The next in our series of meet the team articles, we speak to Pat Wilkinson, Office Manager at Granite 5, to explore Pat’s insights into how the agency has transformed to adapt to the current economic climate.
TL; DR office manager, insights from Granite 5 internal digital transformation, and how to maintain team culture remotely.
Pat has worked in a variety of industries throughout her career, from insurance, house building to glazing, and in all roles has consistently been the safe pair of hands that ensures things are organised and get done to the highest standard.
Pat came across Granite 5 through a friend’s recommendation, and as luck would have it, they were looking for someone to support the team. Pat wowed the team and landed the role as PA to the MD Jill. She then took on more responsibility and became the office manager, and the unofficial title of office mum!
In the 5 years since Pat joined our team the role has adapted greatly, as has the business. This change has been accelerated during the last year with the pandemic, and Pat has been an integral part of the internal digital transformation that has taken place.
Granite 5> How has Granite 5 changed during your time there?
Pat > The company has certainly expanded in the 5 years I have been here. We have not only grown in size, but also in skills and knowledge. Our project management has become more robust which means we can better support our clients.
We have become much more focused on the type of clients we can best serve, and where our expertise lies which is with membership organisations.
Granite 5> Talk us through the Granite 5 internal digital transformation.
Pat > As with many businesses, a year ago we found ourselves accelerating our internal digital transformation to accommodate the change in economic climate. This transformation included:
- Move to Breathe HR system – This was a new online HR system that gave us much more flexibility on accessing and submitting the normal HR requests virtually, rather than via paper forms. It did mean a little bit of pain as I had to scan in all paper records so they could be accessed online. But now everything is up and running, it’s much more efficient and means all documents are in a central accessible place.
- Remote recruitment process – We were lucky enough to be in the position to be recruiting through this time, which meant our whole recruitment process had to go online. All interviews were done via zoom or calls, and all correspondence was electronic to make the process quicker. Although we had to adapt quickly, I don’t feel this hampered our processes as we have had 4 great new team members join in that time!
- Weekly zoom team catch-up calls – This is something we implemented from the start of working remotely and have carried it on the whole time. We see it more as an informal team catch up to check in on each other which has helped us stay connected. This is also supported by a weekly company update email that Jill sends to the whole team, covering what’s going on across the company and celebrating our wins or highlighting challenges.
- Implemented CRM system HubSpot – The last element was our new CRM system HubSpot which we implemented in October, which I love! It’s so intuitive and makes tracking and communication so much simpler and more efficient. As with any data migrations it had its challenges, but it was so worth it, and I would highly recommend the system.
Jill also shared a great article going into detail about our digital transformation, for anyone who wants to know more!
Granite 5> How have you adapted to nurture your team culture during the pandemic?
Pat > This was one of our biggest challenges as we are such a close team and used to working together in the office. We all put a lot of thought into how we could keep this going, and made sure we got ideas and feedback from the team to ensure we were doing things that interested them and were aligned with their values.
So far, our activities have included: virtual escape room, virtual cheese tasting by The Courtyard Dairy with pre-sent hampers, virtual arctic survival experience and remote secret Santa. Now that was an interesting one to arrange!
As it was our 21st birthday as an agency back in October, we sent champagne to all the team so we could celebrate! We also sent advent calendars and a hamper to everyone for Christmas as we couldn’t get together.
Not being able to see each other and have a quick chat over a cup of tea in the kitchen has meant we have had to be creative with the ways we keep in touch, and to ensure that we do it. But overall, I think it’s made us stronger as a team.
Granite 5> What is the project you are most proud of being involved in?
Pat > The project I am most proud of is a recent one we did for The Association for Nutrition (AfN). I found the content was interesting, the site was great, and the client was lovely to work with.
I’m also really proud of the sites that we created for the charities Paper Boat and PTSD999, and I really like the fact that we are supporting these charities to get more visibility for their amazing causes.
Granite 5> What makes Granite 5 unique?
Pat > I have never worked anywhere that has such an inclusive close-knit team, which is lovely to be a part of. This shows in the way everyone has made a real effort to keep in touch throughout lockdown and check in on each other.
Jill, our MD and founder brings qualities as a leader that certainly make Granite 5 unique. She’s kind and supportive with a clear vision of providing digital transformation for our clients. This is echoed by the management team, who really care and value your opinion.
I also love the way clients are treated as partners and their projects are given the same care as if it was our own money. The team are so conscientious and work hard to deliver the best service possible to every client. That makes us unique.