Lessons in Leadership #1
“The versatility and adaptability of our staff”

Duane Green

Duane Green
President & CEO Franklin Templeton Canada

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One Extraordinary Day at a Time

Working with a team that’s trying to support clients during a global pandemic has given me a full appreciation for how ordinary daily actions can be extraordinary. The simple act of going to work, even at a living room table or in a basement office, is now a new endeavor for Canadians across the country. Indeed, for many Canadians, going to work is a heroic act during the pandemic, and I’m grateful for the dedication and professionalism of our frontline healthcare workers, truck drivers, grocery store employees and other essential service workers. Our thoughts are also with those facing hardships during the pandemic and who are unable to work, or the numerous small businesses that want to open and be meaningful contributors to the economy and the lives of Canadians.

The Franklin Templeton Canada team faces the singular challenge of delivering exceptional asset management services to our clients in order to help them achieve their future financial security. That challenge hasn’t changed during the pandemic, but the professional and personal circumstances under which we’re working to meet that goal are remarkable.

Making the Shift

Now, I know we aren’t novel in our approach in handling our teams, but it did present some logistical discussions and solutions.  How do hundreds of employees shift to working from home to service our clients and keep our company running?  Who must go into the office to work? How do employees stay engaged and productive? How do we adjust to help our clients?

Well, speaking proudly, Franklin Templeton responded seamlessly and 97% of staff in our global operations are working from home.

First off, our top priority must be personal: it must be the health and security of staff and our clients. That priority has to be communicated regularly to employees, clients and the public.

Second, we play to the strengths of our people and corporate culture. Fortunately, Franklin Templeton Canada had an established and flexible ‘work from home’ culture prior to the coronavirus outbreak. Certainly, our IT systems were put to the test and they passed it! Our IT team and staff across the company have responded admirably during this unprecedented shift in how we work:

  • Mailroom staff are still going into the office to keep the business moving.
  • Client service employees are taking calls from home and answering questions.
  • Distribution teams are engaged in meaningful and important conversations, many of them virtual, with financial advisors, institutional clients and high net worth clients.
  • Marketing and corporate communications staff are shifting to bring the right content and support to their colleagues, including executives and portfolio managers.
  • Investment management teams are doing a fantastic job from their home offices. They are fully functional for their day-to-day research, analysis, trading and regular virtual interactions with clients.
  • Administrative employees have switched to providing great support from home.

These are just a few of the many functions operating under different circumstances these days.
My colleagues are making an extraordinary professional effort while dealing with various personal stresses and concerns every day during this pandemic. All of us are, first and foremost, living through the COVID-19 crisis, and we are grateful to be working. I never lose sight of how difficult it can be for staff to go to work every day, but, again, we know we’re fortunate in that there are innumerable people who want to work but aren’t able to, given the circumstances during this crisis.

It’s a People Business

This experience has intensified my belief that we’re in the business of helping people. The services that financial advisors and plan sponsors provide, and the solutions and services we offer, are meant to make peoples’ lives better. And Canadians need our help more than ever, in the wake of the market downturn and economic damage caused by the pandemic.

Helping our clients during this crisis will take even more adaptability, flexibility and creativity from our staff, yet I remain confident that they will deliver. So far, Team Canada has brought their best every day, but we will need to do more to help our clients in the months ahead. We’ll have to draw the road map as we go and challenge ourselves along the way.

From a business standpoint, I'm excited to work in this dynamic time with my colleagues. We must learn from this experience, even amid the uncertainty and pain. We can overcome this crisis in different ways, including by making the extraordinary act to go to work every day to help our clients.

Some are comfortable with complacency. Some settle for the status quo. Others find average appealing. We are not among those and, at Franklin Templeton Canada, we’re challenging the status quo as we continue to ‘Reach for Better’.

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