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A Whole New Type of HR: Taking Care of Employees in a Pandemic

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By Ronit Margulies on March, 17 2021

Covid-19 brought many changes for companies across the world, especially for HR departments that focus on communication and wellbeing. This month CTECH sat down with our HR team to discuss how BreezoMeter adjusted to a new normal in the year of the pandemic.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?

Overall the experience was surprisingly smooth as we evolved into a remote working situation. This was true both within the active recruitment process as well as when it came to the adjustment of current employees to a work-from-home setting.

For our current team, we were able to quickly adapt to the situation by providing support both in terms of flexible work means and hours, as well as providing physical equipment for an office-like setting at home.

The one thing that was disrupted and remains missing, is that there has been far less face-to-face interaction on a daily basis. Something which inherently boosts morale and collaborative work.

In regards to recruitment, we put a high emphasis on culture and finding the people that complement the company’s DNA. We look for team players, self-learners, positive, humble people that will go to battle with us when needed. We are a unique startup in the Israeli tech ecosystem because we are the only data platform tracking air pollution at a hyperlocal level with an accuracy that is relevant to protect people’s health in all cases. Our technology is the basis, and the right people are key. For example, we look for the top of the top for our multidisciplinary R&D teams, which include environmental engineering, atmospheric science/science, software, algorithms, ML, models, big data, but we also look for candidates who are driven by a bigger mission whether that be environment-related or they are motivated to help improve the lives of millions.

So as you can imagine this could have been a challenging feat to overcome with video interviews. But I have to say that we successfully managed to see the candidate for who they are, even via zoom, and were able to interview and recruit candidates that are passionate about what they’re doing.

Regarding business operations and growth during the pandemic, Covid-19 affected the air we breathe so we were at the center of consumers’ health concerns as well as the concerns of our partners’ consumers. Over the course of the past year, we have seen a growing demand for BreezoMeter’s data by businesses and end-users.

What interesting technological tools did you use for employee management/recruitment?

We are currently implementing an HR system that will improve all of the employee management processes. For example, automating processes across the employee lifecycle within the company, from onboarding to evaluation performance, training, and more. We will also introduce recruitment tools to increase efficiency as we follow the progress of a candidate, from CV to hire.

What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?

Employees discovered their families and themselves anew and quickly identified a newfound balance between family and work, which affected their private time and career in the positive. They also saved time on commuting to work which they were able to invest in themselves and time with their family.

On the other hand, the social interaction was minimized drastically and mostly only through Zoom. These important ‘small things’ characteristics that come with office life, including hallway chit-chat, water cooler conversations if you may, were removed from their lives and its absence was felt across the board.

What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?

The face-to-face interactions with employees have dramatically decreased, something that I believe is critical for working relationships and an employee’s connection to the company. This in itself meant that a whole new type of HR communication had to be invented to overcome any potential gaps in the level of belonging and commitment that any single employee was to experience.

Another challenge that stemmed from the above was trying to organize activities within the Covid-19 guidelines at the different periods of lockdown and throughout. However, we took advantage of Zoom and got creative with the types of activities that brought us “together” and in line with our mission. There were times that even when we were allowed to meet in person, we had to break the company into capsules, where each employee only saw half of their team members. Like any family unit, we missed each other, this is hard in any form.

Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?

We are indeed actively recruiting and have many open positions across departments. We invite job seekers to visit our continuously updated careers page to see if there is a relevant position, and even if not, we ask those who are eager to join the BreezoMeter team to reach out, new positions are added all the time.

Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?

We are eager to first and foremost move past the challenges that the distance and the pandemic has forced upon us. As soon as we have been allowed, and under the guidance and restrictions of the government, we opened the offices for those who were eager to be in the setting, working side by side with their colleagues.

But in order to keep the newfound freedom employees have discovered by successfully working remotely and a new work-life balance that has positively contributed to the lives of people globally, we will be offering a hybrid work structure wherein each employee can decide when he will work from home and when he will work from the office.

That being said, we are all excited for the moments we once took for granted, like sitting at lunch with the team, having a coffee at the cafe next to the office, basically experiencing each other in the live, little moments that working together affords us. It has been missing from all our daily schedules and I myself cannot wait to get back to that normal.

Original text published in CTECH - https://www.calcalistech.com/ctech/articles/0,7340,L-3898093,00.html

 

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