COVID-19 Team Blog: Donna Richards

17 July 2020

5 minutes to read.

We’re proud of what our teams are achieving at Carpenters during the coronavirus pandemic. Written by colleagues across multiple divisions of the company, they hopefully provide a small insight into our continuing working practices and values as we all adjust to our new world.

Here is the twelfth in the series from CEO, Donna Richards.

How the world has changed 

"How the world has changed since February, when we started to see changes to the way we work and travel! Initially we saw restrictions on business travel and external visitors in February and early March, through to the migration of our teams to home working and less than 3% of the team remaining in the office to complete those roles we could not cover from home in the last couple of weeks of March.

Being locked down in our homes and missing family members has been tough, then add to this a new way of working and this has shown me what a fantastic supportive team I am privileged to lead! They have and are truly living and breathing the core values of Carpenters Group, ‘doing the right thing’ for our clients be they corporate or individual and our people. Numerous members of the team have gone above and beyond what I ever could have imagined and the agility of our Technology Team has been outstanding.

This is the twelfth blog prepared by a diverse group of our colleagues covering all areas of the business and I believe they have been a fair reflection of the overwhelming feeling at Carpenters Group. They all discuss the flexibility and resilience of the team, reflect the juggling with childcare, home schooling, caring for family members whilst ensuring our clients are looked after. The community spirit and compassion demonstrated by the team have exemplified the culture of Carpenters Group.

Communication has been key, be this with our colleagues, who may have been struggling with lockdown, or our clients, who needed reassurance that we were and are still looking after their needs. WhatsApp groups sprung up across the business as a means of teams informally keeping in touch. Our internal magazine, The Connection, has moved to bi-weekly with lots of articles shared by members of our team, competitions and news thanks to the hard work of our Internal Communications Officer Ben Higham. The intranet now includes numerous tips on working from home, mental health support and is a true hub of information for all. Teams and Zoom have become new ways of keeping in touch, as we have found having that visual contact is so important in staying connected across the business. Colleagues working alongside children who are home schooling and saying hello on calls, interruptions from deliveries arriving and dogs saying hello have all at some point formed part of our meetings. Heaven forbid I am on a call when the doorbell goes - the bedlam of two excited basset hounds and a cocker spaniel have been witnessed by many speaking to me as numerous deliveries for members of the household arrive!!

However, the communication would not be in place if it were not for the phenomenal Technology team, led by Richard Blears. They have worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was home based as soon as possible, cajoling suppliers to ensure we received the kit we needed, setting up production lines to get laptops set up, with instructions to be handed out to team members. It was impressive to witness. The IT roadmap became an IT racetrack with the controlled roll out and advancement of planned developments at a pace we previously only dreamed of with collaboration across the whole business. Carpenters Group has always prided itself on its technology, and has been lucky that the business owners have always invested heavily, recognising that technology is key to futureproofing a business, and this certainly paid off during Covid 19!

Carpenters Group has always worked closely with insurers, with the approach that a collaborative framework can only be good for the whole sector. These links with insurers and brokers have gone from strength to strength over the last 4 months. Our awards winning Resolver product has meant we could continue to service our clients, and put us in an excellent position to extended our protocols with insurers in the early days of the pandemic with benefits for both our clients and insurers. Our Serious Injury Team have kicked off a project to assist clients with technology and with the new way of working, all are involved and working with insurers collaboratively to provide the equipment needed to make communication easy for clients.

Our Insurance Services team, led by Sam Nicholson, continues to provide additional support to insurers with our white labelled services. New services and new insurer clients have been on-boarded with all teams working remotely, an achievement in its own right.

We have been joined by new colleagues during the period, including our new Head of People, Sarah Pickerill, who hasn’t actually worked ‘in an office’ yet but it feels like she has been a member of the Operations Board forever, and has certainly hit the ground running.

Lockdown is now easing, but it doesn’t make life less scary or risky! I get to hug my grandchildren, but worry, as do many, about when the pandemic will be over. Things may be easing but I do not foresee our offices being fully open for some time yet. Working from home works and keeping our team safe is paramount. Like many businesses agility will likely become the new way of working with the working week split between home and the office, all the while ensuring we are doing the right thing for our colleagues, clients, insurers and brokers. Keeping our Carpenters family safe is key and ensuring the sustainability of our business continues. In the longer term offices are likely to develop into places for creative thinking, training and face to face collaboration. We know home working doesn’t suit all so we have to ensure any future caters for all.

Throughout this pandemic and ongoing, I have never been prouder of the whole team at Carpenters Group, their resilience and their dedication to our customers. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in person, expressing my appreciation for everything they have done and continue to do. At the end of it all I have no doubt we will emerge stronger and more united, and that is all down to our amazing team."

About the author

Donna Richards, Chief Executive Officer

Donna is the CEO of Carpenters Group, having assumed the position in February 2016. As Chief Executive, Donna leads the Board of Directors and holds responsibility for the continued strategic growth, diversification and management of the firm. Donna, previously Carpenters’ CFO, has over 20 years’ experience of advising the legal sector in relation to strategic and financial matters and her appointment serves to further strengthen the businesses corporate management structure, bolstering continued success within the market.

Find out more here