Autumn has given way to winter and we find ourselves in the dog days of 2020. It is not a year that most of us at Inzpire will remember with undiluted joy.
A plague descended on humanity and many people died. Within the Inzpire family, some of us have lost loved ones and all of us have been affected in some way. The words ‘lock down’ have become part of our vocabulary and life, as we knew it, has changed somewhat. All of a sudden, we have found ourselves working from home and constantly on ‘Zoom’ or ‘Teams’.
Mental health has become even more important than normal, especially at this time of short days, long nights, and stormy skies. But the nice thing about storms is that they always stop! Every storm runs out of rain just as every night turns into day. In fact, the more violent the storm, the quicker it passes. The black clouds blow away and the sun comes out again. I feel confident that the worst of this pandemic is now behind us and that we are all moving towards calmer waters. Lockdown has been eased and we are back to 3 tiers.
Although Lincoln, Inzpire’s home, remains in tier 3, there is real hope on the horizon. Several new vaccines seem to offer a remarkable degree of protection against Covid-19 and the UK Govt has already started innoculations. A Minister has been put in charge of the vaccination programme and it seems entirely possible that a significant percentage of the population may be vaccinated by Easter! When we look back on this time, from the vantage point of the future, I think humanity will be proud of how it came together to solve a very difficult problem. I am certain that 2021 will be a much better year than 2020 - for all of us at Inzpire, and also for the world.
2020 has been tough. Like most businesses, Inzpire has been caught up in a violent and unexpected storm, which blew up out of nowhere, and which has raged unchecked for many months. It has been hard going and, quite often, we have had to have ‘all hands on deck’! However, each one of us of us has done our bit to keep the Inzpire ship afloat and I am very proud of the way the Inzpire Team has ridden out the biggest economic hurricane in living memory. They have been inspirational in their approach: calm, measured, unflappable. If we can survive this, then Inzpire can survive pretty much anything!
The future, of course, will probably look different to the past. When you come out of a storm you aren’t quite the same person that walked in; that is the effect storms have on you. Thus, the Inzpire that comes out of this pandemic will not be quite the same as the Inzpire that went in to it.
It will be better and stronger! We will be improved in so many ways because we have learned a great deal from this experience. There are some things you can only learn in a storm! Storms can bring good things as well as destruction. Storms make trees take deeper roots. Storms create skilled sailors. Storms make us appreciate the sunny days and what we actually have. Storms reveal the true character of organisations and people.
Back in March, in the confusion of a rapidly evolving and unexpected situation, we came up with some clear priorities: Looking after our employees (on whom everything depends) was right at the top of that list, closely followed by looking after our valued customers. Everything else came joint last. We put employee welfare and mental health right at the centre of everything we did. Nor did not ask for, or take, a single penny of Government money. We are rather proud of that.
Our approach seems to be working. Inzpire is growing and succeeding despite the inclement financial weather! We have taken on 54 new employees in 2020 and we are on track to deliver our best ever financial performance, despite all that Covid has thrown at us. For the 7th successive year we have been selected a 3-Star Best Company (the highest level possible) with employee engagement described as ‘extraordinary’. Our employee churn rate is extremely low and our employee growth is accelerating every year.
Inzpire grows through delighting customers. However, we believe that we can only create amazing customer satisfaction by recruiting and retaining amazing people. Therefore, our employees come first, always. If we have happy employees, if we give them freedoms, if we look after them in the bad times, if we make them feel special and protected, then they will, inevitably, create delighted customers. That is how Inzpire thinks. That is why we are always trying to make Inzpire an even better place to work. We have many exciting plans for 2021 including a new People Strategy that will have, at its heart, an agile, family-friendly, working environment (even more so than before) in which wellbeing, having fun, and looking after each other will right at the top of our priority list.
In 2021 will become an even more results-orientated work place, in which what matters is what you achieve not how you work, where you work or when you work. We will be a place where everyone is valued and where being family friendly is seen as very important. We are introducing all sorts of new initiatives to support this. Exciting and unusual things will be happening all over Inzpire because we aim to be ‘different by design’. We are trying to create a Revolution in Defence after all!
Looking ahead, I see a bright future. The worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us. We still have quite a way to go to reach calmer waters but they are in sight. What matters now is stamina, optimism and the will to press on. We have important work to do in 2021. It is worth remembering that that many of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on going when everyone else gave up.
Finally, and most important of all, a huge THANK YOU to Inzpire’s amazing employees. I am continually amazed by this truly fabulous collection of people. Without all the day-to-day efforts that they make there would be no ‘Revolution in Defence’. Collectively, they have kept our ship afloat during the great pandemic of 2020. Every single one has played their part and it has been joyful to behold. I can’t think of any better shipmates to ride though a storm with.
Our team are here to help. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small, please get in touch.