Nurturing company culture during tough times

While countries around the world try to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, companies need to find (new) ways to keep their daily business up and running, while making sure their employees are staying safe and at the same time nourish the company culture. So, what have we done here at System Verification to tackle these challenges?

These are very challenging times and 2020 is a certainly a different year that we all will remember. Thanks to digital tools we have managed to work from home without any major disruptions to the actual tasks at hand. All our customers have also made this possible for our employees, and this is probably something we will see more of in the future. But the general move from office desks to a home office environment, has led to much fewer social touch points with both colleagues and customers. The everyday social interaction is something that we have taken for granted, and overnight this was taken away due to Covid-19, which of course has had an impact on all of us. Sweden HR Manager Joanna Doweyko explains how System Verification addressed the ‘isolation issue’:

“Right from the start we felt that keeping in touch, and making sure our colleagues were OK, was extremely important. So, when we couldn’t have physical meetings, we found other ways to connect.”

The company introduced virtual weekly coffee breaks – ‘fika’ – over Teams, which have been appreciated and still occur locally around the company´s different locations. In Sweden, our CEO Erik Björhäll has held bi-weekly status meetings, that now have become a natural part of the company’s communication strategy, as a monthly meeting – thanks to our employees’ positive feedback. Online training and competence webinars – activities that are ‘naturally virtual’ – were initiated and will surely be a part of all the work we do when it comes to developing our competence.

“Information was, and is, key. From a management level, we wanted to be transparent, keep people involved and make everyone feel we’re all still part of the System Verification family,” says Kadira Šubo, Office Manager in Sarajevo.

To get a better understanding of how employees felt about the activities and how this difficult period was handled, the company arranged a survey. Joanna Doweyko:

“What did our people see as the biggest challenges? Were they satisfied with the level of information? What could have been done differently? Those were some of the questions we asked. Naturally, not everyone was happy with everything. Several employees stated that they missed their colleagues, but at the same time they were humble in the face of our taking these actions due to Covid-19. It was of course also good to learn that literally everyone (100%) trusts the management team’s ability to get us through this. Such a high trust is actually a result of a massive team effort within the company – where every employee pulled their weight. The vast majority also felt that the level of transparency and information was just right.”

What about the social activities?

“As stated before, webinars focused on training and competence along with the very popular CEO-monthly meetings, have become a natural part of our communication strategy, and we will continue doing these activities even when things have gone back to normal. Other social activities, for instance online Kahoot quizzes and outdoors exercise such as Mountain Bike racing, running and golfing have been introduced in some regions as well. But we are also now initiating Regional Covid-safe get-togethers in smaller groups, to enable some, long awaited, physical social interaction,” concludes Celina Streitzel, HR Manager in Germany.

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