In this Q&A, Violeta Matei, Business Operations Manager at Kambr, speaks about the challenges HR teams can expect amidst the COVID pandemic. She explains how to cope with them to ensure an able and productive workforce and thriving in effecting continuity, all great tips for these times. Born and raised in Bucharest, Romania, Violeta has over 7 years experience as an HR Specialist, with companies such as Société Générale and IBM.
What is your advice to firms that do not have the necessary infrastructure to support remote work to go about setting up the same quickly?
Before setting anything up, it’s important to make sure that you’ve created a company culture that is based on shared values. Ensure that you have good communication tools and resources that help keep everyone involved and engaged. Once your foundation is set, you can then invest the time and research into the best approach of remote working; it’s key to implement program strategies and policies that will work for your specific company culture, not because it is what the mainstream are using.
Supporting health of staff should be a top priority for firms. How can HR teams aid in supporting the workforce and their organizations while enabling continuity?
Going back to company culture, it’s important that the culture of an organization is already established on a foundation that allows for agility. Health and well-being should already be a priority, but in sync, flexible policies should also be in place. For example, since we are a distributed workforce, many Kambrians are all over the world and as a result, policies such as vacation days need to adhere to local legislations, consider local bank holidays as well as any cultural/religious holidays etc. We make sure to support our staff as much as possible, with different countries and cultures into consideration.
In such uncertain times with numerous departments turning to HR for guidance on policies and other queries and limited means at HR teams' disposal for motivating and engaging employees in person, what is your advice for our HR superheroes to stay sane and maintain their own well-being while balancing numerous other roles towards their own team, departments, organization at large and their own families?
Create strategies that continue to retain top performing employees and continue to stay connected to top-tier talent. Even though a company may not be expanding their workforce, this strategy helps a company have an ongoing solid pipeline of talent prospects and keep a powerful employer branding. We need to think beyond the traditional processes and begin relying on virtual interviews processes and trusted referrals. As for staying sane, take some breathing room to adjust to your new lifestyles; allow your employees to:
- Create their own schedules; focus more on hitting specific goals, than hours behind your computer. Allow people to determine what works best for them and their personal situation, equilibrium is key.
- Make time to take time: these are difficult times and you need to take time for yourself to regroup and re-energize.
What are some of the steps Kambr has taken to ensure a smooth transition to the WFH environment and what in your opinion are the steps to ensure a successful continuity plan?
We are very lucky in that we have started as a distributed workforce, so working from home is already second nature for many of us. All employees are equipped with a laptop, as well as given access to all hardware or software needed for their specific role. Additionally, equipment like monitors have been provided to the team globally. But most importantly, we know that as people begin establishing a new work-life balance during this pandemic, open lines of communication, flexibility and understanding are of utmost importance.
How do you envision the post-covid era? What and how much do you think is going to change for the workforce and what can HR teams do to ensure they're well-equipped for what's to come?
Since a post-COVID era will see more people working from home with less face to face interaction, I believe that companies will begin placing more value on talent that are agile, can work independently, communicate clearly and disciplined.