round table agreed that businesses that are embracing the changing circumstances quickly on the digital front will come out of the curve in a healthier position.

That’s a wrap!

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