Crisis, creativity and continuity: HR on COVID changes for keeps
In May 2020 The People Space and 10Eighty held a week-long series of webinars to discover the practical steps HR directors were taking to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. We caught up with them again to see how they have fared since and what long-term changes they have made in their businesses
Eugenio Pirri, chief people and culture officer, on how the coronavirus pandemic has changed Dorchester Collection
"The efficiency and productivity of having people work in different areas has been amazing. People are gaining experiences now that they don't normally get to have as they’re put in that job and that's what they do until they get moved or promoted. For the first time ever we’ve been really doing cross training on a global scale. There's a lot to be said for the COVID dividend, while still respecting the fact there’s been a lot of sadness."
Stephanie Neuvirth, global VP, people and organization, Mars Veterinary Health
"New issues are now emerging. We're taking engagement surveys without having met a whole bunch of people in person. So how do you onboard people and teach people culture via Zoom? We're really starting to talk about how we lead as leaders in this virtual world. Initially it was just make do and figure it out. Now people need more structure on what the expectation is."
David Frost, organisational development director, Total Produce
"We've seen the value of bringing people together using video conferencing so this will be an ongoing feature. It’s helped to encourage collaboration and sharing of knowledge and information. And more regular check-ins – I see more of my peer group and colleagues than I've ever done. So COVID hasn't meant less contact, it's meant more contact."
Hayley Connor, head of people and learning, Brewhouse & Kitchen
"Virtually delivering training has been huge for us. I think we will move back to some sort of face to face as it’s important for company culture. But we used to spend a lot of money on travel and accommodation because we're so geographically spread and we don't need to anymore. And what's really nice is a lot more of our line managers are getting involved in delivering training sessions because virtual is just a lot easier. That's something that will definitely stay."
Michael Moran, CEO and founder, 10Eighty
"Longer term I can see the impact of COVID is a fundamental reshape of the world of work – where we work, the mission and purpose of organisations and a new leadership cadre that is very different to the one of just getting the job done but instead one which is more people and community centric. So I'm hoping the positive benefits of COVID will lead to a very different type of organisation than the one that went into the pandemic."