By Carole BurmanMAD-HR
From our kitchen table classrooms, to our distanced friendship walks, and our curious online meetings with colleagues, we have become a nation of adapters. 

Published in Norfolk and Suffolk Director Magazines Summer/Autumn 2020

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Making a difference 

Looking back over my business plan aspirations for MAD-HR when it launched in 2014, I can see I frequently mentioned the desire to help managers and companies adapt to whatever circumstances might come their way. Never though, could I have anticipated what was on the cards for March 2020


With some hand-holding and empathetic sharing of pains over countless zoom calls, I am pleased to say that our clients swiftly recognised that agility and innovation would be their best way through this challenging period.

 Naturally, many initially stared down the barrel at the prospect of significant redundancies or total cessation of operations, but as the Government began to announce support measures, new modes of service delivery were identified, and firms did all they could to pivot. 

While we have been pleased to play such a key role in how our clients have adapted, it is important to say that my own firm was not immune to the requirement either. And we became a proactive case-study of an adapt-focused SME in the face of COVID-19. 

So, what did we do, how did we do it…and has it placed us in a strong position as we emerge from the pandemic? 


We’ve always been a fan of digital solutions – check out our HR Toolkit 2.0 if you haven’t already – but we further embraced our use of online meeting platform Zoom and hosted webinars to keep our clients and strategic partners informed. 


As a professional in the world of people management, it’s perhaps no surprise to hear that my key focus from the moment we entered this storm, was ensuring I was able to support the needs, fears, wellbeing and workload of our own team. Charlotte and I know our team well, so we understand their domestic circumstances, their childcare issues, and their own health situations. Together, we have been able to implement a new ‘way of working’ which includes just as many team meetings (all be it virtual) as required, and social chatty occasions to keep one another connected and supported. It is that flexibility which will be part of our new norm. 


Routines shifted swiftly for our clients, and for us too. We developed a transparent dialogue around who would work at particular times of day, and who might have difficulties due to accommodating home schooling or supporting family needs. 

As we now emerge from lockdown, I recognise that as individuals and businesses we are much changed. Aspects of this will lead to continued challenge and concern, but equally, I absolutely believe we will see some positives. We have already started to see this with our own clients – they have become much more agile and adaptable. We should feel a collective sense of pride in the incredible examples of innovation and determination shown across our region’s business landscape. 


Carole Burman is the Founder and Managing Director of MAD-HR. For more information contact: T: 01473 360160 / 01603 791256E: or visit

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