Call for Leaders – 3Q is a new category where Business Review features our 3 questions with some of Romania’s top business professionals, bringing a positive, insightful, or otherwise constructive view of their markets in the context of the current crisis.
Current conversation: Johan Meyer, CEO of Franklin Templeton Investments Limited and Portfolio Manager of Fondul Proprietatea
- What are the measures you took for your business during this period?
The safety and well-being of our employees is a top priority for us, and in response to concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, Franklin Templeton Romania has taken a number of precautionary measures. We have activated our business continuity plan to protect our employees, while also ensuring that we do not experience disruption to our business operations and management of Fondul Proprietatea.
Our business operations continue to be fully functional. We have a robust and regularly tested work-from-home capability that enables our Bucharest employees to work remotely. We have also temporarily suspended all non-critical business travel, and we are discouraging personal travel. We continue to monitor the situation on an ongoing basis and will provide regular updates to our employees and clients, as needed.
- What’s your advice for business leaders regarding this crisis?
Never is the need for good leadership as acute as during distressing times, such as the ones we are now experiencing. My advice would be for leaders to be fully present, available for any clarification or reassuring talks with employees, and work towards guiding their business and employees towards a safe, positive future. Confidence – of employees, of partners – is a valuable asset in uncertain times like these and can determine the very survival of a business. The leader obviously has a great role in establishing this confidence and steer the business through this period.
This also leads to my second piece of advice. Leaders need to show resilience and exhibit flexibility in order to adapt their business to cope with disruptions, while safeguarding people as a first priority – no company can operate successfully without its employees.
- What’s the most positive business news you’ve read today and want to share?
I have read that as many as 500,000 employees in Romania will work mainly from home for a period of at least two months. I think the figure should be higher for those establishing a one-month remote work policy, which is likely subject to amendment later, depending on how the epidemic unfolds. That means companies are capable of reacting swiftly and willing to take the right measures for the safety of their employees, often overnight.
At the same time, I have seen so many companies and NGOs showing their support to the medical system or even people in quarantine and that is something that makes me confident that we will be able to get past this.
I also read wonderful articles about high-end restaurants providing meals to those in need, while performing arts are being broadcast online, keeping those confined to their homes entertained. It is also wonderful to see recordings of people in Italy singing from their balconies, lifting the spirits of those around them. There is no doubt that humanity has great capacity for kindness and compassion even in the toughest times.