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News & Knowledge

MSI Global Alliance: Helping businesses navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic

9th April 2020

MSI Global Alliance

The COVID-19 pandemic has moved at considerable pace. MSI Global Alliance shares how it has been helping businesses and member firms to navigate these challenging times from both a personal and professional perspective.

The current lockdown has largely stopped all non-essential travel and forced remote working. Physical events, a backbone for membership associations, are now curtailed. As such, business networking, best practice and thought leadership have had to switch to digital channels. At the outset and as the pandemic took hold, MSI Global Alliance (MSI) recognised the need to provide a nimble and flexible response to members and businesses, actively using technology to collaborate and communicate.

In the first instance, MSI drew up an operations plan divided into three phases outlining how the organisation aims to help members connect and collaborate, as well as providing valuable resources, sharing information and keeping members and businesses up to date with latest developments.

Utilising technology to communicate and collaborate

In the initial phase, MSI ensured regular communication with members via internal newsletters, direct emails, personal phone calls and video calls. Reaching out and connecting with members was the priority to ensure they felt supported both personally and professionally. But it was equally important not to overwhelm members with too much information.

With the absence of physical events, a series of MSI webinars for members was quickly established. The first of these took place in March and focussed on ‘Sharing leadership and management solutions to the challenges of Covid-19’.  This was followed by a webinar entitled ‘The technological challenges of COVID-19 and how to overcome them’. These fortnightly webinars feature a panel of experts and encourage firms to share thoughts and ideas whilst also providing participants with an opportunity to ask questions and source solutions. The webinar recordings are made available to view post-event to fit in with members’ schedules. Additional initiatives that were implemented include:

  • A dedicated COVID-19 message board through MSI’s established professional mobile messaging app: The message board enables members to share how they are advising clients and responding within their firms. With different countries at different stages in the pandemic, this provides an invaluable opportunity to seek advice from those further ahead in the timeline and to pool resources.
  • ‘Social hour’ video sessions: Networking is incredibly important to MSI members and, without the benefit of physical meetings, these sessions provide the perfect opportunity for members to take a step back and enjoy more informal and much needed social interaction with fellow members.
  • Special MSI newsletter: MSI’s April newsletter focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on business, clients and communities and shares best practice, legislation and government guidance. The content is also featured on a new, dedicated COVID-19 Updates section on MSI’s website.

Tangible resources

Looking ahead to the coming months, MSI will develop further tangible resources such as newsletters, virtual local meetings and improved Special Interest Groups. As members settle into remote working, MSI will continue to focus on delivering virtual meetings and an augmented webinar series as well as continuing to use a professional messaging app to encourage knowledge sharing.

In the longer term, MSI will see the continuation of the virtual programme as well as a review of planned physical meetings to determine which ones to continue and which to replace by virtual means.  MSI will also continue with the delivery of its 5 year strategy, with its constituent regional plans, that are driving the alliance forwards.

Commenting on MSI’s response to COVID-19 and plans for the future, MSI CEO Tim Wilson said,

“In these unprecedented times, we will continue to make maximum use of technology to provide our members with the appropriate channels to enable deeper connection and collaboration. COVID-19 presents health and financial pressures to our firms, clients and families – we are all united in facing this common challenge and emerging as an even stronger, dynamic and collaborative alliance. ”

At this unique time, international associations such as MSI Global Alliance offer members the chance to share challenges and solutions with each other whilst providing and maintaining a key opportunity for cross border business, at a time when business may be contracting due to recession.  The continued focus on collaboration (both professional and personal) has never been more important to MSI’s members.