tunity to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.I’ve always told my employees that they were themost important. So I had to stand tall and tellmy employees, they would have well-beingno matter what. They would not be laid off.
I do think that they were convinced ofthat 100%, and that’s why they went theextra distance with safety and securityto support the advisors in the field.
We were already through our meritincreases, and we had this big discussion about what to do about that. Wedid the merit increases. I wanted themto know I would do whatever I’d had todo to keep their compensation, with nolayoffs and no diminutions.
I was worried. I wasn’t sure what theoutcome of all this would mean for ourbusiness, but I knew I had to give that confidence to my employees.
Diachok: There were a pretty scary couple ofweeks there when none of us knew what our businesses, communities and the country were going tolook like.
This was a culmination, and like what Lon said, you’vegot to walk the walk. We got out in front of it and had a lotof pretty meaningful conversations with our employees onone side and then with advisors on the other side. We werenot going to have any layoffs; we’re going to take care ofour people.
Also, I’ve got a fantastic management team as well thatstepped up and reacted very quickly and efficiently. Afterall these years of building these systems — BCP, voice, cloudand such — you don’t really know how it’s all going to workand how people are going to react when they’re working in aremote environment for months and months on end.
It’s just been a great sense of pride to watch how ourteam has reacted. And there’s going to be a balance. You’renot going to go 100% remote. You can’t in this business.There is such a human element, even inside an office, thatyou can’t replicate [virtually]. That’s going to be a challengefor all of us.
You can give people an option, since you want them to beable to feel safe. How do we as leaders manage what that’sgoing to look like — not in the next three months, but in thenext three to five years? Whether COVID- 19 drags on or not,the industry has changed, so how are we going to react?
Dolber: It does create an opportunity though, because nowthe whole country is open for your hiring. Think about it.
Geography doesn’t dictate talent anymore.
Webber: We actually proceeded with opening a second primary location in Phoenix during all of this. The building willbe completed in October. We’ve got about 11 employees hiredcompletely virtually and remotely working out of that area.They can’t wait to get into the office.
I’ve read recently that perhaps the ideal productivity andemployee-satisfaction levels fall somewhere in the hybridmodel of so many days a week — one or two days — remote.
There’s going to be a balance.
You’re not going to go 100%
remote. You can’t in this business.
even inside an office, that you
can’t replicate. That’s going to be a
challenge for all of us.
—RYAN W. DIACHOK