The arrival of the coronavirus pandemic over a year ago shook the HR sector. Human Resources teams across the globe needed to be more agile, creative, and reactive than ever before. With hiring priorities shifted and onboarding paused, what has this meant for HR teams and internal recruitment staffing processes?
We spoke to our People & Performance Lead (South Africa) Nicole Abernethy to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted internal talent acquisition. She talks us through the positive impact that our new hybrid way of working has had on widening our staffing initiatives across the globe.
How COVID-19 Has Impacted HR
It felt like overnight that teams started logging in remotely and the infamous lockdown(s) began, replacing face-to-face interactions with instant messaging and video calls. Balancing days in the office with home schooling and other priorities caused many of us to rethink how we work.
Talking to Nicole about the shift in ways of working, she notes:
“We needed to consider the impact that this would have on our employees. We had to ask new questions such as: do we need more time in the morning to get our kids settled? Do our hours need to be adjusted to accommodate home schooling? What is the new home set up?”
Changes Across Our Global Offices
A concern for our employees’ health and wellbeing when working from home was a top priority for our HR team, as well as aligning to the new protocols, processes and regulations put in place to support our workforce who continued to work safely from our offices.
Keeping an eye on workplace culture and how to remain ‘together’ when we were apart was a top priority across our teams.
“The return to the office involved adhering to many new safety protocols – such as sanitising, social distancing, providing guideline of emergencies, policies for COVID-positive cases in the office, purchasing of masks, sanitisers, thermometers – all while ensuring that the work environment remained inclusive and that we did not lose too much of our culture that we all thrived on.”
New Ways of Working
Amidst all the change, there was also opportunity to embrace the new ways of working. Balancing working from home with working in the office alongside flexible working hours showed us that not only did it ‘work’, but that it allowed our employees to thrive.
“We now work on a hybrid approach which is a mixture of Altogether Days (ATD’s) and work from home (WFH) days. This approach has been well received, allowing for great talent attraction, flexibility, and more work-life balance.”
With our new hybrid approach across Xcede Group, there came the need to change our reporting and our we measured performance.
As Nicole notes:
“It is no longer about how many hours you spend in the office, but rather what your outputs are in a given day or week and how that translates to achieving targets, deadlines and the overall objectives of the company.”
Positive Impact on Talent Attraction
In addition to the hybrid model working better for our current employees, it has also opened new opportunities for talent attraction. From refining our employer brand identity and offerings to our ability to recruit experts in their fields across regions (that previously would not have worked if they were geographically too far away from one of our office hubs), the hybrid approach has allowed us to extend the reach of our internal Personnel Department initiatives to candidates.
Benefits vs. Challenges of Remote Working
While there were many positives of remote working and new opportunities that we gained from working from home, it did not come without its challenges.
As Nicole notes:
“This “new norm” presented its challenges. As well as managing screen time, this new way of working created the need to adapt and streamline team routines and being OK with the idea that not everything needed our instant attention.”
“Not being face to face meant that we had to shift the way we communicate so there wasn’t a reduction in knowledge sharing and the ability to upskill and learn from the more experienced.”
Yet, amidst these challenges, we brought solutions. Moreover, the new ways of working and communicating allowed us to set time aside to meet our colleagues across the globe.
“We saw a different side to each other. I have “met” more of more international colleagues and built solid working relationships with them than I would have before due to the fact that everyone embraces video calls now”.
Although the pandemic shook up ‘business as usual’, we embraced technology as the enabler for change across the Group, allowing us to bring in a new hybrid way of working for our current colleagues, and a new opportunity to attract top talent to the company. Want to learn more about joining Xcede Group? Get in touch with our Human Resources team.