The Importance of Transparency & Open Communication to Build a Strong Team in Facing Covid-19 Pandemic
SIAR.Com, Jakarta — Founder’s Diary webinar, it is a weekly webinar held by Prasetia Dwidharma and SIAR.com that was first launched on June, 9th 2020. The very first episode featured Delta Purna Widyangga (Founder of Qiscus) and Joel Kereh (Founder of Citcall) as guest speakers, discussing about “Building Team’s Trust and Resilience to Survive COVID-19” and were hosted by the duo founders of Prasetia Dwidharma, Arya Setiadharma and Ardi Setiadharma.
We first started our discussion by welcoming each guest speaker to introduce their company. Started with Qiscus, it is a conversational platform that helps businesses embrace the power of conversations to deliver excellent Customer Experience. Qiscus has brought its multichannel chat and video call technologies to 14 countries and served enterprises in over 12 sectors. It has powered up conversations for some of the largest enterprises in various sectors such as Healthcare, Telecommunication, Transportation, Online Commerce and even the Government.
The other company is Citcall which provides the most reliable & efficient OTP or One Time Password solution. OTP is a better version of passwords, which unlike password that are vulnerable to be attacked. Citcall technology has served companies in 9 countries, including unicorn like Tokopedia and recently providing reliable OTP for Prakerja project initiated by the government.
During the first question, Delta mentioned that maintaining team’s trust is very important. He built it up by bringing transparency and open communication within the organization.
“We try our best to build our team’s trust and maintain our resiliency in order to survive the pandemic. We did it with a lot of transparency and communication. At Qiscus, we approached it with creating matrix with several scenarios and then communicated it clearly with the whole organization. We make sure that everyone understands what are the situations and the trigger to particular actions,” shared Delta.
Delta mentioned that he prepared what he called as Business Continuity Plans (BCP). Inside it, there are several modes starting with caution mode, yellow mode and orange mode. Each mode contains action plan and triggers to execute the action plan.
“We explain further what the impacts are for the company’s operation, expenses, payroll to both founders and the whole organization for each modes and action plan. We explain everything. This is how we build transparency by Business Continuity Plans (BCP),” explained Delta.
Aligned with Delta, Joel also agreed that open communication and transparency are important, although Joel mentioned that since Citcall has smaller team, communication flow is way easier than if they have more headcounts like what Qiscus has.
Joel shared that during the pandemic when every team member is working from home, he constantly asks his team members if they are okay.
“I asked them if they are okay and if all the family members are safe. This is one of the ways that I do to get to know my team member better, what are their challenges,” explained Joel.
He added that creating transparency is also another important thing that he does within his company. “I think everyone definitely needs money to survive. If I as the organization can help, we will help. However, if the condition of the company itself is impossible to help, we will be honest and share with them to bear with the situation and try to retrench. With the current situation, our team members have been very understanding. Those with higher salary are willing to not get their full salary to help the rest who are needier,” explain Joel.
“I have ever called one of my team member’s wife to explain that it is the company’s policy that his husband has not yet got the full payment and we hope that the wife can be supportive during this tough times. I don’t want him to be questioned by his wife regarding the salary. As a friend, I want the best for all of my team members. If any of them need the money earlier, we try our best to support. But the key is in the communication. We need to know at a deeper level what is their challenges and concerns,” added Joel.
“It is also interesting that this is not always about money, although I understand that it can be problem for most people. There is this case where one of our team members feels that working from home is boring and unproductive. He asked for my permission whether he can still work from the office. Due to the open communication, I know that definitely the office is empty and if he uses it by himself, he will still be safe and productive. So, again, the key is in the communication,” he adds.
For Joel, clearly, communication is a key, hence he regularly does it both as a leader of the company and as a friend.
As for Qiscus, according to Delta, internal communication happens in the form an internal blog. He regularly updates the blog to send important messages to the whole organization. “For example, we posted a big win when Qiscus closes a big client. We ever posted a story of how creative our customer service is in handling a very long down time for an important client. The customer service team ends up got a satisfying feedback from the client. We posted these kinds of stuffs. We also posted several suggestions regarding Work from Home, something like how to effectively work from home,” he adds.
Qiscus also creates engagement by running a survey called Employee Pulse. “It’s a simple survey that contains two to three questions. The main intention for this survey is to know whether everything is good at their side. We told everyone that this will only be seen by the founders and HR team and we want them to share whatever they feel like sharing. The result is interesting. We found out that working from home can be very isolating and demotivating for some people, especially those who are extrovert. Employee Pulse helps us to get a better understanding about our team members and how we can help them by creating programs that cater their needs. We do motivational seminars or happy hour to just relax and play game. So far, we receive good feedback for Pulse at Qiscus,” shared Delta.
To build team’s morale, Joel mentioned that he didn’t lay off anyone from his company and seeing what happened in the market, he hopes that this can be a good motivation for the team members.
When asked about what he (Joel) has done in terms of managing external stakeholders and to stay relevant, he mentioned that nowadays is the best time to build relationship and start the communication. He recalled that prior to the crisis; meeting in person can be hassle and time consuming. Now with quarantine mode, everyone has to get used to zoom call or online meetings.
As in for the product, Joel mentioned that in general, he does not modify too much from the original product to adjust the current situation. The company is keeping the development going. According to him, the only thing that the company needs to adjust is definitely in marketing the product.
“We are mapping the high growth industry during the crisis and try to give them the offer. We need to be sensitive in times like this as companies are retrenching. Clients or companies will surely think about how to survive first. Therefore, it is important for Citcall to adjust the message and how to communicate it,” shared Joel.
“We constantly keep the conversation going between us and the clients. We adjust the packages that are helping them. We keep saying that let’s be honest and keep the conversation going or at least we can brainstorm on some of the options that we can take. The goal is to create opportunities and until today, it generally ends up with a good opportunity in hand,” shared Joel.
Unfortunately the time didn’t permit us to answers the all questions from the enthusiastic audiences. But don’t worry, we will get back with the answer via an article that will be posted on Siar.com.
To end the webinar, Ardi Setiadharma mentioned that the next session will be about IoT and the New Normal, featuring Adrian Sugandi from Sonicboom and Erwin Subroto from Webtrace. (Prasetia-SIAR)
Foto : SIAR