When working on shared projects, my daughter's kindergarten teacher used to make her class chant, "What's gonna work? TEAMWORK!" What has worked for building service contractors (BSCs) during the pandemic? TEAM Software!
TEAM is a leading developer of financial, operations, and workforce management solutions purpose-built for BSCs. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis -- and, of course, long before that -- the firm has proven its value time and again to its BSC clients. TEAM's software is built to be flexible and is designed for companies with a distributed workforce. When the pandemic hit and office staff became part of the distributed workforce, TEAM's customers already had the tools in place to adapt quickly.
"We've been supporting payroll and associated tax compliance for over 30 years," noted Jill Davie, North American President at TEAM Software. "When new COVID-related regulations were released, our team of experts quickly interpreted the laws and translated them into new software features and action plans for our customers. We also encouraged our customers to leverage existing functionality in our system like pre-shift messaging and reporting, notifications, and flexible forms to meet their new needs and processes. Our support staff and training staff offered guidance and recommendations on how to use the technology our customers already had in place to never miss a step and continue to provide the service their customers expect."
So, what have been some of the specific challenges TEAM Software has had working with and supporting BSCs through this time? Davie was quick to answer. "Despite the high level of unemployment," she said, "our customers are still struggling to staff jobs. Attracting and retaining quality employees remains a top priority for BSCs. We have been tracking and trending data related to employee turnover and retention since before the pandemic. We'll be sharing insights into the data on an ongoing basis to help customers understand the trends in order to adjust their operations accordingly."
She added, "Our customers are being asked to provide more data to their customers around employee health and proof of service. Many times, they have to configure and deploy new features within the software in a very short time frame, and staff is already swamped managing day-to-day activities. Our support staff has adjusted schedules to accommodate these clients in order to satisfy the demands from their customers quickly."
Davie acknowledged that the past year has definitely been a test of her leadership skills. She began working for the company as a college intern nearly 25 years ago. After graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in Business Administration, she accepted a full-time position with TEAM as a Sales Associate. This provided her the opportunity to travel across the United States and Canada, working with BSCs of all sizes.
As she continued her career with TEAM, her role expanded to working with all customer-facing teams. In her current job, she is responsible for all operations and continuous value-delivery for TEAM's North American clients. She also sits on the board of directors.
But nothing could have prepared her for the time of COVID. "Like everyone else," she remarked, "we've had to pivot in many ways. When the pandemic hit, everything changed. Priorities shifted. Our product roadmap had to be re-engineered to accommodate new government programs and compliance requirements like the [Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or FFCRA], the [Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP], and the CARES Act. We put planned projects on hold to form cross-department teams to brainstorm assistance for our customers, including coming up with new, creative ways to use our software to streamline communication with the workforce and with customers."
She continued, "And as all of it was happening, our internal operations changed. We were once a mostly in-office workforce that one Friday became a work-from-home workforce. Our team members were dealing with toddlers, online school, and working from kitchen tables with dogs barking in the background. Through it all, I have been amazed at the flexibility, positive attitudes, and resiliency shown by our team members and customers as we navigated the unique challenges together."
It's been her team at TEAM that has gotten her through the toughest times. Davie says she draws energy from the people around her. Working remotely, she 's really missed seeing her colleagues in the hallway every day, giving them high fives, and having impromptu conversations about what everyone is working on and how she can help.
"When we closed our office and shifted to remote working," she recalled, "all of that disappeared and I struggled at times to feel energized, which in turn made me feel like a less effective leader. While our virtual meeting tools have been extremely useful, they just don't compare to being face to face. They also don't present those impromptu opportunities to connect with people and have a meaningful conversation. I've learned that you have to create those opportunities and have started popping into virtual department meetings just to say 'Hi!' and connect with team members and show my support."
TEAM Software was built on personal relationships. Davie and her staff have long thrived on connecting, in person, with customers and prospects. She stated, "We use these opportunities to clearly understand the dynamics of the industry, the top challenges our customers are facing, and collect feedback on what's most important for us to work on. Without industry events like the BSCAI conferences and TEAM Client Conference, our ability to connect with a large number of customers efficiently has greatly diminished. We have had to work much harder to have those meaningful conversations not only because of the lack of events, but because our customers are very busy navigating the pandemic in their own operations."
Looking ahead, Davie expressed optimism for 2021 and beyond. She is especially hopeful with the ramping up of the various vaccines and the continued march back towards "normalcy." She concluded, "I think there can only be better times ahead, especially for people working in the cleaning industry. Cleanliness and good health have never had such a positive focus in our lifetime. Companies who keep our environment clean and safe are pioneers as we move through the pandemic and come out the other side. We have an opportunity to be trailblazers. I am excited to support and partner with our customers to set new standards as we move forward."
Jill Davie started full time with TEAM Software in May 1998 as an account manager after working at the company as an intern during college. Over the next two decades, she held various roles, including senior vice president of client experience. Davie is now using her deep industry knowledge, her focus on our customers and her passion for TEAM’s people to serve as TEAM’s president. She earned her Bachelor of Science in business administration and marketing from Iowa State University.