HR Director, Lucienne De La Mare reflects on the past year and shares some of the measures Sure have put in place to embrace the changing landscape of the work environment and support its employees.
As a provider of critical national infrastructure and a major employer in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, we understand the importance of supporting our employees and embracing technology to enable them to work flexibly, to improve their work-life balance and increase their happiness in the workplace.
Embracing flexible working
Following the swift transition into the first island-wide lockdown last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, we put measures in place for employees to ensure they felt supported and continued to be connected while working from home.
We’ve used Officevibe - a software that gives businesses the opportunity to ask important questions to their employees and gain feedback that can be acted upon - for some time now, and it was especially useful during lockdown. It helped us to communicate easily and quickly with staff and find out what was most important to them during this challenging time.
Using Officevibe has been hugely beneficial for our business; helping us to develop a collaborative workplace where people feel able to suggest improvements. We have seen employee satisfaction increase significantly since measures like Officevibe have been put in place and our engagement scores continued to rise during the high-pressure period of “lockdown”, signalling that employees were proud of the way the team handled the crisis. They knew from our messaging, and most importantly our actions, that at the forefront of all our decisions was the health and well-being of our employees. Regular communications went out to all staff providing tips on working from home, physical health, mental health and the health of their families. We also held virtual events to encourage some “down-time”, to have some fun and encourage social interactions however we could.
2020 provoked a sea change in working habits, and several studies carried out around the world show that a large portion of society are keen to work from home for at least some of the time once the world has recovered from the coronavirus pandemic. Officevibe feedback showed this was also the case at Sure following the return to our offices once the first lockdown was over.
Employees felt they had benefited from being more flexible and working from home. This evidence encouraged us to put a flexible working policy in place, enabling employees to manage their own time more efficiently to suit their individual work and home life needs. Some found this beneficial because they felt more productive later in the day and preferred to work around this, and others found the benefits in having more flexibility with family schedules.
Making the most of our experts
The pandemic has taken away some of the more traditional training opportunities that we’d normally encourage our employees to pursue, but we saw this as an opportunity to create new initiatives for our people. Once again following feedback, we saw an opportunity to make better use of the range and depth of skills we already have in Sure. This resulted in the launch of the ‘Train as One Team’ scheme.
The scheme has been in operation since summer 2020 and aims to give employees training through live sessions on Microsoft Teams run by their highly skilled colleagues, who have considerable specialised knowledge. So far, we have hosted two or three sessions per month and training has covered a range of technical topics - including the introduction to artificial neural networks and how Sure connects to the international internet, ethernet and voice networks - to more soft skills like time management and how to do appraisals. We are regularly encouraging our employees to share topic ideas and areas they feel they would benefit from extra training on, or topics that they would like to provide their own training on.
Giving staff the opportunity to gain this knowledge from their colleagues has been very valuable. Not only does learning in this way teach people new skills, it also improves their knowledge of other areas of Sure and how the business operates. We are very lucky at Sure to have such a huge range of experienced professionals in multiple areas of expertise across the jurisdictions we work in, and with the power of technology we can make this easily accessible to all. We have also archived all these sessions into a library so employees can revisit the training later or catch up if they miss a session.
It is clear after the year the workforce has experienced, not only in our jurisdictions but across the globe, that the working environment has changed, and many businesses will likely have made changes in order to continue operating under the strict rules and regulations. We know culture change is difficult, but it is also rewarding, and we can take some positivity from the way we have harnessed the opportunities of the past year to improve Sure as a place to work in the long term.
We are constantly looking to improve in the interest of our employees for their health, wellbeing and general happiness at work as our people are the heart of what we do. If you are interested in joining the Sure workforce, we offer a range of exciting career opportunities, from corporate and retail sales and customer support to engineering, product design and network design and consultancy.
Contact us to find out how we can help you
and your business today