How Redpath Has Responded to the Coronavirus Crisis
May 28, 2020 - While reflecting on how Redpath has responded during the coronavirus crisis, there is a specific moment etched in the mind of Mark Gibbs, the firm’s Managing Partner. It was upon hearing the news that Minnesota Governor Tim Walz would close schools in response to the growing concerns around the pandemic.
“It was a Sunday, I was with my wife watching the Governor Walz address on TV, and I said, ‘Wow. This is happening,’" Gibbs says. In the days that followed, the gravity of the pandemic began to sink in and Gibbs and his leadership team realized that Redpath operations would have to radically change. By the time the “Stay at Home” mandate began at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27th, the company already had a plan for how 165 Redpath employees could work remotely. A few days later, the CARES Act was signed into law and businesses across America scrambled to learn all they could about this new legislation intended to address the economic fallout of the pandemic.
“We spent that entire following weekend reading the law, learning everything we could," he recalls. "Then we proactively set up meetings with all our clients, initiating calls to explain what the CARES Act is and how the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) works. We gave them guidance as best as we could.”
Redpath employees shine bright
As the pandemic in Minnesota worsened, in conjunction with the madness of the upcoming April 15th tax deadline and an economy beginning to spiral out of control, the Redpath team stepped up and began to shine. The marketing and communications team escalated its client relations with ongoing digital communication. Emails were sent, timely blog content was written, social media posts were pushed to the company LinkedIn and Facebook pages and a COVID-19 Resource Center was created. Clients and strangers seeking helpful information on the latest and most important information regarding the CARES Act could count on Redpath for support. In Gibbs’s opinion, those days and weeks immediately following the “Stay at Home” order were defining moments for Redpath.
“What I’ve learned about our people is how hard they work and how much they care," he says.
"Our team cares about our clients deeply and they care about working here.”
Core values on display
Caring is one of Redpath's core values. So when it comes to finding the best information or access to critical resources, Redpath leaders have leveraged deep relationships to lead their clients in the most uncertain of times.
"As the PPP information was beginning to come out, we were learning as fast as we could because we knew our clients were extremely concerned,” explained Gibbs. “We went to some of our close contacts in banking to get an understanding of how our clients can ensure they could gain access to these funds because we knew it would be a competitive situation.”
Gibbs says about 90% of Redpath clients applied for and received PPP funds. Depending on the business, they received anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to the maximum $10 million.
What’s next for Redpath and Company?
It’s difficult to predict when the Redpath team will return to its St. Paul and White Bear offices. However, Gibbs is confident life will look different on the other side.
“I think this crisis will permanently change some things in our business," Gibbs states. "It will be inevitable that we will have more people working from home.” Gibbs estimates that Redpath could have 10% of the staff requesting to work from home and that the leadership team will need to make a business decision to see if that is feasible. That said, he realizes that people will still be concerned when the office opens again.
“We will have to be respectful of the fact that some people are not going to be comfortable coming back to the office, and we’ll need to adapt,” Gibbs says. Adapting could mean a number of measures – anything from wearing masks, offering disposable masks to visitors or even reconfiguring office space to respect social distancing.
“When we go back, we’re going back slow and in rotations," he explains.
Throughout the extended “Stay at Home” order, the company has not had any pay cuts and Gibbs is proud of that. He says one of his biggest challenges has been not seeing everyone in person. It makes keeping the team engaged – which he believes is his obligation to both the company and the people who have supported their clients – more challenging, but it's a challenge Gibbs feels prepared for.
"I want to make sure we can take care of our people who are working so hard for us and keeping their families going."