Otilia Pavel, Team leader of IT&Telecom specialism, at Hays Romania
What was the level of digitalisation in your centre before COVID-19?
At Hays, we have always focused on building a strong relationship with our candidates and clients – an important part of this process of course being the personal interaction we have with them. Most of our interviews & meetings were face to face but of course, we also used online tools (Skype, Zoom, WebEx) when face to face was not possible – e.g. client was not based in Romania, candidates were not based in Bucharest, and so on.
How did COVID-19 impact digital transformation of your company?
The major change came in transforming our face to face interactions into digital ones. We introduced an additional tool (Microsoft Teams) to facilitate further online communication and expand our digital options. All our consultants started to have online interviews and as well e-meetings with our clients, and our internal meetings all moved across to Microsoft Teams as well, as consultants really bought into the new technology.
What type of processes did you digitalise in the last 2 months?
Besides interviews with candidates and online meetings, in order to support our clients, Hays created a new service, Hays Learning Platform. In this, companies and their employees can access free online training around adapting to changes in work processes, educational pieces on Coronavirus and safety, and advice on ways to look after mental health during the crisis. Clients also have the opportunity to create / upload a customised training program onto this platform – discover it for yourself at hayslearning.eu.
What helped you the most during this period? And why?
If I was asked about this period and how we responded, I would say that Hays adapted very fast! We immediately had available all the necessary infrastructure for working 100% remotely, with a dedicated team of trainers working with marketing teams to create training materials (guides) to make this transition as easy as possible. We have made some of these processes and guides available for public use across our two online hubs, (Remote work & New era of work) on www.hays.ro, check them out whether you want more information as a candidate or client.
What was the hardest thing to do? And why?
I think that this process of adapting your style of work to the new reality, for example not being able to meet the people you are working with (candidates, clients, colleagues), was challenging as this is an important part of our work as recruitment consultants. Another big challenge was to work from home with a 3-year-old child and keep the productivity level as it was before this crisis. Leading a team is about making yourself available for your team members, supporting them constantly and finding the right way to motivate them and be an example. Now imagine doing this at the same time – both with your team and your child. The way I got it to work was through flexible working hours: e.g. split the morning into 2 hours available for the team, 2 hours available for the child. Of course, this made my working day longer, but was an appropriate solution as a full-time Mum and full-time employee.
Do you think COVID-19 is a turning point in digital transformation?
I believe that COVID-19 has been the breaking point between how we used to work and how we will work from now on. Of course, the digital transformation that comes with it, and how effective it is across each organisation, will have a big impact on how companies’ will adapt to the new reality.
How did your colleagues adapt and embrace digital transformation during the lockdown?
We have increased our internal meetings to further consolidate our team relationships and to support our colleagues with anything they’ve needed (either professionally or personally). Leading exclusively remote teams made us rethink and redevelop some of our strategies, but I am happy to say that we managed to successfully reach our goals, despite the lockdown situation.