The pandemic is far from over, but here at MadeYou we’ve settled into our “new normal.”
Having jumped the hurdles, rolled with the times and, thankfully, emerged from all the lockdowns as a team, we’re still smiling and we’re ready to look back at what’s changed since Covid came to Malta in March 2020.
Our Initial Concerns When Covid Hit
When Covid first came to light, we continued with our usual face-to-face training. Our approach to the virus was in line with much of the world; we thought it would be an isolated, short-lived issue, unlikely to affect our island home.
Then came the first lockdown. At this point, we had some worries. Co-Founder and CEO, Luke Todd recalls:
“Our main concerns were around moving from a face-to-face model to an online model. What sets MadeYou apart from other training providers (alongside our amazing team of highly qualified, talented trainers and our awesome content!) is the element of FUN we bring to the table. We had no idea how to replicate this side of our offering in an online environment. Another concern was the logistics- we just weren’t set up to offer online courses or video calls.”
Getting to Grips With Remote Working
We very quickly realised that we needed to get our ducks in a row. On went our big-boy pants and we got to work.
We focussed our efforts on building a system whereby we could provide our services remotely, without compromising on what makes us special.
Within a month or so, we had found a training platform solution and built effective self-learning courses. We used the same system to host remote courses, including utilising breakout rooms.
While this was underway, we continued to support our current coaching clients via Teams.
Handling the Transition Through Effective Communication
The spread of Covid and the subsequent impact on everyone’s lives meant that we all had to become more open to different ways of working and our existing client base was phenomenal at working with us to find great solutions.
Luke remembers handling those early conversations and the brainwaves he and the team had along the way:
“We have a great rapport with all of our clients and continued to have dialogues over email, Slack and phone during the first lockdown and our transition to online learning. This also helped us fine-tune our first self-learning module “Managing Remote Workers” and identify that “Digital Communication Skills” would be the next module. I was open about our efforts to move our training courses into a remote setting and kept clients updated every time we had successfully modified a course to remote delivery.”
We have a very open and honest approach at the best of times- we knew we simply needed to continue in that approach to help our clients through this transition. Transparency and regular communication during this initial period was essential and seemed to keep everyone on track.
Ensuring Effective Online Delivery
Switching our coaching one-to-ones over to remote sessions was a relatively simple switch. We were able to offer even more sessions as we were saving time by not commuting between clients, and we found that online calls provided a little more security to less confident participants.
Many quieter clients started to engage more proactively in the process; they were happier to share and were building a much stronger rapport with their coaches.
When it came to our training courses, we were determined that they would be delivered with the same level of quality, fun and engagement as they would in a face-to-face environment. We worked on each course in turn, starting with Art of Giving Feedback, to Difficult Conversations with Underperformers to Motivating Steadies and Overperformers; amending the content so it could work over remote calls.
“We started to see our portfolio of courses as being easy to deliver over video session or face-to-face and have continued with this migration ever since. The platform we chose gave us the use of breakout rooms which is what really enabled us to maintain our unique style of delivery and to ensure that operationally valuable learning outcomes were still being provided.”
– Luke Todd, Co-founder & CEO
Our learning outcomes are still as impactful as they were in face-to-face settings and the feedback we receive shows that participants are often amazed at how time flies; assuring us the vital “fun factor” is alive and well.
All of MadeYou’s services and courses are now built to work in both a face-to-face and remote setting, giving our clients the flexibility to choose what’s best for them. We’ve also found the ability to bring people together from different countries (including the US, Japan, Europe and Australia) to deliver the same courses to be a huge plus.
What Has Covid Taught Us as a Business?
The pandemic brought with it many personal lessons such as valuing your health, your liberty and your interactions with loved ones, but it also taught us some amazing lessons from a business perspective. Luke lists a few of his key takeaways:
“Firstly, I learnt that reacting quickly is vital- but always with your unique selling points, clients and values in mind. If you sense something is changing, get going on your plan so you can hit the ground running.
Secondly, the lockdown really challenged me in my core belief that teams need to be physically together to build an effective business culture and a shared set of values. My team had expressed a preference for home-working pre-covid but I just couldn’t wrap my head around how it could work. Covid forced me to try, and now I am convinced that it can absolutely work- as long as you put the effort in.
Lastly, it reinforced the value of building and maintaining genuine, strong and effective relationships with your clients. We’ve always taken pride in working with clients as a third-party partner and the pandemic showed that this approach has paid off. Continuing in this effort has been my focus for 2020 and 2021 and we’ll continue to support our clients via open communication through 2022 and beyond.”
We are now delivering training, coaching, 360 feedback, calibration and team-building sessions for many different clients, both remotely and in-person depending on their needs and location. We have deepened relationships with clients, maximised our availability by cutting out needless commutes and can reach any client, anywhere thanks to our new online-friendly approach.
What We’re Expecting From 2022
We would never dare to predict the development of the pandemic or how it may affect future restrictions around the world, but we are definitely expecting to see further increases in online sessions with fewer requests for in-person services.
Our business has thankfully risen to the challenge and our clients continue to enjoy our learning delivery, our fun approach and the utilisation of our coaches’ unique operational backgrounds, whether that be in an online or classroom environment. We hope to continue that trend into 2022 and beyond.
Our team will continue with a mixture of homeworking, office work and travelling when necessary:
- Kelly, our Co-Founder, works remotely from France with occasional travel for client sessions.
- Training Manager, Richard, loves homeworking because it optimises his time and allows him to deliver more value for more people each day.
- Our Chief Organiser, Sue, is now a grandparent and so loves the flexibility of remote-working as it allows for more time with her growing family.
- Erika, our Marketing Manager, appreciates the peace and quiet of home- allowing her to really get her head down and focus, with amazing results.
Luke explains his love of a mixed approach:
“I appreciate remote days where I can help multiple people in one day as I am not travelling around, but I enjoy the contrast of the odd team-building day or face-to-face coaching/training session to get me out and seeing actual people. Don’t be surprised if I suggest a face-to-face client meeting!
We’ve all made, and continue to make, efforts to keep us feeling like a team including regular in-person meets for lunch and/or meetings, online quiz nights, escape rooms and magic shows! We often video call each other just to check in… mainly driven by the need for Netflix recommendations!”
Remote Service Offered by MadeYou
All of our services can be delivered remotely or face-to-face, with the same impacts.
We pride ourselves on our services being geared around the growth and development of others and we do this through:
- Training Courses
- Development Programs
- Business Coaching
- Team Building
- 360° Feedback Program
- Performance Review Calibration
- Culture and Values Workshops
If you want to invest in your people and grow your business, but are not sure which service is right for you, then contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE consultation.