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Chamber Industry Call Yields Reflections on Changes to the Finance Industry

Posted by: Angie Prather on Friday, April 10, 2020

The Chamber's series of Industry Calls continued with a second installment on April 9. The roundtable discussion centered on the Finance industry and was moderated by Tracee Adams of Hawthorn Capital and included Matt List with BKD and Brandon Converse with Keating & Associates.

Designed to help leaders in similar industries connect and discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their businesses, the session participants also share some of the trends they're seeing and how they're adapting to a new working environment.

The 2020 Russia-Saudi Arabia oil price war has compounded the challenges in the Finance industry. Staggering unemployment figures and a plethora of new government funding programs have also impacted their clients and colleagues. All agreed that few things are as important now as the personal relationship you have with your banker. Patience and persistence will be necessary to work through the funding mechanisms that are now available to assist businesses.

As with the Construction Industry call that was held earlier in the month, the conversation also turned to the importance of communication and connection with clients, colleagues and team members. All of the participants agreed that the U.S. workforce has been incredibly resilient during this ordeal and has adapted quickly to the changes in their industry and the economy.

Employees have risen to the occasion, even though more has changed in their lives than just their working environment. Some are now also home schooling their children and taking on additional responsibilities for neighbors and relatives who are especially vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

Managing client expectations and communicating with them remains a priority as does learning new ways for their teams to work collectively on projects that require collaboration. Checking in with both clients and employees who are socially isolated has become much more important to connect with them about barriers and frustrations they're experiencing.

And the group felt that their clients were beginning to reflect on how they'll proceed when the environment improves.
    - Do they need to continue to invest in brick and mortar? Or should they instead be investing in their technology infrastructure so that a portion of their workforce can remain in their home offices? Flexibility offers advantages to both their businesses and their employees.
    - Should they be doing more for their teams who are working remotely in terms of hardware, software and connection capabilities? Should they be reimbursing employees for their home internet connection?
    - How will this experience permanently change their future customer interactions and relationships?

Our thanks to these subject matter experts for their informative exchange. The Chamber will be hosting more Industry Calls in the future and Chelsea Dyer, Manager of Engagement welcomes your programming suggestions. You can reach her at cdyer@wichitachamber.org.

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