The year 2020 was a rollercoaster ride for all of us. As the auto finance industry sets its sights on the opportunities and challenges of the new year, we asked our team to share five key lessons learned and how those lessons can bring focus to what is important in 2021.
Be more efficient | More with less
If you started working from home in 2020, you realized that true happiness was finding a quiet place to do a Zoom call without looking like a hostage.
We soon realized how much space our nonessential items were occupying. Who bought all that junk? 2020 taught us to simplify, to focus on what was essential and get rid of the rest.
This year, we’ll take those lessons and apply them to our business. How can we be more efficient with our time and our resources? It’s time to streamline our processes and integrate technology that will free us from busy work to help focus on what’s important.
Be more human | Empathy & connection
In 2020 we were always working — and always home. Stress levels went through the roof as people struggled to balance personal and professional commitments. Mental health became the hidden pandemic. Yet the antidote was evident all along: the power of human relationships.
Empathy for the shared experience of the pandemic highlighted that we are stronger together, so this year, maintaining relationships will be a number one priority. Relationships with customers, employees and suppliers are everything. Real-time connections will be more important than ever, and customer desires will drive decisions in sales, services and product development.
Be more flexible | Innovation & agility
Another lesson learned was that we can’t rely on processes and policies that have worked in the past; the industry must adopt a flexible mindset. Ask: Does the traditional approach still hold true today? Last year also revealed that companies could shift gears quickly when needed.
Projects and processes could be completed in weeks rather than months, and collaboration proved that anything was possible. This year, the industry will likely prioritize selecting partners and technology solutions that have flexibility built in, to ensure agility in adapting to changing markets and turn challenges into opportunities.
Be more tech forward | Collaboration & productivity
The last year also accelerated trends that were already changing how auto financiers do business. Working remotely was but one example. It came as a big surprise to many that remote workers were generally more efficient and productive, and highlighted how many distractions there are in an office setting.
This year, the industry will likely put added emphasis on accelerating the adoption of cloud-based communications, collaboration, and productivity tools. Equipping people with technology and skills necessary to do their best work, wherever they may be, is paramount.
Be more healthy | Diversity & Fun
In light of the pandemic, companies began realizing how important it was to prioritize a healthy workplace — but not just by washing hands or wearing a mask. COVID-19 proved that social interaction is key for nurturing healthy, happy teams. Back-to-back Zoom meetings may be great for productivity, but they are terrible at maintaining morale.
This year maintaining a healthy work-life balance will be a top priority. We’re going to create virtual watercoolers and host social video conferencing meetups and fun, interactive games and competitions. Some companies are even mandating no work emails after 6 p.m. unless it’s an emergency.
Finally, now that so many work from home, lenders will be able to extend recruitment efforts and talent opportunities to new places and people. Widening the talent pool leads to a diverse workforce, which is a key driver of innovation and success.
Yes, 2020 was tough. But learning from the pandemic’s impact on our employees’ and customers’ lives ensures we move forward stronger, smarter and more resilient. It’s a gift that will keep on giving in 2021, as well as in the years to come.
Vlad Kovacevic is the founder and CTO of Inovatec Systems. With a focus on efficiency, flexibility and connection, JAVELIN by Inovatec is a state-of-the-art lending platform that is becoming the choice of forward-looking lenders. Find out about Inovatec’s performance pricing model, a breakthrough for the industry.
Auto Finance Innovation Summit, the premier event for technology in auto finance, returns March 16-17, 2021, as a virtual experience. The virtual experience will offer the quality networking and education of past events, all through an online platform. To learn more about the 2021 event and register, visit www.AutoFinanceInnovation.com.