The pandemic has raised many challenges for HR departments. The entire HR action plan prepared in advance for 2020 had to be modified and we had to come up with a completely new plan. Everything seemed terrible at first, but people and the market adapted quickly. It showed us that we are more than capable of changing our habits and work style.
The new reality: Remote work
Remote work was one of the biggest changes in the current pandemic market. In our company, employees had the possibility to work from home before, so this change didn’t affect us as much as the rest. While others had to get used to new communication tools and more online meetings, we already had this infrastructure in place. Moreover, we had real-world remote working experience pre covid with our recruitment and HR onboarding processes enabling us to move quicker in establishing this new norm.
Covid gave employees more flexibility when it came to remote work - for a long time it was the most sought-after benefit - flexible working hours have become a part of every day. Lots of people were afraid that remote work will have a negative impact on the quality of work, but quite the contrary happened. People have now more time because they don’t have to commute to work every morning. All of us hope that after the pandemic our clients will remain open to remote work and we will be able to offer remote or hybrid work permanently.
The impact on social interactions
At first, everyone liked the fact that they don’t waste time chatting over coffee and can concentrate on work. However, after some time, all of us started to miss direct contact, during which we could take a break from some tasks. For leaders, such small talk is also an opportunity to improve relations with the employees or check whether everything is ok. It’s very important to be in touch with the staff, especially when people are worried about the whole situation.
Currently, at online meetings, we leave space for small talk, we can talk about everything, employees also call each other to just talk. It’s something that kinda replaces the typical water cooler moments. In addition to casual online conversations, we introduced a little humor through fun meetings on Fridays, inspired by Jimmy Kimmel and his “Formal Friday” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1eN49HjXec i.e. dressing up (e.g. zombie theme, heroes, etc.) and cracking jokes giving us a new meaning to “Stand Up” during our daily stand-ups. Those are small things that improve the well-being of employees and affect work efficiency, we can have some laughs before starting the day.
Another problem with Covid is that it prevented traditional integration events. We are a team that likes to have fun but we had to somehow deal with it. Some companies offer interesting online activities, such as an online escape room, and we did try it out before Christmas. It was fun, however, no online interaction can replace face-to-face contact.
A new recruitment challenge
Lots of people lost their jobs because their sectors got heavily affected by the pandemic and wanted to start a new career in IT. It’s a sector that has a bright future ahead and is constantly looking for new talent. But sometimes there is no place for juniors and companies need employees who have vast experience. That situation created a new challenge, there were more people on the market but without the right know-how.
Our recruiters quickly noticed that the ones with the right expertise are reluctant to change jobs. They had concerns that the market is unstable. They had stable jobs and didn't want to jump on a new train, even if their jobs weren't very satisfying. Another thing was that the market accelerated, companies had sped up their digital transformation, put more emphasis on automation and other technical aspects. And they desperately needed more engineers. Recruiters and HR departments had to somehow deal with all these challenges, they had more work and new problems that they had to solve.
New people on board
Maxima doubled our EU recruitment team to keep up with increased demand. We also invested in our internal marketing team to show our expertise to attract new talent and clients. Thanks to the combined efforts of everyone, the company grew even during a crisis. Currently, we work in a hybrid model, if anybody wants to visit the office he/she is free to do so, as long as we keep the right distance.