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Executive Interview : Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and Your Business - 1 year on! - Exclusive Interview With Todd Wilcox from Whirlpool

So a year on how would you describe how the pandemic has affected your company and how you work? If you can add some notes about your business to help readers understand what your center and/or company does, please add them here.
I work for the JennAir brand. Here, we normally offer speedy service, get parts out quickly and have access to send out appliances within a timely manner. However, the pandemic has caused a major ripple affect in all of these channels. The service availability is getting better but it has been a hard struggle keeping our consumers satisfied waiting for months to get parts and appliances.

When the pandemic hit and if you had to adapt, what went well or better than expected in the change of the way you work??
I already worked from home so in that aspect there was no change. However, having the ability to have a team member of JennAir that worked in center to be able to go look at an appliance that we had on the floor in order to assist a consumer has ceased.

Since the start of the pandemic has call, email, chat traffic increased, decreased or stayed the same? AND, how? share some details on what you have noticed
The email traffic had tripled along with the calls coming in. It made it impossible to keep up with our emails. We were up to 10 days behind on responding to our JennAir emails.

Before the virus hit, did you have an emergency plan should something like this happen? and if so, did your plans work as expected?
There was no emergency plan. They sent everyone home and asked to report any problems to see if the system was going to be overloaded and crash when everyone logged in. Luckily, it did not.

In the early days of the pandemic there were lots of ideas how to keep staff now working from motivated - what activities / things did you do that worked well?
We would have virtual meetings with 30 minutes of down time to be able to visit and socialize since some people were struggling working from home.

If you could go back in time and could plan for a pandemic, what would you do differently and why?
I would have stocked up on toilet paper! lol I was not aware of what was going on and could not understand why I could not find toilet paper in 3 stores or on Amazon. I asked someone in the store and that is how I found out.

How often do you meet with your team / colleagues and how ? zoom? skype other ? and also how well does this work for everyone?
We used to meet more often until we became slammed with calls and emails. Now we meet once a month on Google Chat. It works well.

Longer term do you think you may continue working like you do today or do you think you will get back to like it was before the pandemic hit us all?
I feel like we will get back to the call centers but it will forever changed. I am happy I work from home. It'll be like everyone has a disease and will be required to stay apart, eat apart and no more large groups, training classes and company picnics unless done in phases with smaller groups.

If the pandemic did not really affect you tell us why - what made it a non event for you?
I know it is real and I did get it. I did not let it affect how I live my life. I wore a mask if I was made to. I feel like the numbers were exaggerated by the government to instill fear into everyone and I was not going to live in fear.

How do you now train staff? how is this method working?
On line courses, and personally I do not like it. Some others say they do. You trainings are timed and they rush you through it, you cant stop the trainer and ask questions or have him/her explain something. You have to submit questions and wait for answers.

Do you think your company is now better prepared to deal with a crisis like this or any other crisis (flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane etc) if it happens in the future and if so why?
They are now. If needed, they know they can empty out the call center and send everyone home to work again if needed.

Do you think the company you work for appreciates staff more and shows appreciation more now because of the pandemic or does it feel like you get the same or maybe even less appreciation?
Since I have been working from home for a long time, it is hard to tell.

Lastly, any other comments or opinions you can share about the effects of this pandemic on your business or the people working in your company?
I am just happy that Whirlpool was able to adapt, even though I lost some close people when they basically forced people out. I was able to keep working when there were and still are many people who can not say the same thing. We, as a company, have done well through some hard times. Kudos to the upper management and leaders that made that happen.


About Whirlpool Corporation:
Company LogoWhirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) is a major appliance manufacturer, with approximately $21 billion in annual sales, 93,000 employees and 70 manufacturing and technology research centers in 2016. The company markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air, Indesit and other major brand names in nearly every country throughout the world.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Can You measure It?!

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, May 7, 2021

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