Businesses adjusting to COVID-19

Thu, 09 Apr 2020
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Our most recent event was very different to Impact’s usual setting – where we would be sitting together around a table and attendees can share ideas without the fear of a dodgy WIFI signal!
But the creative industry like many others are being impacted during these unprecedented times. We are now living in a world where video calls are the norm; so we have adapted and created an event on the impact of COVID-19 virtually.

Collaborating with some of our HR and Talent clients across the creative, media and tech industries, we discussed a range of topics around Covid-19, the challenges it presents and innovative ideas to combat this changing landscape. We even had a client join our Zoom conference from an idyllic island setting (disclaimer, this may have been a screenshot on their background!)
Breaking the session into 4 key topics; these included:

• How businesses are accommodating for parents working from home and what extra measures they are taking to ease this transition
• Mental health of employees, both current workers and furloughed staff (if this has happened)
• Adapting recruitment and how businesses are interviewing and virtually on boarding employees
• How businesses are preparing for the next 1-6 months

Parenting whilst working from home
Employers are doing their upmost to give flexibility for working parents, offering flexible hours and embracing agile working. Many who were previously reluctant to embrace agile working, are now seeing the benefit; this pandemic could lead to a changing mind-set of how we work in the future. Other key findings included:

• Newsletter to parents / getting children on the video calls and getting them to interact in creative activities (drawing lessons, painting or games)
• Education for managers with teams that have kids and ways of accommodating around their flexible working. Big focus on L&D!
• Ability to build better relationships internationally and locally which can improve synergies across different departments through their children
• Paid leave for childcare purposes and a financial contribution for learning resources to develop their children.

Mental health whilst working from home for current and furloughed staff
Mental health is a hot topic but COVID-19 has only enhanced this, putting it at the forefront of businesses agendas to maintain engagement and wellbeing levels. Each company shared innovative ways of keeping staff engaged, motivating them during these isolated times and promoting communication and collaboration through virtual means.

• Mental health champions or first aiders checking in on employees across the business and organising fun activities to engage staff
• Businesses partnering with charities/firms including Sanctus and Mind; offering courses and guides on mental health
• Virtual exercises classes, including Joe Wickes type workouts and yoga throughout the week that anyone can get involved in!
• Pub quizzes and happy hour drinks (not only restricted to Fridays!)
• Creating their own version of “Through the keyhole” and “Cribs” where employees film within their house and guess who’s place it is (they even get a sneak peek into their fridge).
• Promoting Headspace for meditation classes which has received great feedback.

Recruitment – Virtual interviews to virtual on boarding
Although recruitment has been impacted by COVID-19, we are seeing the industry adapt their processes. From virtual interviewing to on-boarding, we explored the different ways to make it as seamless as possible. Here are the key takeaways:

• Virtually checking in with candidates just prior to their virtual interview, re-creating the meet & greet as if they were meeting in reception before going in to the meeting room. Making it more lifelike, it gives the chance for the candidate to ease their way into the interview.
• Focusing on candidate neuro diversity, providing pictures of the interviewer, giving a preview of questions and prepping the candidate to feel at ease.
• We found that some personalities who are typically more introverted or can be nervous in a normal interview scenario have thrived in a virtual interview, comfortable in their own surroundings.
• Virtually on-boarding candidates during the lockdown; couriering laptops to new joiners and getting IT to set them up virtually. They will then go through virtual calls with line manager and team, learning the systems through tutorials and handover tasks via messaging systems or Zoom.
• Some companies have looked at role sharing for the short term before bringing in a new head when things are back to normality.
• Culture- It is difficult to get company culture across but also find out if the candidate is a good fit without meeting face to face. Clients have been solving this by asking more value driven questions that matches company values and understanding behaviours of candidates to ensure best fit.

Plans for the next 1-6 months and what that looks like for business?
With so much uncertainty, it was hard to give clear answers about what the plans are. However everyone seemed to be adapting and working hard to try and find new and innovative ways to make sure staff are engaged. The positives of working from home are businesses trusting their employees and allowing them to work in an agile way. Everyone involved is adapting their way of work and using this chance to evaluate their current recruitment process. Pipe lining candidates seems to be on clients agenda, ensuring they are ready to engage with candidates once they have the go ahead to hire.

We want to say a big thank you to all of our clients that attended and contributed!

• Sam Ramira, Talent Acquisition at Universal Music
• Sam Davies, Broadcast Recruiter at Hogarth
• Vikesh Patel and Chloe Ferguson, Talent Acquisition at iTech Media
• Chloe Ferguson, Talent Acquisition at iTech Media
• Susana Teles, HR Manager from Lewis Communications
• Leanne Elske, HR Manager at 7Digital
• Shayna Nagle, Global Head of People & Development at Freuds PR
• Adele Farmer, HR Manager at Fremantle
• Bradley Cook, Talent Advisor at Portland

Impact will be hosting further events in the future so please stay tuned and get in contact if you want to find out how to join them.