Hill News May 2020 - Message from the CEO
Isn't it incredible how quickly things can change? The Level 4 lockdown was a new experience for all of us, and required us to respond quickly to a fast evolving situation with many challenges. It's heartening to see just how quickly our government and businesses responded to those challenges.
As a high labour-cost business, to manage with the substantial drop in activity we have experienced during lockdown, we have had to agree substantial salary abatements with many of our staff. This has especially impacted our more senior staff including our executives, who have led by example. I can’t overstate how grateful the executive team were when almost all of our staff agreed to the levels of salary abatement that we had proposed, in order to protect everyone’s jobs. It is not often that a company and its people are tested in this sort of way, and I am extremely proud in the way that our people have risen to the challenge with compassion and selflessness.
Pursuing an elimination strategy in NZ is ambitious, and the country will now need to hold out until a vaccine is available, which could be a year or more away. Intensive testing and contact tracing will be required for some time yet, and possibly until a vaccine becomes available. We recognised the importance of analytical testing early on, and reached out to the Waikato DHB to offer our support. We were grateful that the WDHB engaged with us, learned about our capability, then decided to partner with us to increase the testing capacity in the Waikato, given the strong alignment of values around the importance of high-quality testing. As a 100% NZ-owned business, it feels good to be playing an active role in our country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We include an article specifically about our coronavirus testing in this newsletter.
While it feels good to be out of lockdown and seeing our laboratories fully operational again, it is sobering to think that, in economic terms, it is still early days, with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic still to play out over the coming months. On that note, I hope this newsletter finds you and your business in good health, and able to weather the recession that would seem inevitable now.
We are all hoping now for a strong rebound from the lockdown, and remain hopeful that all of our people’s jobs will remain safe. Thanks to those of you who choose to support us by doing business with us – your support is more important to us now more than ever. While it will be a poor year for us in terms of financial performance, the most important thing to us is that the business remains strong and we are able to look after our 400+ people and their families. Thankfully we are not expecting any loss of capability due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so look forward to delivering excellent service in the months ahead.
- Dr Jonno Hill, CEO