This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Luke McGrath, Head of Marketing at True Potential LLP, to find out how the firm has responded to the Coronavirus outbreak and how the workforce has adjusted to the shift in home working. We also spoke to Luke about how he has personally adapted to ‘Life in Lockdown’ and what learns he will take away from this experience.
True Potential LLP is an innovative wealth management firm based in Newcastle upon Tyne that looks after £10 billion of investments, over 1 million clients and 20% of UK Financial Advisers.
Thanks so much for your time Luke! I’m really keen to find out more about you and True Potential, how lockdown life has affected the business and what you’ve been doing in your own time to keep motivated/ sane!
So, tell me about True Potential… how are things going and how has the firm’s performance been throughout the COVID-19 outbreak?
We are thriving at the moment, and have just had a record quarter! Q1 was our best ever quarter for sales, turnover and profit, and we’re trending up as we move through April and May.
That’s amazing news! What would you say the reasons for this are?
It comes from us being a tech business. We’ve already grown our profits every year for the past 10 years which is due to having a business model that’s ready for things like this and being set up for a modern way of working. We call it an ‘anti-fragile business’, which means that when we’re under stress (like now) we get stronger, not weaker. We build new things, such as the new digital transfer process we’ve just implemented, which eliminates hard copy forms and postal delays – and this isn’t just a lockdown measure, it’s a new business process that we will use moving forward. That’s the core of being anti-fragile – through lockdown, our business processes have improved.
Are there any working strategies you have implemented so far which you have found to be particularly effective?
Communication has been key. There is a huge focus on communication and how we communicate within the business and it’s the main thing that Dan Harrison, our Chief Executive, has been driving. Communication with our clients and with our staff – I think it’s been the most positive thing to come out of lockdown.
I run a morning meeting every day, it’s a fifteen minute catch-up video call with my team where we set the objective for the day ahead and check in with each other. We have been using Microsoft Teams a lot, mainly to keep in touch for daily questions and queries, so instead of sending another email or making a call, we can quickly send a message and get the information we need. It’s good to have everything in one place! We also get different teams and team members involved each week, where they share their ‘top tips’ for lockdown life, sharing hobbies and interests, pictures of pets and family – it’s a really good way to stay connected with everyone. I think that our staff know more about the business now, and certainly about each other, than they ever did before.
What other social strategies have you implemented within the business?
I think the main one would be the Friday Quiz – which takes place after work every other Friday via GoToMeeting and is for all staff members to join in. We get put into teams at random, which helps us speak to people from other parts of the business and have a bit of fun ‘outside of work’.
Have you had any great ‘working from home’ successes?
Well the one that springs to mind is one of our staff members who is currently in New Zealand – she moved to Newcastle last year and when they recently started to close the borders due to the COVID-19 outbreak, she wanted to move back home for a bit to be with her family, which we fully supported. She works in our client support team, and has been able to continue working for us on the ‘night shift’ – when the team here clock off at 8pm, she starts working and is able to keep on top of all the incoming emails and queries.
So moving on to you…. What methods are you using to stay motivated?
Routine is the main thing for me. It’s all about having a daily routine and sticking to it. I get up and do some exercise every morning then have a good breakfast to set me up for the work day. After the work day, it’s about having a hobby or interest to keep me motivated. I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve now been able to start writing a blog that I’ve always wanted to do, but just never actually got round to.
What have been the challenges you’ve faced when working from home?
I think staying motivated is definitely one, and trying to balance work life and looking after my daughters. Childcare and home schooling have been a challenge but I think like everyone, I’m doing the best I can. The main thing is keeping the kids happy and healthy. True Potential have been really supportive with this, they understand the challenges that come with childcare and home schooling at this time, so if I’m on a video call and my kids end up joining in, so be it! It’s really great to have this level of support from the business, as it can be a lot to juggle.
Finally – If there is one piece of advice you could give another company or employee at this time, what would it be?
I’d say… try and find one thing that you can come out of lockdown stronger or better at. It doesn’t have to be big, maybe just going for a walk, writing for an hour or practising a new language – build that habit now and you’ll still be doing it in years to come. For companies, look at what areas are under strain and see how you can improve them – is there a way you can thrive rather than survive?
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