case study: maintaining employee engagement and business continuity during a pandemic.

Weekly communication, 'all hands' meetings and fun competitions keep morale high; effective use of HR tech ensures clients’ needs are met.

Maintaining communication and business during country lockdowns 

As a global talent solutions leader, Randstad Sourceright employs more than 2,500 employees in over 70 countries. Our people work remotely at client offices or from home, and our teams work across many geographies and time zones. As a result, employee engagement has always been a top priority for our company. 

As the COVID-19 pandemic causes lockdowns around the world, Randstad Sourceright is focused on ensuring that employees remain connected and engaged. Maintaining business continuity to continue supporting our clients during these challenging times is critical.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, we want to send a clear message to all our people that they are valued and respected, and that we are all in it together. We are achieving this by ensuring our people are safe and in helping them stay connected. We’re giving them the transparency they deserve and the tools they need to be productive at work. At the same time, we know that this isn’t business as usual, and are offering the flexibility that our people need to manage personal and family commitments while working from home,” said Cindy Keaveney, chief people officer, Randstad Global Businesses.

A Human Forward, digitally connected approach

Human Forward — combining the power of technology and human expertise to create a more human and connected experience — is Randstad’s brand promise, and is brought to life in our response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A task force consisting of leaders from different verticals — including global and regional executives, legal, risk, HR, marketing and internal communications — was formed to address, monitor and quickly respond to real-time developments. The task force meets twice a week to ensure plans are regularly reviewed and updated to respond to the ever-changing situations. 

To keep employees informed, we also created a coronavirus support and resource center on our global intranet platform. This resource center serves as a single destination for all the information and updates surrounding the pandemic and business continuity. 

Weekly communications are sent by Rebecca Henderson, CEO of Randstad Global Businesses, via email and on our intranet to share important updates, provide company news and highlight a weekly human interest focus. 

Weekly virtual “all hands” meetings, hosted by the global leadership team, provide team members with important business updates, ensure transparency and help employees navigate the complexities of working during this unprecedented time. For example, external guests, such as  Dr. Barbara Mariposa, have been invited to these sessions to provide valuable coping strategies to employees. 

Helping employees stay connected with their colleagues, teams and the company is also critical to the communication strategy. The internal communications team deployed an employee engagement plan that combined informative communications with relevant “feel good” messages. 

Randstad Sourceright Rebecca Henderson COVID-19 responseSome of the initiatives include: learning and development webinars to help our people “thrive in times of uncertainty,” tips and tricks for mental and physical health and well-being, fitness programs with virtual yoga and POUND classes, virtual story time with the leadership team for employees with children and an online talent competition. 

To better understand employee sentiments, engagement surveys are conducted weekly, rather than monthly, during the COVID-19 period. Employees are asked to rate crisis communications, support from management, tooling and other factors. They are also given the opportunity to provide comments on what more the company can do to help them during these challenging times. 

 

Keeping clients educated and informed

As the scale of the pandemic increased and spread, Randstad Sourceright's Global Business Services (GBS) function put our planned Business Continuity test in place to minimize disruption. 

“The goal was to ensure our teams could work from home safely whilst also being productive for our clients and candidates. We quickly moved from test to our new working reality with more than 450 people across the U.K.,U.S., Hungary and India all delivering operational excellence from their homes,” said Niall Anderson, head of Global Business Services, Randstad Sourceright.

To help keep our clients informed, an external coronavirus resource center and Insights stream were launched. The pages provide tips, best practices and answers to frequently asked questions around business continuity, workforce planning and talent management during the pandemic. 

Externally facing webinars, called the “talent continuity learning series,” feature both internal and external subject matter experts and provide education on topics that are most important to human capital leaders during the pandemic. Topics range from remote leadership tips to virtual recruitment and onboarding, managing employer branding during times of crisis and safely getting people back to work in our current environment. 

To help organizations facing fluctuations in talent demand, or those facing the challenges of operating a remote workforce, Randstad is also offering a digital toolkit. This toolkit was developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading HR technology organizations, and provides low- or no-cost solutions that can be rapidly deployed to help companies maintain hiring operations, virtualize the workplace and redeploy critical resources.

We’re also taking this opportunity to educate our employees on the critical skills they need to help our clients navigate through the complexities of the coronavirus crisis and beyond. With a focus on virtual learning, our team around the globe is training consultative skills, digital fluency and other competencies.

Moving ahead into the new normal 

With regular and transparent communications, and a healthy balance of informative and upbeat messages, our people are able to stay closely connected with the company and each other. Employees score the engagement and communications during COVID-19 at an average of 8.8 out of 10, while usage of the #sharedmoments intranet channel has also seen a 150% increase. 

Solid technology infrastructure and effective use of HR technology, such as video interviewing and virtual recruiting platforms, enable us to continue to run our business and support our clients with minimal disruption. The external coronavirus resource center and Talent Continuity Learning Series are also being received favorably by clients, with increased traffic to our website and thousands of attendees at the webinars. 

To prepare for the new normal in the workplace and help clients navigate future challenges in the world of work, Randstad has joined forces with other leading HR services companies to form an alliance. This alliance is collaborating with governments, associations, employers and trade unions on measures and recommendations that will enable companies and workers to safely return to work after COVID-19.

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