The current crisis is an unprecedented challenge for companies around the world. With the global economy at a virtual standstill and billions of people on lockdown, almost all industries will suffer in some shape or form. However, the unavoidable truth is that the travel industry will be the one to bear the brunt of this economic slowdown. Many businesses are now in survival mode, finding any way they can to reduce spend including controllable costs like marketing budgets and then the workforce.
It’s during these challenging times that a company’s culture is truly put to the test. Those with a genuinely strong employee culture, who ‘walk the talk’ in their commitment to providing a supportive and rewarding working community, will now see their commitment return dividends.
As a travel company, FCM isn’t immune to the downturn and we have had many tough decisions to make in recent weeks. But if a silver lining in this global crisis is to be found, it’s in the commitment, loyalty and positivity of our incredible people during these times as testament to a genuinely strong company culture.
Making the impossible, possible
Over the last few weeks our people have done extraordinary things. From getting 20 school children home from Morocco and 15 miners back from Guyana within hours of borders closing, to working until the early hours to help stranded travellers return home, the list is endless. As an organisation, we’re incredibly proud of the hard work and tenacity of our people to make the impossible, possible for our clients.
Those who have had to stand down are demonstrating exceptional understanding of the need to take these steps in order to protect our business in the long term. Those who remain are working even harder with fewer people to continue supporting our customers. At a local, regional and country level, the focus is on collaboration, communication and visibility. Leadership teams continue to support our people mentally and physically whether furloughed or still actively working, throughout the coming weeks and months.
Preparing for a post-COVID world
As the world waits for the curve to flatten, a lot of hope remains within our organisation. In between helping stranded travellers return home and navigating the ‘new normal’ to support essential industries such as mining and manufacturing, our people are using the time to upskill and prepare for a post-COVID world. They’re further expanding their travel knowledge, connecting with clients, writing travel blogs and spending time with each other (over Zoom of course!). Despite the challenging circumstances, the ownership, egalitarianism and entrepreneurial flair that form the cornerstone of our parent company, Flight Centre Travel Group, continues to shine through.
Every company in our sector is hurting right now - these are tough times for everyone. But it’s also the time for businesses to embrace their company culture, to harness it and allow it to help them weather the storm.