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Navigating COVID-19: HR & HSE Industry Insights

Navigating COVID-19: HR & HSE Industry Insights

Frazer Jones Market Insight

As the economic shutdown brought on by COVID-19-related restrictions hit Australia, business leaders needed to assess and immediately activate their business continuity plans. During these unprecedented times, leaders were facing unique and rapidly changing challenges.

In the beginning, it was really more about understanding how people are set up. Can they work from home? Are they set up with the right equipment? Is there anything that could help make employees more successful at home?

As part of our new interview series "HR & HSE Industry Insights", the team at Frazer Jones spoke with some of our valued clients, speaking about the current challenges they were facing and opportunities for innovation in their company and/or industry sector.

We look back over the last 6 weeks with insight from senior HR & HSE professionals about how they have been navigating the challenges during COVID-19 and the impact this has had on their businesses and their teams.

We hope that by sharing the thoughts of our experts, we can support the HR community in learning and adapting.

Here are the first three of our six interviews with HR & HSE professionals across Australia.

 

Group Talent Manager - Global Telecommunications infrastructure

How is your organisation promoting & managing good communication and employee well-being in the current situation?

  • Regular group communications
  • A dedicated Yammer channel with updates on a range of issues
  • Regular scheduled Q&A sessions via Yammer
  • A beefed-up wellbeing program with 'Champions' nominated to drive initiatives across 6 wellbeing pillars

Has there been any innovation or change to the way you work or conduct business that will be beneficial longer term?   

The Yammer channel has gained broad adoption across the Group, whereas previously it was only being leveraged by pockets of our business. A number of sub-groups have been created which is driving engagement both on a professional and social level.

I suspect the (high) level of employee productivity will lead to a much broader adoption and acceptance of working from home in the future.

How are you on-boarding remotely and what has worked well (or not so well)?              

We have paused on much of our recruitment during this pandemic. However, we are now progressing with some limited hires. We are making arrangements for computer equipment to be couriered to new employees' homes and sending them mini videos instructions for setting this equipment up. They are also required to complete our 'working from home' online form for them to confirm, including photo evidence, that they have an acceptable home office setup that meets our HSE requirements. They then complete a small series of virtually facilitated online on-boarding sessions.

Are you continuing to hire certain roles? If so, what types of roles are deemed business critical in your organisation?               

Only roles related to resourcing for key client projects we have been successful in securing.

 

HR Business Partner - Global Healthcare company

How is your organisation promoting & managing good communication and employee well-being in the current situation?

We have a weekly 'all company' webinar where the GM and other members of the leadership team share updates related to COVID, the business, measures being taken to support new ways of working, wellbeing initiatives etc. This collective call allows everyone to hear the same messages at the same time. There is a pigeonhole Q&A function set up to allow questions and transparency of questions which are addressed on the call. Any follow ups or Q&A's not addressed on the call can be followed up with managers.

For the head office employees, we are currently running an energy for performance program which links teams in weekly on various aspects of wellbeing. This was kicked off before COVID but is remaining a key focus as we support employees during this time. This program has already been embedded for remote workers.

Our organisation uses WorkPlace as the main channel of communication, so all messages and comms shared during the calls is promoted on WorkPlace. WorkPlace also has various groups e.g. working parents where employees can connect with others. Employees are being reminded of these groups and the support they offer.

In addition, our wellbeing provider is offering online exercise classes open to all and access to our EAP providers is being promoted.

Has there been any innovation or change to the way you work or conduct business that will be beneficial longer term?   

The move to work from home has accelerated the use of many digital tools including increased proficiency with Webex and comfort with technology which will see longer term changes.

In order to support and bring some balance to the constant screen and home time we have introduced no meetings on Wednesday afternoons. This allows employees to either catch up on work, take time with family or for themselves. This seems to have driven productivity and possibly something that will continue post COVID.

A number of requests for staggered working hours during the days to support parents school children and share the responsibilities with partners may see a new trend to core working hours becoming more flexible, especially as we are a global organisation so we can work across many hours of the day.

How are you on-boarding remotely and what has worked well (or not so well)?

No onboarding has taken place since COVID-19 hit Australia.

Are you continuing to hire certain roles? If so, what types of roles are deemed business critical in your organisation?

We do not have a recruitment freeze but are considering all roles on a case by case basis. Currently where the business is at with product launches / time in product lifecycles etc we do not have any roles we would consider critical to recruit and also do not have any gaps that are hampering delivery of business.

 

HR Director - Professional Healthcare products & services

How is your organisation promoting & managing good communication and employee well-being in the current situation?

We have role modelled good communication by holding weekly updates and we have provided guides to managers.

We have also provided guides to managers and employees for employee wellbeing.

Has there been any innovation or change to the way you work or conduct business that will be beneficial longer term?   

The ability to function without everyone being in the same room is a positive change and may enable us to be more agile in the future.

More online customer training is also a benefit.

How are you on-boarding remotely and what has worked well (or not so well)?              

We use our existing onboarding systems and we haven't onboarded many people during this period.

Onboarding remains a challenge due to the lack of face to face contact and slower pace to build relationships.

Are you continuing to hire certain roles? If so, what types of roles are deemed business critical in your organisation?

We have put recruitment on hold for now.

 

For more information about recruitment for HR and HSE professionals in Australia during Covid-19, please contact one of the Frazer Jones Australia team.