Mpya, the pandemic, and the power of “Us” and “We”
A story about the global pandemic and its effect on our business, written by Malin Malmquist — an ‘Mpyan’.
At Christmas, I was driving home to Stockholm with Göran, an old family friend who I had not seen in years.
He asked me about the company I work for and how we were coping during the pandemic. So, I told him what 2020 was like as an Mpyan.
In March, when it became clear that COVID-19 had properly taken hold of Stockholm, things did not look promising.
Some of my colleagues lost their assignments almost immediately as clients looked to cut down on their costs. At the same time, several new consultants joined Mpya, meaning we needed to find even more positions quickly in a market that was rapidly disappearing.
For the first time since I joined the company, I was nervous.
I was scared we might have to end some of our probationary employments. I wondered if we would be able to keep our promises to those we had only just brought on board. Ultimately, I was worried about our business as a whole. Would we be able to cope financially if we lost any more assignments?
At around that time we held a crisis meeting. At Mpya, that doesn’t just mean management, it means everyone. All of us coming together to see what could be done.
I remember that afternoon, sitting in my bedroom by the window, not yet accustomed to working from home every day. We talked about different scenarios, and what we could do to win business and protect jobs.
That meeting was crucial. We decided, together, that we would not look back. We vowed to intensify our sales efforts, increase the speed in our work and do everything we possibly could to get out of this even stronger.
This was the moment I knew that working in a self-managing organization could save us.
Roles at Mpya are fluid and flexible. The four of us who usually spend our days working on recruitment turned our focus to contacting clients and finding new assignments for our colleagues.
We paired up into teams and supported, pushed and cheered each other forward. I felt no panic. I felt motivated and engaged. The feeling that I was not “just” a recruiter, but a valued member of the team. I realized that had always been the case. The sense of freedom and creativity we all feel, gives us the courage, the strength and the perseverance to continue.
We made it, together. By June, we had 100% occupancy, meaning all consultants had an assignment. It remained that way for the entire summer.
Despite the continuing financial uncertainty, we went ahead with a salary increase in May and another in November.
In the fall, we went hard on recruitment and signed eight new consultants and four new salespeople. Our team continues to thrive even though the pandemic persists.
We are all so proud of the community we have built and the safety we feel in our group. Everything we have done in the last three years has helped us create a culture that can withstand even the toughest challenges.
Göran interrupted me.
“I really like the way you talk about your company,” he said. “You use the words ‘We’ and ‘Us’ in every sentence!”
I stopped talking and took a moment to reflect on what he said. Tried to remember the words I had been using. I hadn’t noticed, because I was talking from my heart. Not trying to make anything sound better than it was.
That is the thing about Mpya: There is no ‘I’ or ‘Them’. Just ‘Us’ and ‘We’.
The spring was tough. We worked hard. We made mistakes. But we have stayed true to our fundamental beliefs. There is no prestige and there are no sharp elbows. We all do what is required to take the company forward, together.
I’m not a recruiter at Mpya. I’m an Mpyan.