Jet soars high and successfully steers its people out of Covid-19 storm

This month we take a deeper look at how Dr James Keevy and his dynamic leadership team at JET Education Services steered their ship through the storm and into calmer waters. Prioritising trust and transparency throughout the process fostered an environment of open dialogue and ongoing communication, inspiring staff to move from just doing a job for a salary to wanting to contribute to more purposeful work, committing to JET’s visions of providing quality education to the disadvantaged.

While the concept of remote working for most companies at the beginning of 2020 was still a hypothetical ‘one-day’ scenario, most were forced to quickly adopt remote working policies just a few months later in order to continue operations.

For JET Education Service, ensuring people were properly prepared for this shift was crucial. Without skipping a beat, JET immediately equipped all its people with the resources they needed to perform their jobs comfortably and effectively from home. This included access to information and the support of management at every step.

JET CEO, Dr James Keevy and his leadership team understood that people already felt uncertain and scared about the future, and keeping them in the dark when it came to matters relating to the business was only going to create an atmosphere of fear, dread and negativity.

“People were kept informed of any events and updates in the business through weekly communication on the status of the business and its financial performance,” says Keevy. “We came up with innovative projects to bring in finances so that our people would not be at risk of losing their jobs, further building trust and confidence in the leadership team.

One employee said, “Many families and friends lost jobs, but James reassured us that our jobs were safe,” adding that leadership’s positive, enabling attitude offered considerable peace of mind amid the uncertainty imposed by the global pandemic.

A few months into lockdown, JET conducted a survey on working from home. The leadership team heard from people, on what was working for them and what more they required to be effective and, based on the feedback, made changes to support their people.

People were given the opportunity to engage with a psychologist to understand and help them through any personal and professional challenges they may have been facing, and managers received coaching support to better connect with the emotional and professional needs of their teams.

“I believe in acts of kindness and gratitude,” adds Keevy. “Our system of recognition is to acknowledge someone who has helped you, by giving them a voucher as a form of recognition, not someone expecting something in return”.

Constantly measuring the effectiveness of his people practices, he uses the feedback to improve his business and keep his people engaged and motivated.

From an Awakening Excellence perspective: What makes James stand out from other leaders?

Not only does he reach out to people at all levels within the organisation, offering an open-door policy that is truly an authentic practice, but people know they can confide in him, that he addresses their concerns and acts on their input.

Among JET’s staff, young and old admire him for being a role model, living the company values when making decisions, and going the extra mile to make JET’s vision a reality. “We want to do more and contribute more because of observing how James works,”. “He is a visionary, who is innovative and lives the value of Putting People First.”

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