Collaboration, Communities, and Communication: SWBC’s Plan for Success
Before the COVID-19 crisis, employees always worked from the office. But when the shelter-in-place orders arrived, SWBC moved to a virtual business model. See how.
SWBC, a Salesforce customer, wrote this article.
If you’re in the financial services industry, you may have heard of SWBC — a diversified financial services company that’s been in business for nearly 45 years. Headquartered in San Antonio, the company provides a wide range of insurance, mortgages, wealth management, employee benefits, and more to financial institutions, businesses, and individuals.
Before the COVID-19 crisis, our employees always worked from the office. But when the shelter-in-place orders arrived, we quickly moved to a virtual business model.
As Director of Cloud Solutions for the Financial Institution Group at SWBC, I saw how our emergency preparedness, community focus, and cloud-based tech helped us transition to working from home.
To show how thoughtful leadership and teamwork can shift your work culture while still sticking to your values and staying productive, I’d like to share our story with you.
We prepared before the crisis
SWBC’s Business Continuity Team has focused on crisis preparedness for a long time. Our team meets frequently with stakeholders to discuss potential threats to SWBC’s day-to-day operations and exercise our plans.
A few months ago, this team set up a task force to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have continued to meet every day to determine how the pandemic may affect our employees, operations, clients, customers, and partners. Through the task force, our senior leaders are able to focus on workforce safety and wellness, internal and external communications, technology availability and security, and the readiness of our facilities. Our leaders established an effective decision-making framework to respond to this crisis quickly and efficiently to minimize the impact on SWBC, our clients, and customers.
These blueprints gave us a way to stay productive during the crisis. We’ve also made our business approach more empathetic — we act less like collections agents, and more like customer service advocates.
By getting in front of the crisis, we had solutions ready for this moment. The more you collaborate and plan for changes and threats, the better off you’ll be. There’s always a future you can plan for, and planning pays off.
We put our communities first
SWBC believes in the mission of the San Antonio Food Bank — fighting hunger and feeding hope. Now more than ever, the food bank needs assistance in order to keep its shelves stocked to ensure no one goes hungry. We’re all in this together.” Gary Dudley | President of SWBC
Every company has four communities that matter most: local communities, customers, employees, and partners. At this time, we stay true to our values by engaging them all.
Giving back has always been part of SWBC’s culture in the communities across the country in which we live and work. For example, when the pandemic began, we saw the enormous challenges facing the San Antonio Food Bank with its response efforts and knew we needed to help out. SWBC has a longstanding relationship with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. During this crisis, we’ve been supporting the organization through different channels. With our employees spread out across the country, a number of them have been giving back to their local communities and numerous organizations.
We keep our customers informed by using our data to create product-specific messaging groups. Everything we send is tied to past engagement, and many have thanked us for our communication style at this time. We also leverage technology, including cloud-based solutions to deliver secure services to our clients and customers.
We understand that the unexpected changes brought on by this pandemic can be trying for our employees. We have been sending weekly communications and engagement activities to all employees, this is in addition to the company’s outstanding employee benefits plans already available.
Even as the pandemic has made normal operations difficult for many companies, SWBC has been able to hire more than 50 new employees across multiple divisions thanks to its safeguards and continued commitment to excellence.
We’ve also increased efficiency by automating many tasks with Salesforce — including our business approval process, our policy renewals, and our system for syncing calls between our service teams, our credit union partners, and their customers.
Like many businesses, we needed to pause and shift vendor services during the crisis. We keep partners updated through Partner Community, where they can see our pipeline reporting and other documentation.
We made remote work secure
SWBC has been using Salesforce for about eight years. As Director of Cloud Solutions for The Financial Institution Group, I’m happy to say multiple cloud solutions, including Salesforce, helped enable our 2,400 employees to begin working from home in just a few days.
Parts of SWBC host operational data within Salesforce. To keep everything secure, we’ve installed shields with platform encryption, enforced privileged access, and implemented fraud protection. Because all our data is in the cloud, we can use it anywhere — and the security extends to wherever we’re working.
Though they’re now scattered across the San Antonio area, our employees still collaborate through video chat and work with the same tools they used at our business centers. The cloud is the key to making work a seamless experience — whether you’re at home or in the office.
To learn more about SWBC’s transformation, watch our webinar How SWBC Transformed to a Virtual Business Model.