Why I run a weekly Q&A for my employeesPosted almost 4 years ago by Nick Boulton

I was having a drink with a friend the other day (don’t worry, it was at a safe social distance, in my garden, with someone who had been self-isolating, only with his family, all who had been wearing masks and regularly using hand sanitiser…) Both of us run businesses and have had similar struggles: Drop in sales, motivation, productivity, general morale and revenue.

But, something he found fascinating was that I held a weekly companywide Q&A on Microsoft Teams for anyone who wanted ask whatever questions they wanted.

I hadn’t really thought about it being unusual until I looked at the horrified look on his face and he started asking me about it…

“What if they ask you difficult questions?”

“How much do you tell them?”

“Do you miss out some of the facts?”

“What happens if you don’t know the answer?”

I assumed that like me, people would want to know what was going on, how the business was doing, were we going to keep our jobs and what were the plans for getting through this?

Client Server has always been a very open, autonomous business. There’s no pretence around designated offices for individuals or any kind of hierarchy. Our offices are open plan, with every team and level of employee sitting on the sales floor, interacting with each other on a daily basis.

I have always thought we are fairly good with communicating throughout the business. I’m sure we could improve. But one of the things I have felt strongly about is communicating with everyone during lockdown. This has been a hugely stressful time. Not only are these unprecedented times, the future is completely unknown. I think it’s my job to try and ease some of those concerns and make lockdown a little more bearable.

Why would you not be as open and transparent as possible?

The last 20 years has been about building our culture, brand and environment. That revolves around our employees, our “Client Server Citizens”.

It doesn’t matter if you are a trainee just embarking on your career, or a stakeholder in the business – we all need reassurance. Having the ability to keep everyone informed is vital, not only for your survival but maintaining your company culture and ethos.

When we emerge from this and how we will look is still unknown. But knowing that we will all be stronger, more determined together gives me hope. I firmly believe that if we can keep our camaraderie during lockdown, imagine how motivated, driven and successful we will be when we are back together. This all starts by keeping my door firmly open to anyone.