When the CEO of York Solutions, Richard Walker, was asked about the company’s initial response to the global pandemic, he jokingly mentioned a collective sense of panic. Due to circumstances, however, room for panic was nonexistent, and the need to act fast was imperative. This is exactly how Walker led York when the COVID-19 crisis hit: by acting quickly, and quite frankly, refraining from panicking. “As a business, you will absolutely have times of crises, and this was not the first time we had been in a crisis. In the past, our company has faced two serious economic crises.” Recognizing this has proven to be crucial for York’s community when deciding how to best approach the pandemic’s adversity within the past year. The first step? Quickly gathering the many company leaders and analyzing the situation from a holistic standpoint was essential. “We got input fast from everyone and looked at the first thing we needed to do to protect the business within all facets, including IT, sales, HR, and recruiting. This was a matter of pulling people together immediately,” said Walker. “We listened to our people, looked at our clients’ needs, and asked the question, ‘what will they need from us?’” Listening to both York’s consultants and internal staff to evaluate their needs for the virtual operation was particularly emphasized.
While this newly needed virtual operation could be easily associated with doubt and skepticism, the York Solutions community did not allow an opportunity for such to prevail. A collective willingness to collaborate among internal staff, partnered with the trusted relationships between York and their clients, permitted an impressively swift, overnight transition to a virtual format. “We pivoted WITH our clients. They stuck with us, and we stuck with them,” noted Walker. “And accomplishing this so quickly was made possible because of our resources and our people. We were fortunately equipped to transition to virtual mode.” As time has progressed, the good fortune and positive resources have only continued to be fruitful. York’s Think IT Community has proven to be a wonderful source of information and feedback when assessing multiple perspectives about the ongoing pandemic. By frequently bringing together several different executives from a range of companies, Think IT has facilitated many sessions in which individuals have had the opportunity to share their best practices for this “new normal.” In this specific community, the pride Walker has is undeniable; an abundance of brilliant ideas and knowledge have been cultivated and shared throughout these panel discussions.
In addition to the swift and seemingly natural ability to adapt to this new environment, York has experienced an extremely positive impact on culture and relationship equity from an internal standpoint. “It has been wonderful to see how people have really locked arms. As a company, we have demonstrated the epitome of locking arms to make the best of a terrible situation, and thus, we have absolutely and very clearly grown stronger.” This is evident in the greatness that York is continuing to achieve. Between forging stronger relationships and allowing room for the organizational culture to continue to strengthen, York is continuing to prove Walker’s recognition that, “We are a company that will stick with you through thick and thin. Our mission is real; we truly want to go out of our way to help others.” Consistent coaching and mentorship through York’s Barriers to Entry (B2E) Program, Link to Leadership, and the newly developed Amazing Leadership Program wonderfully exemplifies this company’s caring nature. Walker has especially recognized the significance of developing the Amazing Leadership Program during the pandemic. Other company highlights of 2020 include the continued expansion of the B2E program with its new and innovative tech track focus, which is still being fostered, as well as still managing to host York’s annual golf event for the non-profit organization, Genesys Works. These accomplishments alone truly highlight the diligence, passion, and commitment exhibited by York Solutions as a whole. “We looked at reasons to do things and created ways to make things happen rather than saying, ‘no we cannot do that virtually’ or ‘no, let’s wait.’” This maintained mentality has also led to an all-time high of business for York, which Walker ultimately credits to the company’s people. “We have kept going forward and decided that we are not going to let this stop us from being who we truly are as a company. We are stronger for it because of this situation.”
When asked what he expects 2021 to look like, Walker noted that a huge focus is being placed on growing opportunities for the underserved community while also continuing the momentum that York has created the past year through different programming and relationships. “We want to continue to adapt our mission to be disruptive and impactful for each individual we work with.”
“Companies have tried to do this in the past—creating virtual workforces—and it hasn’t worked, but this time there was no choice, so we did what we had to do, and we MADE it successful. We said we were going to pivot accordingly and make this work.” And that is exactly what happened.
Written By: McKinley Stovall