2020 Review of the Year
Last year’s ‘round up’ talked of not only our successful 2019 business figures but also our team’s sporting achievements, our intention to revamp our offices – making them a more comfortable and welcoming place to work in and for our candidates to come to, and our many much-loved social nights out. We looked forward with excitement. At the very least we were expecting more of the same but, if truth be known, we were secretly optimistic; anticipating that 2020 was going to be our best year yet. We were ready for the ‘roaring twenties’....
So, how did that pan out?
Well, January and February were cracking months. Our freshly decorated offices were as colourful and welcoming, as we had hoped. We implemented many new procedures, (in response to our employee engagement work in 2019) and the year took off with our highly motivated team in the safe hands of our very capable management team (who all won Employees of the Year for 2019!).
The Management Team at the beginning of 2020 - voted for by staff.
We had the plans in place for a busy first quarter and we really hit the ground running. In fact, literally. In true Impact team style, many of us started training for a 10k race to raise money for Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal.
We covered a lot of ground, in many ways. The team are generally always out visiting our clients and meeting candidates for interviews, training and inductions but we were also reaching out to the community at a number of careers fairs and even doing our first ‘speed-dating’ style interview training with business students at Northampton College. We are ‘people people’ and were thriving doing what we do best!
We got great feedback from our interview skills 'speed dating' events at Northampton College
March arrived and the world around us had already changed dramatically. By the time we completed our Charity run on March 16th there was talk that this virus that seemed to be taking hold across the world may, in fact, be a pandemic and we were soon acutely aware that following the advice to ‘wash our hands while singing Happy Birthday’, was just the beginning. We were faced with the reality that not only would our social nights out be stopping but that we would all have to go home.
Running 10k raised £1328 for the Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal
So, go home we did. Lots of changes occurred over the months that followed. Some of us continued to work from home, at kitchen tables or on sun loungers, some while home-schooling children, all navigating new ways to deal with the blurred home/work lines and trying to remotely communicate with each other, our candidates and clients. Some of the team stayed onsite, becoming keyworkers as they continued to service our ‘frontline’ clients. Some of the team were furloughed for a while. It was a scary and surreal time for many people and we all had to find new ways to support each other and deal with the many obstacles we were presented with. There was so much to learn- we’d never even heard of the word Furlough before 2020 for a start! Microsoft Teams was finally used to its full potential by us and our many online Friday socials ensured we zoomed until we could zoom no more!
The team celebrated our 18th anniversary over Zoom
Meanwhile, we were busy behind the scenes getting the new online registration portal up and running. It had a few teething problems but is now fully launched and enabling us to safely register and interview candidates from the safety of their own homes. We still see our candidates, via Teams or Facetime, or at their onsite inductions and training but, paradoxically, we really have invested in and utilised more technology than ever before -to ensure we keep the human touch.
We have been extremely fortunate to be able to continue to do business, supporting our clients and finding people work throughout this year. Albeit at times we were on considerably reduced numbers, business levels have risen again and, while some areas in the country have plummeted, we have seen some of the benefit of being based in the logistics hub of the country. Thankfully, our usual peak time of July and August showed an increase in business, as we would expect and in some part, this was due to the pandemic. Online, medical and IT businesses were (and still are) busier, meaning some clients have had to expand, creating more job opportunities. The need for permanent staff to self-isolate in some of our clients also caused a fluctuation in staff levels which created a demand for temporary staff. So, we have continued to respond to rapidly changing needs as we would on your average year!
Matthew drove to collect test results for a worker who couldn't - he really did drive the extra mile!
A lot of good has come from 2020 and that is what we have endeavoured to focus on. Our lovely new offices did get used -with a bit of a re-jig, screens and sanitisers- some of our team returned to the office at times and our onsite teams have remained working from our client’s locations for the entire year! Our management team have absolutely stepped up to the mark (and then some!) on coaching and steering everyone through all the learning curves we have faced, and every member of the Impact team has given it their all. We have expanded the team, recruiting three new staff and are looking forward to growing even more with the opening of our new Peterborough branch, in the New Year. We will continue to invest in innovative technology and to respond to whatever hurdles the continuing prevalence of COVID-19 means for us, let alone the impending European Union exit- There is still so much to be done!
Before and after photos of our lovely decorated offices
So, farewell 2020- you have not been kind to many. We are truly grateful to all those keyworkers who have kept the wheels turning while we’ve dealt with one of the biggest challenges most of our generation have faced. To those businesses and individuals who have even barely made it through to the end of the year, a massive well done- many did not, through no fault of their own. May 2021 actually be the “best year yet” (that we hoped 2020 would be) – the compensation, no reward, we all deserve.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year, see you in 2021!
Paul and Angela Hooper - Directors