The Essentials of Essential Work: Keeping People at the Heart of Preparation
To be in the restoration industry is to be in a line of work that must keep going, even when much of the world around us comes to a halt. Whether it’s after a natural disaster or in the midst of a pandemic, our job is the same: provide essential services that will help people, businesses, and communities get back on their feet as soon as they’re safely able to.
But in a world grappling with the unprecedented disruption and realities of COVID-19, how do we ensure we can continue providing those essential services as effectively as possible? The answer is the same now as it is during disaster responses: preparation.
Despite the many differences between the current COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of a natural disaster, two of the core principles of success remain the same:
- Effective preparation has to begin long before there’s an event on the horizon.
- You have to invest in the people behind your preparations.
If you’re working in restoration, people should always be at the heart of what we do.
Having the largest footprint, vendor partnerships, and plenty of manpower makes a response possible, but humanizing each of these preparations is the key to success. When you invest the time to become part of the community, build relationships, and find people with heart, it sets you up for a quicker response that can have a greater impact. Here’s how.
Having a presence is helpful. Becoming part of the community is better.
Being prepared to respond to an area starts with being part of that community long before any incident occurs. Simply having an office in the community isn’t enough; it requires presence and participation. If you’ve established your business as an active participant in your local area, there’s no time wasted when your community has a sudden and unexpected need for your services. Instead of showing up and trying to become part of the response only when this need arises, you’re already there, and they know they can count on you.
Franchise businesses are at an advantage with this because, from the day their location opens, they have to dig their roots deep into the community in order to grow their day-to-day work. This means getting to know local first responders, participating in and sponsoring community events, and volunteering time or services to the libraries, churches, or other organizations that keep your community going. As you’re regularly putting in this time to integrate your business with the community, you’re also familiarizing yourself with the area and its needs. So, if and when any major incident does occur, you’re ready and able to help them get back on their feet faster.
Having vendor partnerships is helpful. Actively building relationships is better.
Even if you’ve successfully rooted yourself in the community, your ability to respond at the most critical times depends on the strength of your resources, which, in turn, depends on the strength of the partnerships that supply those resources. While securing partnerships with key vendors is a good and necessary first step, actively building relationships with those partners is how you stay prepared. Taking the time to establish loyalty, trust, and strong working relationships with your partners prior to major events becomes instrumental in your response during those major events.
Our CEO, Sheldon Yellen, has a theory about this called “the speed of trust.” In other words, when you have pre-established relationships and you put a lot of time and effort into nurturing them, then if and when there is a need, there’s a certain speed involved that couldn’t be there otherwise. You’re not losing time trying to introduce or explain yourself when you have a need. That connection and understanding is already there. That’s the speed of trust.
COVID-19 has been the ultimate litmus test for this. Everyone is trying to do as much as they can to combat and prevent the coronavirus from spreading, but when there’s a global surge in demand for supplies and materials, shortages are inevitable. Those vendors that we’ve built strong working relationships with and regularly support in our day-to-day operations are now doing what they can to help us out during these unprecedented times. In many cases, this can be the difference between having enough resources to continue providing essential services and being forced to cut back on your services because you’re operating at limited capacity.
Having manpower is helpful. Finding people with heart is better.
As a multi-brand franchise company, establishing and maintaining these relationships with our vendors is important, but so is building relationships internally, within and between all of our own brands. None of these other investments in the communities we serve or the partnerships we establish would be possible if we didn’t start by investing in our own people first. It doesn’t matter how big or small your restoration business is. The effectiveness of your preparation and response depends on making sure you find the right people to make it happen.
At BELFOR Franchise Group, our people are what sets us apart. We’ve worked hard to intentionally build a company full of people who have the heart for restoration--those who aren’t just in this for a job, but because they have a genuine motivation and desire to help others when they need it most. In doing so, we’ve been able to create a family-like culture that’s driven by helping each other as much as we help our customers.
Working together and sharing resources is an ongoing and fundamental part of who we are because it’s how we deliver the best work for those who rely on our essential services every day. As a result, we have a national, multi-brand network of franchisees, industry experts, trainers, and support staff who are ready and willing to come together whenever the circumstances call for it. This becomes an invaluable instrument during major events and allows us to be fully prepared to handle whatever challenges those unique circumstances present.
If you want to succeed in restoration, you have to be committed to investing what it takes to get the job done for the sake of those people, businesses, and communities you’re helping. Now, more than ever, we’re seeing that investing the time to invest in people makes us better and more effective at what we do. It lays the groundwork to ensure that, no matter what challenges a disaster or pandemic throws at us, we’re still prepared to provide as seamless of a response as possible so that we can restore hope and peace of mind to as many people as possible.
For more information on BELFOR Franchise Group, how our multi-brand family works together, and how you can become part of it, please visit www.belforfranchisegroup.com/rr4.