No doubt about it, Covid has thrown a lot of curve balls. How have different companies been adapting the way they work — and how might it change them forever?

Beam employer Employsure (workplace relations specialists) faced two big, sudden challenges. How to:

  1. Set up over 600 office-based employees to suddenly work from home; and
  2. Quickly bring in lots of new team members to cope with the sudden influx of Covid-related queries

How did they do both without sacrificing team engagement and culture? And which flexibility changes will they keep? We chatted with Maureen Croft, their very busy Talent Acquisition and Workplace Manager.

What changes did Employsure make to support employees working from home? How did you take your culture and management online?

When Covid hit, we:

  • Implemented manager “coaching scrums” (small group coaching) specific to the challenges our team were facing
  • Sent out weekly manager packs with advice and coaching
  • Hosted fun initiatives such as Quizantine (a lunchtime trivia session across Departments) and virtual Friday drinks hours
  • Offered ergonomic consultations (now something that’s developed as part of a product we also offer to clients — Ergosure)
  • Moved all meetings to Zoom, which included interviews, client meetings and internal meetings. This was a heavy lift and we took a really hands-on approach to ensuring our staff understood how to utilise this to their benefit. Encouraging things like daily drop-in Zooms for managers and staff.
  • Hosted Zoom training sessions for our staff who normally primarily work face-to-face
  • Found alternative ways to recognise staff for their contributions – the ways our managers have adapted to recognise their team members in different ways has been astounding. E.g. we’ve had one Team Leader driving over to drop off a coffee on their team member’s doorstep when they have achieved a milestone or won a competition, online recognition, etc.

Our Leadership team also committed to daily updates on our crisis management, approach and plans for managing through this ever evolving situation.

Transparency has been key — and overall the level of communication and connectivity over Workplace and Zoom has improved engagement.

When everyone is working from home, how are you onboarding new people and making sure they feel connected to your community and culture?

An interesting question and one that we are still working on as we continue to test ourselves to be better.

  • We run a company induction via Zoom to bring individuals into the company and educate them on our Values and Strategy
  • Our L&D team took on a bigger role in the onboarding process for some roles to support our hiring managers and ensure that those WFH weren’t isolated and had a strong support network
  • Workplace (by Facebook) has been an incredible tool for us. Many of our new starters have said that this tool has really helped them to feel connected despite not being in the office and with their teams.
  • We continue to work closely with People Managers to ensure they are using the various tools (workplace groups, Zoom) to stay connected with their teams, including any newer staff members.

What’s worked particularly well?

  • Office365/Sharepoint and Zoom were used pre-Covid but on a more ad-hoc basis. The uptake of these tools has been great and helped us to consider how this shapes the way we work in the future.
  • We’ve taken the time to consider what our Employee Value Proposition (EVP) looks like in a post-COVID world – both short-term whilst we (along with many other organisations) are being careful with our spending, but also taking the opportunity to learn from this period and consider the needs and wants of our current and future employees in the long term.
    Eg. Is flexibility to work from home now possible in roles that were previously considered office-based?

We’d recommend other organisations use this as an opportunity to review existing processes and their EVP as well any long-held views about requirements for certain roles.

Once things have returned to “normal”, what new approaches will you adopt as the way you do business more generally?

Flexibility and working locations are obviously big ones.

We’re currently exploring increased flexibility in some roles (whether this is change of hours, days, change of working location and a more flexible working approach in the office, with the workspace designed to accommodate) — and the impact this might have on broadening our talent pool.

We’re also re-considering our approach to face-to-face interviews and whether AI/video-based interviewing could improve either the quality of candidate or our time-to-fill for roles.

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