Managing Growth Through a Pandemic
We reflect on lessons learned in managing growth during COVID-19—and how these lessons will continue to apply well after the pandemic ends.
It’s safe to say 2020 was a year unlike what most of us have experienced before. Only now are many companies recovering from the whiplash of COVID-19, which had devastating impacts on the global economy. In fact, the World Bank reported a global economy shrink of 4.3% last year; a more severe decline hasn’t been witnessed since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
But amongst the carnage, a handful of companies were lucky enough to grow during the pandemic—whether due to simply being in the right industry (for example, e-commerce) or because of their ability to adapt, or, usually, a mix of both. Megaport was one of these companies, adding 70+ new employees globally in 2020.
In this post, we reflect on what we’ve learnt about managing growth during an unexpected global crisis.
Hiring the right people
We’re not sure how we would have survived 2020 without our talented and resilient team. It reiterated just how important our biggest company ethos is: hire the right people. It sounds simple, but what do we mean by the “right” people?
We want employees who have drive and ambition; people who are bought into our long-term vision, and who want to develop themselves and achieve success along this journey that we’re on. Plus, hiring people with a range of diverse backgrounds and experiences helps us to think outside the box and keep in tune with our markets.
By having this ambitious and diverse team supporting each other through the pandemic, and growing our team with these people, we were able to adapt very quickly, and help our customers do the same. Megaport is a very empowering place to work because regardless of your role, it’s the combined efforts, growth, and achievements of every employee that contribute to the company’s overall success. We learned that having a team we can trust and rely on, and growing our team with people that share the same values, has been crucial to our continued success.
Supporting our customers through their own challenges
The pandemic confirmed just how important IT and telecommunications industries are in a modern world, as we saw customers worldwide struggle to rapidly shift to a remote work environment and, as a result, rely on our services more than ever. But we weren’t immune from these struggles ourselves, either.
As the dependency on services like Megaport’s grew, so did the requirement for reliable and available support. This was really apparent for us; we had to focus on ensuring our customers had increased connectivity and network resiliency throughout the pandemic, so they could support their own workforce as everyone transitioned to fully remote work. At first, it was daunting for us to increase our resources at a time when so many were struggling, but it turned out to be exactly what our customers needed; we were able to give our them specialized support as they quickly upgraded their IT infrastructure.
“A little extra support can make a world of difference, and is always worth the investment”
Now, we’re very grateful for the opportunity to have supported our customers as they navigated through such a trying and uncertain time. It became more apparent than ever to us that a little extra support can make a world of difference, and is always worth the investment. But supporting our customers to shift to a remote work environment led us to also ask: were we supporting ourselves to do the same?
Embracing remote work
Last year, many companies rushed to adapt to remote work—but in 2021, a band-aid solution is no longer enough. A survey of 278 executives by McKinsey in August 2020 found they planned to reduce office space by an average of 30%, so many agree that working from home is here to stay.
As a global company, we were lucky enough to already have systems and processes in place that support remote work and collaboration. But in 2020, we were challenged to really lean into that work style, learning and adapting as we went.
Staying constantly connected on Google Meets and Slack, as well as more serious project management software, ended up being the simple solution needed to keep our teams collaborating—and feeling connected—through every lockdown. We’ve learnt not to take that flexible communication system for granted!
Remembering the importance of work-life balance
The biggest challenge with growing our team throughout 2020 was simultaneously making sure everyone was still able to prioritize their mental health and find a balance between their work and home lives, especially as they became so closely entwined. We asked ourselves questions like: Do we bring on more people to help balance the workload? Or will that create another level of strain on the current team as they have to train a new starter, who will face their own challenges with being onboarded remotely? Do we reprioritize our projects and accept that some tasks just can’t be completed on time?
From a management perspective, it provided an opportunity to improve our internal documentation and re-evaluate how we onboard new team members, with the aim of increasing the rate of productivity for new joiners while reducing the stresses on our current team as much as possible. At the same time, we had to make sure that the true Megaport culture was felt by our new joiners.
We delivered a lot of key content to our team that ended up being vital to their success, and we started to see the benefits as new starters were brought up to speed more effectively than before. With more people on board and contributing, we’ve seen an increase in the wellbeing of employees and their ability to balance work with home life.
Whilst growing the Megaport team has been difficult during COVID-19, we learned a lot of lessons, and as a result have a better foundation to support our teams. Now that the dust is settling and we are gradually seeing the other side of the pandemic, things are going back to normal—but it’s a new normal.
Megaport is still growing, and we don’t see signs of slowing down any time soon. We’re still actively recruiting with a number of positions available across our teams, so if you think you’d be a great fit, or are interested in learning more about the team and Megaport culture, check out our opportunities here!