My Coronavirus business heroes

22nd April 2020

If there’s a bright side to our current predicament (and that’s difficult to say, given the personal and economic devastation), it’s all the heart-warming stories of personal sacrifice and bravery.

I’m thinking of the incredible NHS staff, many of whom are working without proper protection to save lives…

The incomparable Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old who raised £27 million for the NHS…

And all the volunteers up and down the country, quietly running errands on behalf of vulnerable people, calling residents in isolation and lending their time to the NHS – mostly without recognition.

I haven’t seen many stories like this about businesses…

…Which is a shame, because there are many businesses doing wonderful things right now – and I think they deserve some recognition.

Take, for example, the company employing our associate director Shirley Hoy’s nephew, Connor.

They are giving a £1,000 / month bonus to every employee whose spouse has lost their job, for up to three months.

They don’t want their staff to have to worry about money at this difficult time, so they are digging into their pocket to help families in financial distress.

I think that this is an exceptional example of a caring company. This truly is ‘above and beyond’.

A very different example comes from my beloved North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

A high percentage of staff has been furloughed, and their volunteers have no role to play right now. All the camaraderie and sense of community risks dissipating, the longer this crisis goes on.

But one senior manager did not want that to happen.

Marcus came up with the idea of publishing a weekly magazine for the staff and volunteers to maintain interaction and a sense of togetherness.

And every week recently, he has been commissioning pieces, laying out the magazine and distributing it online.

It’s a great read! The articles – contributed by the team – range from personal pieces about how staff are dealing with the lockdown to essays about visits to railways in far-flung pieces, a railway quiz, song of the week (“Down in the tube station at midnight” by The Jam) and even recipes.

The production is professional – it actually looks quite slick.

And it’s gone down a storm with the staff and volunteers, who love it.

Marcus’s initiative shows the power of one individual to make a difference. But it also shows the power of a business to bring people together…

…As well as how loyal and how motivated people can be when they work for a business that really means something and which they have grown to care about.

Now, my emails are normally about financial matters in your business.

But to me, building a business with good values, which cares about its employees and with employees who care about it in return, is a financial issue.

I mean, can you imagine just how loyal staff members who have benefitted from the grant at Connor’s company are going to be, moving forward?

They will probably be far more engaged in the business than otherwise, far more motivated to help it grow and far more dedicated to its success.

A team like that can be the difference between success and failure.

Companies with a strong sense of purpose are also more likely to attract and inspire customers. Your customers can sense when your staff really believe in your company and what you do – and that impacts your bottom line.

Beyond that, I believe in the power of businesses to do good, and to be good – and think we all deserve a little inspiration in these difficult times!

So who are your Coronavirus business heroes?

Hit ‘reply’, and share your best stories with me. I’d love to hear them.

Warm regards,


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