BEST COVID-19 CRISIS RESPONSE (OVER 4,000 MEMBERS)
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
ACCA’s response to Covid-19 was multifaceted. Our priorities were the health and safety of ACCA employees, understanding the pandemic’s implications, ensuring business continuity and how best to support our members, students and wider community through the crisis.
We focused on stakeholder engagement to stay connected, supportive and share information.
As a global organisation with operations in 176 countries, we were hyper-alert to the emergence of Covid-19 in Wuhan. Due to concerns raised by WHO in January 2020, we invoked our crisis management team, with the objectives of assessing the situation regularly, ensuring business continuity while putting health and safety first, and supporting stakeholders and updated on likely impacts.
While planning daily, we also took a short, medium- and long-term view.
We also polled our global members about the effects of Covid-19 on their productivity and cashflow, and their outlook for recovery. And importantly, we also accelerated our plans for remote invigilation so that our students could take their exams, and continue on their career journey during this immensely disruptive time.
The pandemic has made us more agile, connected and attuned to risk. We continue to look ahead, ensuring our ongoing resilience, relevance and value as a global professional body.
British Safety Council – The whole organisation
Our members expected the British Safety Council to show leadership and provide practical guidance on how organisations could manage COVID. Our response included:
1. Engaging with members – Chief Executive email to all members and customers advising how we were handling the COVID situation.
2. New products and services:
– Launched and promoted new Live Online training and Remote Auditing services, with many organisations switching from face to face. Given the success, these services have become a staple area of focus for us.
– A COVID Assurance Assessment Scheme and detailed Return to Work Guidelines.
– Launched and promoted our Being Well Together programme – This is a unique integrated solution for all health and wellbeing needs, bringing together the latest thinking from experts. The programme enables organisations to assess their requirements and health and wellbeing provision, understand gaps and explore the most effective measures to take.
3. Free web information tool – set up a specific COVID section within our website with useful international COVID-19 information sources.
4. Free webinars – to rapidly help, advise and assist members and customers with their questions and concerns around COVID.
5. Free access to resources – online health and wellbeing resources for schools.
Emerging Payments Association – Membership Community
The Emerging Payments Association witnessed how Covid-19 wreaked havoc right across the payments industry and, therefore, knew that the only way the industry was going to get through this crisis was if it rallied together and collaborated. The EPA worked quickly, provided support and guidance for its 130 members to battle the crisis. To facilitate the sharing of insight, industry relationships and continue to foster business growth across its membership.
To tackle the effects of Covid-19 from the outset, the EPA held a series of conference calls with EPA members, EPA ambassadors and the EPA Advisory Board to collect the insight from several payments professionals. The concerns, predictions, and recommendations shared were later published to the industry, government and regulators in a whitepaper named ‘weathering the storm’ Going further, the EPA worked swiftly to digitise networking events, conferences and our training programme to continue to provide employees of our members with the skills they need.
Through this Covid-19 recovery toolkit, we were proud to see the larger EPA members share best practices and discounted services to the rest of our community, some of whom are smaller firms who faced the toughest battles.
International Compliance Association – The whole organisation
In the face of unprecedented adversity and uncertainty, the International Compliance Association continued to support its members, students and the wider community by reacting quickly and effectively to the global pandemic. Well-being and support was at the heart of ICA’s response as well as implementing a digital transformation to ensure compliance professionals had the knowledge and skills they needed to navigate 2019/20.
National Hair & Beauty Federation – COVID-19
It quickly became apparent that accurate and aligned messaging was required across all National Hair & Beauty Federation (NHBF) communications channels – Membership Helpline, social media/website, email and press enquiries, and so we created a COVID Crisis Team with our external PR agency.
Amongst all the noise we decided not to speculate, only to report and advise on fact. This cemented the NHBF as the trusted go-to information source for our industry, the media and government. We didn’t just report but created the resources our Members need to navigate the pandemic from furlough letters to fact sheets, and links to the latest financial support.
We engaged with our members daily and saw our social media following increase by over 100k on Facebook and 68K on Instagram; we generated over 3000 pieces of media coverage and had 1432 new members by December 2020.
Most importantly, the responses to and engagement with our Members has shaped our conversations with the Government. We have been able to report and reflect the major concerns of the industry and have no doubt that this contributed to the recent creation for the first time of a dedicated Personal Care sector team within BEIS.
Public Relations and Communications Association – Leadership, industry support, communications, groups, member engagement, training, events
The PRCA represents a £15bn professional service industry. Our members support business, the public sector and NGOs in talking to stakeholders, from employees and consumers to policymakers and investors.
At the beginning of March 2020, some sectors collapsed overnight. Members found budgets frozen, projects on hold, and clients evaporating. As we went into lockdown, our small team were contacted daily by distressed members who felt the viability of their businesses was in danger and turned to us for advice.
As the world’s biggest PR association, there was an urgent need for us to provide practical assistance and guidance – not only to support the industry, but also to save the association itself. Our crisis response was driven rapidly by the most senior professionals in our industry.
By 16 March, we had established the PRCA Covid-19 Communications Taskforce to deliver critical support to members around the world. The Taskforce was a collaborative innovation forged in the white heat of a crisis: developed quickly, with senior commitment, brokering new avenues of support, and transforming hope. Members told us that it was a lifeline as they navigated the challenges of the pandemic.
The British Dietetic Association – Communications
The BDA responded to the pandemic by supporting members treating patients on the frontline with specialist resources and information. But the public also benefited with clear and evidence based information about eating well during these difficult times. The amount of web traffic to our site doubled in 2020 as a result with significantly greater impact on social media. We quickly migrated our learning content online and hosted training and events in ways members could access more flexibly. We created free content online to support our members, other healthcare professionals and the public – content which normally would sit behind a paywall but which is freely available to meet the challenges of COVID. There is a 24% increase in interest in training to be a dietitian as a result of our profile raising. Our office team transformed their way of working and developed new comms methods to meet the challenges. Our organisation thrived as a result, as we have continued to recruit staff and grow membership, despite the challenges we faced.