This week we’re chatting to Bazaarvoice about how they’ve been coping with the outbreak of COVID-19.
Companies all over the world have been dealing with the unprecedented events of the outbreak of COVID-19. This has resulted in countless lay offs and furloughs, hours being reduced, and the vast majority of staff having to work from home.
It has been uncertain for people, causing stress and anxiety among the workforce. However, it has been an opportunity for companies to stand up, and show off their employer brand in these unsettling times.
It has been very uplifting seeing companies face the COVID – 19 challenges head-on with humanity, creativity and kindness. When things are going well, it is easy for a leader to do their job, however, during these tough times, it becomes a lot more challenging.
As we’ve mentioned before, companies will be remembered for their response to this global pandemic.
And so, we decided to chat to some well known businesses, and see what they’ve been doing to help their staff during this period.
First up, we have Bazaarvoice, a digital marketing company based in Austin, Texas. It provides software that allows retailers to add customer reviews to their websites. We chatted to Laura Lunn, Talent Partner at Bazaarvoice, and asked her a series of questions about how her company has been coping, what they’ve done in terms of their employer brand, and of course, what the future might hold.
How is your company coping working remotely? Have you put in place anything to keep your culture going, etc?
Given our flexible approach to work prior to current world events, we have been able to adapt fairly quickly to get everyone up and running remotely. We’ve implemented a number of things including virtual happy hour every Friday at 4pm, that has guest quiz’s and games , just for a bit of fun to round off the week, switched our usual office yoga to a remote yoga class, and opened up a Google Hangout to give folks an opportunity to grab a coffee and catch up with folks from the office whenever they fancy!
What initiatives have you implemented because of coronavirus in order to maintain an engaged remote workforce? And do you think it will be beneficial to maintain any of these initiatives back in the office?
We’ve dedicated time in our usual office weekly meeting, to open up the floor to anyone who wishes to share how they are doing, how they are adapting with the their new routine, or lack of! It’s been invaluable to hear how each other is doing in a comfortable safe space. We are learning a lot about how each of us are doing, and that’s something we should always be keen to do, when remote working or not!
What are the 3 best tools that you would recommend when working remotely?
A good internet connection, a solid video calling application and some comfy slippers!
Are you up-skilling your employees while they work from home? If so how?
We have been very clear with our employees that this is not a normal situation and to remember that they are at home, trying to work during a global crisis and look after their families/friends in whatever capacity they need to. So if they find themselves wanting to use some time in order to up-skill, then we have plenty of resource outlets available to them and they can do so!
A lot of companies are still actively hiring. How should prepare to do a remote job interview?
Have the mindset that you were going to have an in-person interview, check your internet connection and meeting invite if you have one! Do your research as you would normally and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
How have you been demonstrating your culture and values during this time?
We have been trying to stay thoughtful in our communication, being respectful of each-others time and situations. We are still celebrating success, and staying as connected to our communities as much as possible by giving back where we can.
What permanent changes do you think we will see to the workforce post-Covid 19?
I think there will be a huge swing into looking more positively at the “work from home” model. Employers have been pushed into having to trust employees to work from home, and that’s been an uncomfortable shift for some, on both the employee and employer.
What 3 things would you like your employees to say about how your company has handled this situation and your culture during this pandemic?
Quickly, humanely, and with flexibility.
Do you think remote working will become more accepted post Coronavirus?
Absolutely, whilst nothing compares to face to face interaction for certain elements of business, I think this will allow certain elements of the stigma of working from home to be removed. Here in Bazaarvoice, with our flexible working from home policy, we have been able to act quickly.
What positive aspects of working from home have you taken from this experience that you will implement your work ethic in the future?
Personally, as I’m very much driven by people, it’s been challenging for me, but as the days go by it is getting easier. I’m learning that not everything will get an instant response in the same way it would in a verbal conversation. I’m slowing down my expectations of myself and of others. I’m also loving that I don’t sit in traffic twice a day, 5 days a week! It’s had an overwhelmingly positive effect on my mood!
What can talent do now to place them in a better position when looking for a job in a few months?
It would be easy to say “use this time to up-skill, learn something different, work on a project at home’ however the reality is folks have responsibilities that can and will outweigh learning a new skill. Employers need to be mindful of that and will understand. I’d encourage honesty of what you have been able to do throughout this process. However if there is something that you have the time for, there are a ton of companies offering access to their courses for free!
What are the challenges facing job seekers over the next 6-12 months (post Coronavirus)?
As no one knows when things will begin to get back to ‘normal’ there will be a huge amount of uncertainty in the job market. Businesses will be looking to understand the immediate and long term effects of the pandemic before being able to ascertain further growth of their workforce.