Posted: 08 Sep. 2020 03 min. read

Remote Remediation

Lessons Learned in 2020

'Unprecedented’ has fast become the buzz word to describe almost every change this year. Yet this word is an apt description of a Deloitte response to the changing landscape presented by COVID-19 in early March.

In a 16-hour period on 18 March 2020, Deloitte Managed Solutions Australia moved 200 team members responsible for one of Australia’s largest financial remediation programs from central offices to home offices scattered along Australia’s east coast. Just ten days later the team returned to pre-COVID productivity levels; an extraordinary achievement considering the complexity of their work and the collaboration it requires.

For organisations facing similar challenges, we share our three key focus points which made this possible: people, process and technology.  

People

People-driven policy, informed by facts:
Helping our people feel safe in their work environment was a critical factor in the success of the move. Leadership purposefully communicated that decisions were being made on expert government advice and if there was subjectivity in interpretation, we would always prioritise their safety over productivity.

Client confidence:
Direct and frequent engagement with client stakeholders was important to ensure their confidence in our ability to manage the move. The client’s two main priorities were the safety of our team and the security of data. To meet these priorities, we needed strong confidentiality, access and asset management policies ready to be shared with the client and applied to the new virtual working model.

Frequent and clear communication:
Our leadership team gave clear, frequent and transparent direction to the team. A central email address was used to communicate information about the move. This ensured message consistency and gave team members a voice and an easy, direct mechanism to raise concerns and offer feedback to leadership. This focus on frequent communication has continued during the remote working model with ongoing project engagement and personal wellbeing surveys.

Process

Planning:
The establishment of a program ‘emergency response group’ in early March ensured the leadership team was prepared with plans for multiple scenarios when a decision about remote work was required. These plans included communication strategies, stakeholder engagement plans and asset registers. This preparation aided confident and timely decision making as the situation developed.

Routine:
Another critical component of the move was the program’s commitment to maintaining its strong operational cadence. Physical meetings were immediately replaced by virtual ones and all people and production communication methods were validated as appropriate and functioning. This included team leaders conducting virtual production check-ins and meetings being created to share learnings that would otherwise occur in an informal face-to-face environment. Replacing the physical with the virtual has meant that buddy systems and group training sessions have increased importance and continue to underpin the successful integration of new team members into the project.

Technology

Infrastructure:
Essential to making the move to remote working successful was the consideration of how technology could and would be used. Strong change management and stakeholder engagement were necessary to support the program from a technological perspective. This included considering where assets were moving, what records needed to be kept, and what Virtual Private Networks (‘VPN’) and access rights would be necessary. It was also important when we considered securing additional client VPN access rights and organised asset relocation permission and contractual amendments.

Governance:
Reviewing the effectiveness of existing processes and controls in a work-from-home scenario was essential to manage risk and protect customer data. This included updating asset log and confidentiality policies. Confidentiality refresher sessions were then run based on the new policies and processes to ensure team members were aware of their obligations, including those relating to data security and confidentiality specific to the new virtual environment.

Life after the move

While much remains unclear about the future, our recent experiences have shown us that organisations can engage with the ‘unprecedented’ when they place people at the forefront of their decision-making enabled by robust processes and technology.

More about authors

Paul Breed

Paul Breed

Partner, Deloitte Managed Solutions

Paul is an experienced Financial Services and Conduct practitioner with an extensive understanding of remediation programs, methodology design, product governance, and delivery of managed solutions. Paul possesses skills for innovative strategy creation and project delivery in complex organisations, combined with clear practical delivery and value-add for clients. Paul's key experience includes: design and delivery of the largest auto finance remediation in Australia; delivery of an outsourced assessment function; delivery of a highly complex wealth remediation involving non-regulated property investments and low-rent housing; acting as an Independent Expert on Remediation.

Cassandra Hurley

Cassandra Hurley

Senior Analyst, Deloitte Managed Solutions

Cassandra has a legal and management background. Her role within the Deloitte Managed Solutions practice is to support the governance practices and procedures on large scale financial services remediation programs including the considerations relating to confidentiality, privacy and data security requirements across these programs.