Hedge Fund vs. Private Equity: Everything You Need To Know

Despite coronavirus-related struggles in other industries, UK asset management funds are thriving. Total assets under management hit £8.5 trillion at the end of 2019, up 10% from the year prior.

There’s never been a better time to place your money with an investment fund. But when it comes to a hedge fund vs private equity, which one should you choose?

Today, we’re helping you out with this guide to understanding hedge funds and private equity firms. Ready to learn more? Then you better keep reading because this one’s for you.

What Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds Share in Common

Hedge funds and private equity funds are different. But they share in common their target investor, type of business partnership, and revenue streams. 

Check out the biggest commonalities between hedge funds and private equity funds below.

The Target Investor

Hedge funds and private equity funds have the same target investor. They both prefer high net worth individuals. Usually, that means investors must have $250k or more to invest. 

The Partnership Structure

Hedge fund companies and private equity firms tend to have the same business structure. Namely, they’re both limited partnerships (LPs). LPs consist of a general partner(s) (also known as managing partner(s)) and limited partners.

The general partner(s) run the day-to-day aspects of the business and have full liability for any debts accumulated. The limited partner(s) has a contracted limited liability for any debts and doesn’t partake in day-to-day operations.

The Profit Scheme

Hedge funds and private equity funds have the same profit scheme for partners. Both types of funds pay general partners a contracted management fee. Plus, they pay each partner a pre-determined percentage of annual profits.

Management fees tend to equal approximately 2% of the value of the asset under management. For example, a private equity fund manager might make 2% off the sale of one of his portfolio companies.

PE and hedge funds base performance fees on profits. For example, a hedge fund manager might receive 20% of gross profits after the sale of stock.

What Is a Hedge Fund?

Hedge funds are institutions that make investments with money pooled from high-net-worth individuals. Because they trade on borrowed funds, hedge funds are risky. This is especially true during times of economic downturn. 

Hedge funds tend to be less regulated than similar investment institutions. This has to do, in part, with the fact that hedge funds don’t work with smaller investors. You must be an accredited investor to invest in a hedge fund.

Keep reading for three additional factors that explain the hedge fund vs private equity distinction.

Hedge Funds Goals

A hedge fund’s goal is to make as much money in as short of a time as possible. This is called a short or short-term investment strategy. 

Note that the short-term nature of hedge funds’ investments means investors can cash out any time. 

Hedge Funds Investment Strategies

Because they’re short-term investors, hedge funds tend to only invest in strongly liquid products. These products can easily and quickly be turned around for a profit, which the hedge fund can then invest in new assets. 

Hedge funds are less picky when it comes to the specific type of investment they’ll make. Stocks (take a look at this S&P 500 heat map), futures contracts, currencies, derivatives, and bonds are all fair game for hedge funds. 

Hedge Funds Investment Structures

Hedge funds feature an open-ended investment structure. This means investors can not only take profit whenever they want, but they can also add more money into the fund whenever they want. 

This is due to the short-term nature of hedge fund investments.

What Is Private Equity?

Like hedge funds, private equity (PE) funds accumulate wealth from high-net-worth individuals. Firms then invest that money into privately held companies. This makes PE investments far more stable than hedge fund assets.

A PE fund can be made up of a pension fund, which is a company’s retirement fund. More commonly, it’s an actual PE firm. Accredited investors fund PE firms in a similar fashion to hedge funds. 

Here are three more factors that differentiate PE from hedge funds. 

Private Equity Firms Goals

A private equity fund’s goal is to curate an investment portfolio with the potential for profits in the next 4–7 years. This is called long or long-term investing.

As you can imagine, long-term investing makes it trickier to cash out. Most PE firms require investors to commit to 3–5 years at the least. Some firms require investors to agree to invest for 7–10 years before realizing profits. 

Private Equity Firms Investment Strategies

Private equity firms invest in private companies directly using one of two strategies. The first strategy is to purchase the company outright. This can be done either through a leveraged buyout (LBO) or a venture capital investment.

A less common strategy is to purchase controlling interest via a public company’s shares. When a private equity fund does this, it’s usually because investors plan to de-list the public company from the stock exchange.

Once a private equity fund acquires a company, it hands that account over to its fund managers. The fund managers monitor the company over time to ensure the investment will pay off in the long run. 

Private Equity Firms Investment Structures

Private equity funds use closed-ended investment structures. In the same way that investors can’t take profits for 3–10 years, they can’t add new money to the investment either. 

This is due to the long-term nature of private equity investment strategies. 

Hedge Fund vs Private Equity: The Bottom Line

When it comes to the difference between a hedge fund vs private equity firm, the biggest thing to consider is the investment strategy. 

If you want quick returns now, a hedge fund’s short-term investing strategy is for you. Meanwhile, investors in it for the long hall may benefit from investing with a private equity firm. 

Looking for more financial advice from Capital Finance International? Check out our finance blog posts right now!

Investing in Your Child’s Future: Expert Tips on How to Start Saving for College

Are you looking to prepare your child for a future of academic success? While not all children will choose college after they’re finished with school, there are over 2 million students in higher education programs in the United Kingdom alone. This means that it isn’t unlikely that your child will become one of them.

But how do you afford higher education? With the costs of colleges rising by the year and student loans setting students up for financial distress, it’s a good idea to start saving for college as soon as possible.

It’s a daunting idea, but we want to help give you some direction. Keep reading for a few tips on how you can start setting your child up for academic success by learning how to save for college ahead of time.

Start Early

This is the most crucial advice that we can give you when it comes to preparing your child for college. You need to start as early as possible. 

Higher education is expensive. While it’s possible to put aside enough money as your child enters their teen years, it’s much more difficult, especially for families who are in lower income brackets. 

This means that you should start while your child is still young, preferably in their infancy or toddler years if you’re able. Some parents choose to start before the child is born.

The longer you have to save, the more money you can accumulate with fewer adjustments to your day-to-day spending. This is even more important if you have multiple children who all plan on going to University. 

The rest of our tips apply regardless of how early you choose to start saving, but they’ll be more helpful if you start with plenty of time to save.

Create a Budget

Every household, regardless of the intention to go to college, should have a budget to adhere to. This makes saving easier.

First, calculate the income of your household. If your children have jobs, only include their income if they contribute to household necessities. 

Make a list of all of your bills and spending that can’t be avoided or changed. These include internet, taxes, utilities, and the costs associated with your home such as rent or mortgage. Take these out of your income. 

After this, consider your grocery bill. How much do you spend every month, and where can you cut down? Also, consider other areas in which you may be able to cut back, whether they’re necessities or not.

How much do you spend on gym fees or leisure activities? What about shopping? 

With all of these things, you’re going to break your list down into “needs” and “wants.” These categories will help you learn where you can cut back. 

Everyone needs food and clothing, but how much do you spend that isn’t necessary? For example, how much food waste do you accumulate? How often do you buy excess snacks, or expensive brands of items when the basic brands are just as good? See what you can do to reduce your spending in this area. 

Do I Have to Cut Out Everything? 

You can still spend money on non-essentials. You should be careful and work them into your budget ahead of time. 

You want to add a percentage of your earnings to emergency savings, saving for the future, and college savings. All of these are important. 

After this, set aside money for fun and leisure activities so you’re still able to go on holiday and provide nice products and experiences for your family. 

Put Aside a Portion of Every Paycheck

Speaking of setting aside money, putting aside a portion of your paycheck dedicated to college is a great idea. The earlier you start, the smaller the portion needs to be. 

Make sure that it’s a reasonable amount based on your necessities. For some people, this may be as small as 1% to 5%, but this amount still makes a difference in the long run. 

Choose the Right Savings Account

Savings accounts aren’t all equal. While you may be used to the savings account associated with your normal bank, consider alternatives.

When you’re choosing a savings account for a college fund, look at interest rates. You’re saving for a long time, and a higher interest rate means that you get more out of your account. Your money won’t be sitting, it will be accumulating. 

Most savings account interest rates are available to view online. Don’t choose a savings account before seeing what the best bank can do for you. 

Involve Your Child 

Your child can help you save for their education once they’re old enough.

If you like, you can give an allowance for household chores when they’re young. Teach them the value of money by taking a small portion out of their chore money to save. If they save even a small amount every week, by the time they’re ready to go to school they’ll have a small, but not inconsequential, amount of money. 

As they get older and get their first jobs, talk about putting aside part of their paycheck for college. They may be resistant, but if you’ve been successful in teaching them about money, they’ll understand how important this is. 

Finally, encourage your child to strive for scholarships. There are plenty of scholarships available based on demographics and academic performance that your child can apply to in order to help offset the expense of a college education. 

Saving for College Paves the Way for Success 

Affording college is difficult for many families. This is why saving for college early is so critical. With the right steps, you can send your children to school so they can reach their full academic potential. 

For more on finances, banking, and important news updates, visit our magazine. We’d also love it if you’d subscribe to our print version so you never miss a story. 

Commercial Banking vs. Private Banking: What’s the Difference?

Are you stuck between choosing a private bank or a commercial bank? There are so many options and services to sift through when you’re considering the kind of bank that you want to give your business to.

If you’re feeling confused, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to tell you the differences that you need to know between private banking and commercial banking. We’re confident that you’ll be able to choose the perfect bank for you after reading everything we have to share.

Commercial Banking vs. Private Banking

There are a few main categories that we’re going to discuss when it comes to the differences between commercial banking and private banking:

  • Deals
  • Lifestyle expectations, hours you’ll put in
  • Popularity
  • Money

We’ll discuss other, smaller details as well, but we note these categories to hold the main differences between the kinds of banks.

What Is Commercial Banking?

Commercial banks offer loans, investment opportunities, deposit services, and more to businesses and individuals. In addition, commercial banks serve governments and other entities. 

Many commercial banks function as chain locations, meaning that a commercial bank may have locations across the world. Others may stick to certain regions.

The banks are considered commercial because they are publicly traded and they are required to be chartered by the state and/or federal authorities.

Commercial banks offer personal and business trust services as well. This means that they will be able to provide extra services that you might be looking for in a bank.

Some commercial banks dabble in private banking, which we’ll discuss later. By having a section or branch of private banking, commercial banks can reap the benefits of the private sector and expand their reach to those consumers who are better fit for the world of private banking.

Who Should Use Commercial Banking?

Commercial banks are more targeted towards the general population. If you consider yourself to be just another citizen in terms of wealth, you should look towards a commercial bank for your banking needs.

A commercial bank will give you everything you need while catering to your needs and the needs of just about everyone else.

Commercial banks conquer in terms of numbers because of how many people they are built to service. Commercial banks are made to take care of most of the consumers in an area, meaning that they are likely to handle anything that you may want or need to do with your money.

How to Choose a Commercial Bank

If you think commercial banking is for you and you’re looking to choose a commercial bank, you should focus on the services they offer. The commercial bank that you’re looking at may offer loans, investment opportunities, credit accounts, and more.

Plus, you might find that your commercial bank has a special savings account with a great interest rate or a checking account that you can open for your child.

Before you go to choose your commercial bank, you need to look at what kind of services and offers you want from the bank that you’re using. Talk with several different representatives about what the best services are and what kind of services you can take advantage of as a customer there.

What Is Private Banking?

Private banking is a whole new world to those of us who have only been involved in commercial banking.

These kinds of banks focus on wealth management for the extremely rich. This means that they’re more focused on growing money and ensuring that money is kept safe.

While a commercial bank does keep your money safe, private banks are famous for being locked down at all times when it comes to the money in the back.

Who Should Use Private Banking?

Those who have high net worths should invest in private banking. Yes, we do mean it when we say “invest.” Because private banks work with customers who are more likely to pay more fees and keep more money in the bank so that they can get the services that the private bank offers.

If you’re a high-net-worth individual who wants a bank that has estate planning, personalized banking, tax services, and money advisory services, the world of private banking is for you.

How to Choose a Private Bank?

If you think that you would fit into the world of private banking and you’d like to join a private bank, you should focus on the services they have and the money that they want in the bank. In addition, you might want to keep an eye on the fees even if you don’t care for tiny charges like those.

When you’re choosing your private bank, you should talk with several different places and talk about what kinds of services they have as well as how much it would cost to have those services available to you.

Your bank may charge a membership fee for access to these kinds of services, but they may also charge in addition to an already existing membership fee.

The banks that you’re considering should have a full list of any fees that they have. Be sure to pick this up or look this up when you’re considering joining a bank. Even if you don’t care about small charges, you should watch out for large charges that may come your way.

More on the World of Finance

Whether you think that you’d thrive more in the world of commercial banking or the world of private banking, we’re confident that you’ll be able to choose the right bank for you if you focus on your personal financial needs. By looking at what you need and what services you’d like, you’ll be able to find a bank that works the best for you.

If you’re looking to learn more about banking and finances, we invite you to check out the rest of our blog. We have a plethora of information about banking and everything you need to know about it to thrive and succeed.

7 Benefits of Digital Banking

If you’re still writing paper checks, waiting in line at the bank, or meeting with banking associates in person in 2021 and beyond, you’re missing out.

In recent years, digital banking has exploded in popularity, with research suggesting that nearly 70% of people in the UK use mobile banking, with 86% using it as their primary banking channel. If you’ve noticed this growing trend, it may leave you wondering, “Should I start digital banking?”

If you’re unsure about making the leap, it’s time to learn more about the benefits of digital banking—and why you should take advantage of this new technology.

1. Simplified Onboarding

Online banking makes the onboarding process much easier for new customers. With a virtual process guided by the latest technology, applicants can provide required documents to open an account in no time at all—with no need to spend time on a face-to-face meeting with a bank associate.

Of course, it’s still important, both now and whenever you access your digital bank account, to follow through with basic online security practices. Be sure to look for the lock symbol in the address bar, avoid using public WiFi, and use a strong password to keep your data safe.

2. Higher Interest Rates and Lower Fees

This benefit, of course, can vary from bank to bank.

However, in general, you’ll find that online bank accounts tend to have higher interest rates than traditional alternatives. A high-yield online checking account, then, can earn you a little more in interest per year than an account with a traditional bank.

One other money-saving perk is the lower fees. Because online banking demands less overhead than the brick-and-mortar alternative, many online banks pass those savings along to customers. This means that you’ll find lower (or no) monthly maintenance fees, minimum account balances, and even transaction fees, depending on the bank you use.

3. 24/7 Banking From Anywhere

There are few things most of us hate more than a lengthy queue—especially when we only need to take care of a quick transaction.

With digital banking, it’s possible to take care of banking tasks from anywhere and at any time, which opens up a world of convenience. Most banks offer mobile apps that allow you to access your accounts even when you’re out and about, allowing you to double-check your transactions in real time. What’s more, your easy banking pairs well with any budgeting apps you already use for extra convenience.

4. Easy Check Deposits

Most mobile banking apps will save you the trouble of heading to a brick-and-mortar bank each time you need to cash a check. The process is simple: using the camera on your phone, you’ll need to take pictures of the front and back of the check. Certain banks may have additional requirements when you cash checks online, like writing a specific phrase in addition to endorsing the back of the check, but the process remains fast and easy no matter where you bank.

5. Online Bill Pay

For easier bill pay services, digital banking is a must. With most online banks, clients have the opportunity to set up payees in their account, allowing you to send a payment to the company or client in question whenever you need to. This ensures that you no longer have to worry about checks getting lost in the mail!

In addition, automation can make regular billing tasks even easier. Setting up recurring automatic bill payments can help you stay on top of your cash flow for regular expenses, like car payments or subscription services.

When needed, you can also authorize providers to automatically remove money from your account when your bill is due. This can be helpful for providers like electric companies or mortgage lenders. To do this, you will need to provide the company with your bank’s routing number as well as the checking number of your account.

6. See Transactions at a Glance

When you bank online, all of your past transactions are easy to access and view at a glance. This makes it more convenient to check your account history on a regular basis, especially at a time when many of us worry about unauthorized transactions and identity theft.

If you are more accustomed to traditional banking, you may also catch sight of a feature exclusive to virtual banking: pending transactions. With pending transactions, you’ll be able to see transactions that a merchant hasn’t yet processed. This helps you see and understand the full context of your spending, even when a charge hasn’t been authorized yet.

7. Transfer Money With Ease

Whether you’re transferring money to your own account or paying back a friend for those concert tickets, money transfers are easy when you bank online.

Instead of visiting the bank in person, you can start an online transfer and input the details of the account you’re sending money to. Once your request is complete, the transfer may take up to three days to move to the receiver’s account, though it’s often far less if the receiver has an account at the same bank.

Harness the Power of Digital Banking

Given these benefits, it’s not hard to see why digital banking is poised to grow in popularity in the next few years. With added convenience and quick transactions, it’s easier than ever to make the most of your money with an online bank. Consider opening an account today to see the difference it makes!

For more of the helpful banking and finance guides you need, CFI.co has you covered. Check out our related posts for more insights.

What Are the Different Types of Credit?

You got to give credit where credit is due. And sometimes, credit is due to you. Credit allows you to pay back your debts and get loans. Millions of people in the United Kingdom have credit cards and use them wisely. But the average credit card debt per household still totals over 2,100 pounds.  Many people assume that all types of credit are alike.

But there are some significant differences among the types of credit. Understand how credit works and you can reduce your debt. Here is a quick guide. 

Revolving Credit

If you have a credit card, you probably have a revolving credit account. Revolving credit provides you with a maximum credit line. 

Once you hit that line, your creditor assigns a payment you must make. You cannot use your credit line until you pay your payment in full. Most creditors allow monthly payments, but plans can differ. 

If you cannot pay your monthly payment, it will roll into the next month. Your creditor will charge that payment with interest. Some creditors charge very high rates of interest, so you should try to pay in full every month. 

The more on-time payments you make, the higher your credit scores will be. You are more likely to receive approval for loans and advance payments. Using less than your credit limit will also assist your credit scores. 

Some creditors charge additional fees on top of interest rates. You may have to pay a cash advance or foreign transaction fee. Read the terms and conditions of your contract carefully before signing. 

Instalment Credit

If you take out a loan, you probably have instalment credit. Instalment credit lets you borrow a set amount, which you pay off with fixed monthly payments. 

Your contract determines the amount you will borrow and the time period of the loan. Even if you make on-time payments, you may have to pay interest. Keep a close eye on what the interest rates are through time. 

Some contracts do not allow you to pay your loan off early. They may charge you a penalty for doing so, which can be higher than the amount you pay over time. 

Several factors determine the terms of your contract. Your credit score is a major determinant. If you have paid off your loans on-time, your terms will be more lenient. 

Your debt-to-income ratio is almost as important. If you have little debt on hand, your payments will be lower. The bank may make your payments higher if you have a high income. 

You should show a stable history of employment, with no long gaps between jobs. You should also display any additional sources of income you have. The more sources, the more likely you will receive a strong line of credit. 

Open Credit

Open accounts are rarer than revolving or instalment accounts. But some utility and cell phone companies do offer them. 

An open account provides a balance that you must pay in full every month. Open creditors do not charge interest, but they can charge penalties if you don’t pay. In exchange for your regular payments, you receive services. 

Open lines of credit don’t appear initially on your credit report. Companies may refer your information to credit bureaus if you are late on your payments. 

An open credit account is the simplest kind of credit. As long as you pay every month, you should not run into difficulty.

Secured Business Line of Credit

If you are looking to start a business, you may receive a secured business line of credit. This is a special type of loan that is similar to a revolving line. 

A secured business line sets a maximum amount that you can borrow. However, you can keep borrowing past your line. You need to make a payment, but you can break your payments up so you can keep borrowing. 

To receive a secured line, you need to provide collateral. The most common types of collateral are property and equipment. Banks usually do not accept stocks for secured lines.

Real Estate Line of Credit

If you want to invest in real estate, you need to have some money upfront. A real estate line of credit can get you the resources you need. 

Home equity determines many real estate lines. An investor exchanges equity they have in their house for money from a creditor. They can use that money to purchase a property, usually to renovate or flip the property. 

Their line of credit is limited to what the investor receives from the creditor. But an investor has no restrictions on how they can use the cash. The credit line requires no other financial statements besides a personal credit report. 

A real estate line is the best line of credit for a quick payment. But it requires a high credit score.

You can use the equity in your house as collateral and pay the loan back through monthly payments. If you default on your loan, the creditor can place a lien on your house. 

The Five Different Types of Credit

Many people struggle with credit. They don’t understand how payments work, let alone that there are multiple types of credit. But you can distinguish amongst them. 

A revolving credit line charges monthly payments. These payments can incur interest if they are not paid off. An instalment line provides less interest but sets firmer conditions for when you make payments. 

Most utility companies use open lines of credit. Secured business lines are good if you want to start a business, while real estate lines are good for real estate investors. 

Get the facts you need to strengthen your finances. Capital Finance International provides premium reporting on business and economics. Contact us today. 

VEON and Mastercard enter into global partnership to boost digital financial services

Partnership to accelerate scaling of VEON’s digital financial services business

Amsterdam, 3rd February 2021 – VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a leading global provider of connectivity and digital services, announces a strategic global partnership with payment technology leader Mastercard to boost digital financial services in key markets.

The partnership, covering core portions of VEON’s footprint (Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh), will allow VEON to further scale its digital financial services business by offering consumers and merchants in these countries best-in-class products tailored to their needs. By working together, the companies will support the financial and digital inclusion of traditionally underserved consumers in each geography.

VEON’s co-Chief Executive Officer Sergi Herrero commented: “Expanding digital financial services is a key growth priority for VEON as we look to meet the evolving needs of our consumers. Our partnership with Mastercard provides our operating companies in five countries with world-class capabilities to fast-track their plans for developing digital financial services and demonstrates the trust Mastercard has in VEON’s ability to encourage greater financial inclusion through these transformative platforms.”

Jorn Lambert, Chief Digital Officer, Mastercard said: “As digital transformation accelerates, there is also an opportunity to expedite its many benefits, including the way it effectively addresses consumer needs and experiences. Mastercard strongly believes in the power of partnership and we look forward to working closely with VEON to expand financial inclusion and greater access to the digital economy.”

The partnership is an expansion of the relationship between the two companies that began in May 2020 when Mastercard partnered with Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited, VEON’s financial services provider in Pakistan, to boost financial inclusion across that fast-growing nation. It further cements the joint commitment of VEON and Mastercard as strategic partners on this ambitious but vital journey to empower individuals and communities though financial services access.

About VEON

VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and internet services, headquartered in Amsterdam. Our vision is to empower customer ambitions through technology, acting as a digital concierge to guide their choices and connect them with resources that match their needs. 

For more information visit: http://www.veon.com.

About Mastercard

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

For more information visit: www.mastercard.com

Why trust and transparency are the key ingredients for strong leadership in 2021

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone, gives his 7 Top Tips on leading a remote team in 2021 

Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
Jonny Combe, UK CEO of PayByPhone
  1. Build a foundation of trust

Leadership is about empowering your people and one of the main ways to do this is to trust your team to make responsible decisions – just as they did in an office-based set-up. In a remote office model, it’s important to trust them to make good judgements about time and personal commitments. And whatever your leadership style, trust engenders an adult-to-adult model of interaction. This has always been the case but is even more crucial now with so any of us working from home. Leaders can also build trust by demonstrating authenticity. We’re all human and acknowledging the challenges we encounter in these strange times helps to build trust and also encourages people to speak up about any struggles they are facing.

  • Work out what really matters

Being suddenly plunged into remote working patterns in 2020 was a shock for leaders and employees alike – it’s easy to talk about being more productive but suddenly you had to deliver it. The situation forced leadership to work out what the truly key tasks were and to ensure their team delivered them. This focus continues to be a benefit of remote working and helps leaders direct their people towards a more outcome-based model of working. 

  • Intentional communication with staff

Frequent communication and contact with staff have always been important and being remote shouldn’t have changed that. What has changed is that as a leader, you now have to be more intuitive and tap into your EQ. Whereas in the office you might pick up on someone’s mood changes and check in, now you have to check in on people intentionally. After nearly a year of working remotely, this has become almost second nature for many leaders and managers. However, there is a danger that as lockdown conditions drag on, some of these good habits can fall by the wayside. Leaders must not underestimate the importance of connecting – both on a personal and a professional level. These regular connection points help people feel valued and significant – which encourages them to feel good about themselves, what they do and the value they bring. As well as being the right thing to do on a human level, on a business level, it also means people will want to do their best work. 

  • Empower your leaders to lead 

Businesses have to adapt to changing circumstances – as a leader you have to work out the most effective way to recalibrate and to communicate with your leadership team and your staff. You’ve got to keep your leaders and all your people in the loop. Leaders should also look to capitalise on opportunities and the pandemic is certainly an ideal time to embrace great internal comms.

At PayByPhone we walk the talk – we have introduced a senior management team call three times a week, which are good connection points for us. We also have a more formal leadership meeting once a month, and we have an all-staff virtual meeting every Monday morning.

  • Follow up on your promises to your staff

Many leaders tell their people how important they are, but you have to follow this through with action. There are some great examples of intentional actions and at PayByPhone we have opted to pay for Disney+ subscriptions for those employees with children as a way to support them during lockdown. For employees who don’t have children or who already have a Disney+ subscription, we pay for them to have the new Joe Wicks app to help them get active and to maintain a positive mental attitude. These are small gestures in themselves, but they are important because they help people feel valued and remind them that out-of-sight isn’t out-of-mind. 

  • Adjust your expectations 

Paying tribute to flexible working and actually demonstrating flexibility are vastly different things. At PayByPhone we were already advocates of flexible working when we were office-based so it hasn’t felt like a huge leap. For us, it has never been about ‘face time’ at your desk, or ‘presentee-ism’, it’s about getting your job done. 

Right now, however, the game changer is having multiple employees with children who need home schooling, so it’s crucial that as a leader, I adjust my expectations. A single parent trying to juggle home working and home schooling will inevitably have their work impacted, despite their best efforts. Frankly any working parent right now probably deserves a superhero cape! Accepting that some employees may be unable to give 100% focus and being aware of the pressures is vitally important as a leader. And it’s also essential to set clear boundaries and goals about the achievements and outcomes you expect. Just make sure they are realistic. 

  • Recruit from a wider talent pool and consider a hybrid-remote office

Part of good leadership is seizing opportunities and since the pandemic has accelerated the working-from-home revolution, it’s now possible to source employees from a wider area. Leaders should cast their recruitment net wide and carefully consider the kind of skills, experiences and diverse ways of thinking that would help take their organisation to a new level. By securing the very best employees, leaders can add more value to their organisation. We used to restrict our hiring pool to people within a relatively small radius of the office. Now, we’re looking within a 100-mile radius of the office, which will enable us to operate a hybrid-remote office with people in the office once a week even when we are clear of the pandemic crisis. The flexible nature of remote working has the added benefit that it attracts Millennials and Gen Z who like a portfolio approach to work. Having these digital natives on board and harnessing the mindset of different generations is all part of creating a vibrant and diverse workforce – and for PayByPhone this helps us consolidate our position as a leader within our industry.