Amid the COVID-19 crisis, our professional (and personal) futures started feeling more uncertain by the hour. Businesses are experiencing unimaginable disruptions, to the point where some are worried about their very survival. Organizations that serve downstream supply chains are no exception. None of us is immune to the current state of our world, our towns, our companies, and our teams — and front-line workers, most at risk in a number of ways, maybe even more aware of the uncertainty than their leaders when times get tough.
Business and HR leaders must double down now on the few things that can help employees stay informed and updated, feel like they’re being seen and heard, and keep focused and on track.
Amy Hanlon-Rodemich, Chief People Officer, GlobalLogic shares that rethinking how we connect and engage with employees has been the biggest reset by the COVID-19. Here are some of the excerpts from the exclusive conversation with Amy who touched upon some of the biggest learnings from 2020 and on the biggest trends she expects to emerge in 2021.
From in-person to virtual: Connecting with people have changed and for better
We used to be very much an “in-person” team that worked together on site and now that we are working from home, that has changed our interaction quite a bit, some for the better! She gives an example from her routine stating that she used to travel a lot and would get out to the company’s regional offices but only be able to spend time with a handful of people. Now she can interact with all 5 offices in one country at the same time. Amy shares, “For me, it has made it easier to engage with our employees on a 1:1 basis in a more efficient way. I do miss traveling and seeing our teams in person but we are making it work.”
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The big reset for GlobalLogic in COVID-19
Amy sees agility as a driving factor to stay relevant for all businesses and people’s success. She says, “For us, we are focusing on remaining agile so we can pivot as quickly as possible as we need to while keeping our employee engagement levels high. We are right now focusing on how we may work in a post-COVID-19 world and allow greater flexibility for our workforce.”
Amy feels confident about GlobalLogic’s business post-COVID-19 stating, “GlobalLogic is an amazing company filled with passionate, innovative people. Whenever there is a challenge, we rise and come up with great creative solutions. We are continuing to build out our internal infrastructure to best support our employees and their individual career growth paths.”
The evolving HR landscape in 2021
When asked about some of the trends that she foresees getting prioritization, Amy reflected on three key trends – reimagining workplaces, learning, and engagement. Here is what she has to say:
- Reimagining workplace: We really need to reimagine what we mean by the “workplace” and start reversing our thinking from, “what jobs can be done from home/anywhere” to “what jobs CAN’T be done from home/anywhere” and combine that with employee sentiment. We have found that the vast majority of our people either want to continue working from home or want a flexible work arrangement where they can come in when they want to/need to. Also, employee benefits offerings need to be explored. I have noticed that a lot of people with children are really struggling with trying to work and manage the homeschooling of their children. Childcare, especially for younger children is a major concern. In the broader economy, we are hearing alarming statistics about the numbers of women leaving the workforce because they struggle to manage their work-life and childcare needs. I think it would be wonderful if the childcare industry can come up with some creative ways to solve this problem in conjunction with insurance and perk providers. I honestly don’t know what the ultimate solution is, but I do think that companies should be thinking about enhancing their childcare benefits, even if it is a discount to a babysitting or tutoring service.
- Reimagining learning: We are reimagining HOW we deliver learning to our people. We work on so many different types of projects that we are in constant delivery mode where we have to quickly pivot and reskill people based on project needs. Today, because of COVID-19, we can’t offer in-person training so we are looking more and more to virtual learning platforms and learning libraries that can be delivered in real-time.
- Reimagining engagement: Start with a pulse of your employees and then dive deeper to understand what has and has not worked for them during this time. What is the best possible scenario for them to work in, both from a productivity standpoint and an engagement one? What resources do they need? Then align this to what the business needs. There will be roles that can’t be done from “anywhere” long-term. If you choose to go with a hybrid or work-from-anywhere model, make sure you are using Herculean efforts to engage your remote workers so they don’t get forgotten or left out. Lastly, I would highly advise creating a “tiger team” of employees from across the company to come up with creative solutions. Some of the best ideas come from the employees themselves.
Concluding the conversation, Amy shares that one big lesson she has learned is that one really needs to be prepared for the unexpected. You need a contingency plan to protect your employees and your business. Something like COVID-19 can absolutely happen again and will and companies need to be able to continue their operations from anywhere.
So how do you prepare for the next big challenge? “Invest in digital strategies, invest in virtual communities to keep employees engaged, keep a pulse on employee sentiment, and don’t drop the fun factor, “ shares Amy. She adds, “At GlobalLogic, we worked very hard to keep our employees engaged by communicating with them as much as we could and hosting a variety of fun events and learning activities. It has worked well for us and our employees rallied to keep the company going and we are so grateful for their hard work. You cannot take your foot off the accelerator when it comes to employee engagement and outreach in times of crisis. It is the most critical factor in your continued success. If your employees are not engaged, it doesn’t matter what your product is – it will not succeed without them.”
Read more such stories from the January 2021 issue of our e-magazine on 'Outlook 2021’