We at HRpepper switched to working in the home office very quickly, already at the beginning of March. To be honest, I’ve only just noticed how fast the last three months have gone by. Only yesterday I had the thought that relaxing the measures felt like returning to earth from a foreign planet. One has the expectation that everything on earth is exactly the same as before, but it isn’t. Time has not stood still, an incredible amount has happened. The main reason for this is that we have digitized a great many of our products in recent weeks to make them available to our customers remotely. So I have continued to work relatively normally during the crisis, only partly on different topics than three months ago.
Have your customers’ requests to HRpepper changed? If so, which HR questions seem particularly relevant at the moment?
Clearly, the focus has shifted. We can see this in the content of the inquiries and, of course, in the way they are implemented. Organizations that we have been supporting for a long time have directly engaged us for support on topics such as “digital collaboration”, “working with children in the home office”, “online leadership” and “online personnel selection”. In the course of this, we also launched our digital assessment center together with Applysia, for example. This has been very well received by customers and is certainly a tool that will continue to enjoy great popularity after Corona.
What was previously a request for an interactive workshop on site is now a request for a digital workshop, which should offer the same amount of interactivity. This was a challenge for us at the beginning. We had to find ways to transfer our very personal “pepper style” into a virtual style. But with the help of flexible tools like Miro or Mural, survey tools and above all our various creative check-ins, we have been able to achieve comparably good results with our virtual workshops so far.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for HR departments at the moment?
In my opinion, employers are currently struggling the most to maintain the trust of their employees. Very few organizations can predict with certainty a stable future and thus promise secure jobs. Because forecasts or not, we all don’t know what the current situation will do to the job market here in Germany and, of course, globally.
Often only the effects on the economy are reported, but what impact does such an extraordinary situation have on the human psyche?
I have to realize that many organizations do not illuminate this side at all or only minimally and that worries me personally. HRpepper has managed to deal very openly with the topic of personal fears and there is enough room to discuss them.
Back to Office: What will be like before after Corona and what will have changed?
You can already notice the trend of people to return to the “old life”. At least that is the case in Berlin. If this one wave of Corona continues, I’m honestly not sure if so much will change. If I look around in my environment, then maybe one or two consultants will fly less. In addition, the topic of digitization could become more and more important, especially for public institutions and the healthcare sector. However, these topics were already in motion even without Corona and are currently only increasingly being brought into the spotlight or accelerated.
Whether there will be overall organizational and cross-industry changes depends heavily on how the next few months develop and whether the experiences from the crisis are also seen in terms of their opportunities for innovation within organizations. Will there be so-called crisis officers in every organization in the future? Will employees increasingly be trained on digital topics? Will the production of products be more local again?
It is clear that the topic of digitization and thus also the conscious use of media and data has become much more tangible for companies and individuals. I see this as a positive development that has been promoted by Corona and will also be carried over into the “post-Corona era” – (if it will even exist at all).
Life hack: Your three “top tips” for teams in the home office
- Several short votes per week instead of the traditional Jour-Fixes
- Celebrate shared moments of success, e.g. during all-hands meetings
- Set up mentoring tandems to maintain the exchange between colleagues
On behalf of HRpepper Management Consultants, Sara supports companies in change processes, such as the introduction of new HR systems or organizational models. She has a lot of experience in the analysis and innovation of HR processes and has a broad knowledge in HR-Tech. For HRpepper she is also Community Manager and therefore responsible for maintaining and building the freelancer community. Sara has a Master’s degree in Psychology and also supports GREWP in topic-related issues.
Thank you, dear Sara, for the open interview and the exciting insights!