The COVID-19 crisis has prompted many organisations to digitalise faster than planned. It has forced teams to work together in a decentralised manner and has turned familiar ways of working upside down. This also includes the way we organise and conduct meetings. During the crisis, some organisations have found innovative ways to improve their meeting processes and have even solved pre-existing challenges.
This case study illustrates how organisations are using Sherpany's meeting management software to promote remote, location-independent working while improving their meeting processes at the same time.
One management team who implemented Sherpany during the Corona crisis is that of the Swiss Association of Master Bakers and Confectioners (SBC). The professional association had previously worked on the implementation of Sherpany, and this was expedited by the COVID-19 situation. The new challenges in terms of remote working accelerated the introduction of Sherpany considerably.
Complicated meeting preparation, with high administrative effort, often leads to frustration. This was the case in the management and the 15-member board of directors of the SBC. Managers were required to gather their meeting materials ahead of each meeting - through different channels and in different formats: The agenda as a Word file in their e-mail inbox, other accompanying documents in the association's internal intranet, and some documents were even physically printed out. However, since the agenda and other meeting documents were continuously adjusted prior to the meeting, this resulted in a confusing situation and a large amount of additional administrative work.
"It was complicated," said Mrs. Gisela Chopard, financial officer and management assistant at SBC. She had to find and adapt every single meeting document via e-mail and make sure that all documents and participants were always up to date. For Ms. Chopard, this meant an overflowing inbox and a lot of time spent uploading documents to the intranet.
Paging back and forth through printed documents during meetings meant that they took longer than necessary and participants were left feeling frustrated. Ms. Chopard kept the meeting minutes in a Word document, which was then adapted and circulated before being approved at the following meeting. After meetings, participants lacked a clear overview of the tasks assigned and who was responsible for them. This made it difficult to execute upon decisions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBC’s complicated and time-consuming meeting process was no longer sustainable. Critical decisions (e.g. on salaries, short-term work, and apprentice training) now had to be made swiftly, which meant that management meetings were held more frequently - and were conducted remotely via video conferencing. Having already seen the usability and functionality of Sherpany's meeting management software before the crisis, SBC's management implemented the solution within a matter of days.
According to Ms. Chopard, "thanks to the personalised onboarding, and readily available documentation and videos, the implementation went smoothly, and the introduction to Sherpany was also fun". The board members appreciated the opportunity to experiment with Sherpany's features before the full implementation. According to the management assistant, the "user-friendly and logically structured software" did much to ensure that the shift went so quickly and easily. A short time later, the central management team followed suit.
The introduction of Sherpany has greatly optimised the flow of meetings of SBC's management and made them more productive. One of the most significant improvements is that all meeting materials are stored and structured in one centralised location. Meeting participants can find agendas, documents, and minutes quickly and easily in Sherpany. This allows for thorough preparation and ensures that participants have the same up-to-date information at their disposal. Urs Wellauer, Director of the SBC, told us that now "everyone comes to the meeting better prepared". And in meetings, participants always have the right documents to hand.
For Gisela Chopard, who is responsible for the administrative aspects of meeting organisation at the SBC, life has become much easier. Our software enables her to create the agenda, upload documents on any topic, and notify the necessary participants. She uses Sherpany's Minutes feature, which is pre-filled with all agenda items. She writes the minutes directly into Sherpany and publishes them within half an hour of the meeting ending. "The optimised creation of agenda and minutes and the simplified handling of updates saves me at least one working day per meeting," Ms. Chopard told us.
“The optimised creation of agenda and minutes and the simplified handling of updates saves me at least one working day per meeting"
Gisela Chopard, financial officer and management assistant
Last but not least, the personal responsibility for the implementation of decisions and meeting resolutions has also been increased. In the "Tasks and Decisions" function, participants clearly define who is responsible for which task until when - directly in the software and without relying on complicated Excel tables. As the frequency of meetings increased, this function became increasingly important for maintaining an overview of follow-up actions at the SBC. In addition, documents from previous meetings can be cloned for use in future meetings and the original annotations remain on them - further improving accountability.
The COVID-19 crisis is leading to a long-term change in the way we work and collaborate. "Sherpany has accelerated the digitalisation of the SBC and allows us to work on the move," said Urs Wellauer. For example, meeting participants can access all documents at any time from any device - smartphone, tablet, PC. Mr. Wellauer already sees a significant improvement in the SBC’s meeting culture and explained that he "plans to increase the number of remote meetings even after the crisis in order to save commuting time and further increase efficiency". Thanks to Sherpany, this type of meeting can be productively prepared, conducted and followed up.
Since Sherpany, as a Swiss company, adheres to the highest security and compliance standards, the board members of the SBC also do not have to worry about compliance. They can rest assured that their information - including sensitive data - is safe. In addition, members of Sherpany’s support team are always available to help with any technical problems.
In conclusion, the SBC’s management committees save time and are better prepared for the age of remote working. From centralised and structured documentation, to improved preparation, to the faster publication and approval of minutes, all leads to more productive meeting workflows - regardless of whether meetings are decentralised or not.
About the SBC Association:
The Swiss Association of Master Bakers and Confectioners (SBC) is the professional body of bakery and confectionery employers in Switzerland. It has a proud history of more than 120 years and has its headquarters in Bern. Currently, the SBC represents 1,400 corporate members and 2,500 sales outlets. For this case study, we had the pleasure of speaking with Mrs. Gisela Chopard, financial manager and assistant to the management, and the association's director Mr. Urs Wellauer.
To learn more about the SBC, please visit their website.
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