Putting our people first

These are strange times indeed

I had never anticipated that my relatively new HR career would include dealing with a crisis of this magnitude. Yet, here we are! The individuals in my organisation continue to amaze me. They remain, in the face of adversity of the most epic proportions, a resilient, thoughtful and understanding bunch. Despite operating in IT, the industry that everyone needs now more than ever, we have not been immune to the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown at all organisations.

With a number of individuals on furlough and the entire organisation pulling together to enable us to get to other side of this safely, I can honestly say I have never been prouder of risual. The conversations we had during the furlough process were nothing but understanding, supportive and encouraging. We have seen people using the opportunity to develop and grow their existing skills ready for when things get back to ‘normal’ (whatever that means). Each conversation left me feeling more and more determined to do whatever required to keep hold of each of those individuals. After running some analysis on last year’s Best Companies data, I was not surprised that one of the most used words in the answers to the question “what makes your workplace great” was ‘people’. Our strength, our culture and our personality lies in our people, and we must protect them at all costs. Following on from this, our response to COVID-19 has been to put our people first.

One of the things we have done is to create the ‘risual Olympics’. In response to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games being postponed, we wanted to create a challenge that everyone could get involved in, whilst also championing the physical and mental wellbeing of our people. Everyone in the business is split into countries and competes in various events, such as pub quizzes, walking, cycling, reading books, watching films and many more. It is quite difficult for me to explain quite how competitive risualites are! The team captains speak to their teams on daily basis, encouraging them to try new things and, of course, reminding them to input their steps! We use Microsoft technologies to run this challenge, including a PowerBI dashboard where everyone can track their team’s points and a PowerApp to log their activities. Splitting the organisation into countries facilitates conversations between teams and individuals who otherwise may have little contact. Our aim is also to encourage individuals to try new things – with caps for the points for each event, people who compete in numerous different events will mostly likely score the most points. With no clear winner at the time of writing, we are excited to see who will nab the top spot!

As an organisation in the IT industry, you could argue that life in lockdown isn’t too different for most of the individuals at risual. I am keen to refute this claim. Even those individuals who are usually home-based within their roles are currently dealing with a myriad of extra challenges, including home-schooling, needy pets and social isolation (to name just a few). I must use this opportunity to call out the most powerful weapon in our arsenal, our leaders. risual is built on a coach and care approach, and this cascades down through each level of leadership and management. What we have found to be invaluable during this pandemic is that our leaders genuinely and unequivocally care about each and every member of their team. As a result, risualites are encouraged and supported, even more so in the face of challenges and adversity.

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