Yes, an Uncertain Period is the Perfect Time for a Pivot 

Without small business, we’re nothing. TheLatch— and GoDaddy have teamed up to rally behind local businesses and entrepreneurs during this unprecedented time of change.

We’re speaking to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country to better understand how they’re adapting to stay open, how they’re keeping their community safe, and how we can support them now during this time, and beyond. We’re focused on keeping Australia open for business, even if doors are closed. #OpenWeStand

Tiffany Lo knows all about ‘the pivot’. After all, her HR consulting business FLEX People Group was founded in response to a tricky transition back into full-time work following parental leave.

“I tried to do the whole return to work, balancing work and family,” she recalls. “No matter how much we tried, it just didn’t work.”

After an 18-year career in HR, Lo pivoted her professional path from employee to business owner and created a recruitment company she felt could bridge the gap between working parents and businesses that support those juggling such demands. Lo used the GoDaddy website builder tool to help set up her business online.

“Before COVID-19, we only partnered with companies that could offer family-friendly employee benefits and flexible work,” she explains. “We worked with any type of organisation that really embraced flexibility, diversity and inclusion. We offered them a talent search service, which brought in revenue.”

Although Lo also offered HR consulting, recruitment was FLEX People Group’s “bread and butter” and its focus reflects that: recruitment across the industries of legal, health care, aged care, professional services, food manufacturing and science all fell under the company’s wide umbrella during the first 18 months of operation. Recruitment remained their main revenue driver… until coronavirus hit.

Since the peak of the pandemic and the subsequent decline in recruitment across her clients, Lo decided to lean into consulting and guiding businesses through the myriad of changes that happen at an ever-frequent rate in this time of economic uncertainty. Although information on subjects such as JobKeeper payment is widely available, Lo says, her team aim to offer more.

“That’s where we come in: what is the human element to these changes?”

TheLatch— spoke to Lo about her decision to reframe her budding business from a recruitment and talent search service to a small business support scaffold in the wake of the pandemic.


TheLatch— Tiffany, so lovely to speak to you. Your business is a lifeline for others right now, but how has your business been affected by coronavirus?

TLo: It’s been affected quite significantly from a talent search point of view. A lot of our clients have either put their roles on hold or put on a recruitment freeze. In some of the sectors that we work in, they’ve actually gone backwards where they’ve stood people down or have already made some redundancies.

TL: How have you helped those businesses navigate through that process?

TLo: That’s probably where we’ve had to pivot most; rather than focusing on the talent search services, it’s now switching our mindset to providing HR services to help businesses navigate through stand downs, JobKeeper payments, payment programs and also enabling them to do what’s right for their business and to protect [it]. We also help with what’s right by employees, so that they can meet their employer obligations from a Fair Work point of view.

“It’s now switching our mindset to providing HR services to help businesses.”

TL: What does FLEX People Group’s role in helping businesses navigate this time now look like, practically?

TLo: Although the Treasury website offers a lot of information, for us it’s really putting — and I know this sounds very cliche — but I think it’s really putting the ‘human’ back into HR. So, what does that actually mean from an HR people point of view when you’re actually implementing these programs? What are the types of conversations you need to be having with your people? How do you draft a letter to say that, “These are your wages,” or “We’re reducing your hours”? “These are your new wages,” because COVID-19 has, I guess, triggered so many changes from the Federal Government. They’ve changed 103 modern awards in the space of a few weeks. It’s just bizarre, and it’s really a compliment to the government as well, to show how quickly they could pivot and change laws just like that.

“It’s really putting the ‘human’ back into HR.”

TL: What advice do you have for other small business owners for how to survive this time?

TLo: I’m not saying what we’re doing is successful but what we did do that has allowed us to keep afloat is really acting quickly. I guess because we’re small, we can be nimble, we’re agile, so we can move a lot quicker than larger companies, if you like. My advice would be to think about what other service streams you could offer to your clients or your industry quickly.

If I think about what we did, we sat down and had a think about, “Right, these are our services. We’ve been a bit quiet around the HR consulting piece. Nobody needs recruitment anymore. Let’s focus more on that and start calling our clients, you know, having conversations and providing our expertise in those areas.” I know the word ‘pivot’ has been used a lot and I don’t want to use that word but it’s the right word to use.

“My advice would be to think about what other service streams you could offer to your clients quickly.”

TL: Do you think that the way you operate your business will change for good once we emerge through this time?

TLo: I think so, because I think the recruitment landscape is going to change significantly. More and more people are working from home now, so the way we recruit, the way you onboard people is going to look very different. From an HR point of view for our business, I think where we can add value is going to be offering HR professionals and on-demand HR professionals. So allowing employers to flex up and down when they need our services. I think providing that flexibility is going to be really important, as opposed to offering a service where it locks them down into a permanent thing.


TL: How have you used your different platforms during this time, to help your business adapt and ‘pivot’?

TLo: We use GoDaddy’s website builder tool, which has worked well because for us. We’re just a small business and it suits us quite perfectly. It’s worked well to have the ability to add in new pages, write blogs and capture our subscriber list so that we can easily send emails. I’ve been able to create a new page dedicated to just COVID-19 updates and refer that page onto our subscribers, clients, and candidate network.

TL: You run social pages as well, has the way that you’ve been speaking to your clients and customers changed at all as a result of COVID-19? Has your messaging changed, or are you taking a business as usual approach?

TLo: The messaging is more so towards how we could support clients from a HR, health, safety and wellbeing point of view because I know that people generally don’t like change and everybody goes through emotional ups and downs. For us, we’re very aware of that. So our language and messaging has changed to become a lot more supportive, checking in on our network. 

If you’re looking for extra HR support during this time, contact FLEX People Group.

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