Saturday, April 25, 2020

The courage to decide to do what is necessary

Just about a month ago, we made the call to safety for everyone in the company. A month past, we have to make another tough decision that will greatly affect the business and the workforce.

The US economy is at the moment in bad shape and unemployment rates have been increasing in all states. While our main market, California, reached over 1,058,325 claims as of March 28, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought havoc to most companies, including Onerent. And as it badly damaged the business' cashflow, our leaders were put into a situation where they have to decide how to stay afloat amidst the economic recession.

This week is a tough week. We have benched more than a quarter of our workforce to be able to squeeze our operational cost to the revenue we are generating throughout this crisis. While this left most of our people in shock, there just wasn't any other option left. The blueprint for growth that we were so focused on for the past months (pre-covid19 days), has been changed to a plan for survival.

It's painful to see people undergo such circumstance, especially during these trying times. But we just have to look at the big picture with the aim to address the greater good.

Considerations are as follows:

  • We ultimately believe that as a company, we'll be able to bounce back once the pandemic ends, and once the global market resumes its normal operation.
  • There are people who is solid with their belief about the future of Onerent. From the investors, the board members, the co-founders, the executive management, the middle management, and those who are working on every scope within the entire operations.
  • We pledge an oath to serve our homeowners and renters, throughout their stay in Onerent.
  • We believe that the services we offer are essential these days. During these times of crisis and in dealing with the aftermath.
  • We believe that our business model will play a vital role as the economy gets back in shape.

Knowing all these, we just can't close down the business and call it quits. We got to do what is necessary in order for the business to survive in the hopes that it can open more job opportunities in the upcoming months, throughout its existence.

As we always value our people's welfare, the company vows for the following terms to bring aid to the families of those who are on floating status.
  • The company allowed those that are on floating status to keep the computer units and broadband modems that were brought home. Thinking that at least, by these resources, they'll be able to work on side-gigs that will temporarily generate cash to sustain their family's need.
  • The company allowed those that are on floating status to do freelancing.
  • The company allowed those that are on floating status to still avail of the medical services we have in-house, extending it to those who were given end-of-contract for the month.

Facing the harsh reality thought me a lot and brought great realizations.

The greatness of the leaders aren't seen in good times but are tested in the unwanted ones. The unprepared will become paranoid, the one who trains will be put under pressure. If you want to take the helm, you always have to decide -- regardless of the situation and circumstance, good or bad. And you have to accept the truth, that not everyone will rejoice with your decision(s) -- especially those who don't have the visibility of the big picture. Even if how much you explain the thought behind your acts, it's not going to catch people's attention -- especially those who are now selective with their thinking.

The corporate setup isn't like a startup. Yesterday was so glorious that no one thought today would come, in fire and chaos. While it's true that every day in the startup scene, it's always about life and death -- not everyone is well aware of it. In a snap, the job(s) that might be there for people to work-on might no longer be available at all. Working in a startup means, high rewards, high growth, and high risks. It's how it is, the nature of startup.

The leadership principle(s) matters most in times of crisis. When you're given the ability to decide on behalf of everyone, having a clear basis of your decisions will help you be more rational about your selection. Though this will differ in every individual, it's always good to have a solid core of your own.

PS: What makes me more proud is that, for a company that is badly wounded by the pandemic, it still stayed true to its mission towards its customers and towards its people. The promise of hope is still there.