Innovator Series Fourth Interview - Flux Federation expands through Covid-19

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Innovator Series Fourth Interview - Flux Federation expands through Covid-19

1 Sep 2020 | BusinessNZ Energy Council

Flux Federation expands through Covid-19

Flux Federation, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy that provides end-to-end Software as a Service (Saas) to energy retailers, has used the Covid-19 pandemic to its advantage.

Chief Client Officer Jessica Venning-Bryan says in June last year the company’s executive team began conversations about what the Future of Work will look like.

She says in the software industry, it is particularly hard to find talent.

“We were thinking strategically we need to become remote first so that we can access talent all over New Zealand and all over the world.

“We had always thought this would be a two, three- or four-year journey to get ourselves from having physical offices that we rely on to having a remote first business.

“Then in March at the blink of an eye we were operating remotely. It was unforeseen that it would happen that quickly.”

The company was also in the midst of a heavy recruiting process and throughout lockdown continued to recruit about 40 people.  As a result of its shift to remote first, it has been able to onboard “incredible new talent” from places it wouldn’t have been able to before – like Te Awamutu, Hamilton, Palmerston North and Tauranga.

Flux's main focus is on the local market, but it'll look to recruit internationally to support global clients, for example.

Venning-Bryan says the move has also allowed the business to employ a more diverse group of people with varying hours of work, and people with mobility issues.

To accommodate people working in different locations at different hours its communications philosophy has become “asynchronous”, meaning instead of having live meetings, it has presentation sessions that it records and people can watch at a later time that suits them.

It has also placed greater emphasis on documenting decision-making processes.

She says one of the biggest challenges of shifting to remote first is accommodating face-to-face time.

“The companies that are doing [remote first] well acknowledge you have to still find ways for face-to-face engagement.”

The company has hubs in Auckland and Wellington if people want to meet and is planning a full day retreat in November for staff to get to know each other and build connections.

She says in spite of Covid-19, Flux Federation’s growth plans have “definitely accelerated.

“It’s not fair to say energy is completely recession-proof but as a utility the show does go on, it has to even in periods of immense turmoil.

“More companies are getting more focused on the things that really matter and because our business is at the heart of operating systems for an energy retailer we are definitely accelerating. She says Flux Federation’s communications throughout Covid-19 has seen the business well placed for the future.

“Our CEO was right in there with the communication immediately off the back of the first decisions about lockdown.

“While we didn’t have all the answers, we were letting the team know that we were riding this with them and that we would be there to give them the answers when we had them.”