Pandemic-Driven Shifts To Our Ways Of Working: An Accelerated Path To Digitalization
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25 March, 2021

Having an agile, diverse, expert team able to achieve our goals, now and in the future, has always driven our approach to talent at our company. As a dispersed team working across countries, we were already used to collaborating on projects in cross-functional teams and working across time zones with video-conferencing tools. Yet, the pandemic thrust all our team members into uncharted territory. Over the last 12 months, we have seen accelerated changes in how we work together. We have continued to evolve our ways of working in readiness for the "new normal" and increased digitalization ahead.

Talent Attraction During Lockdowns

Our team grew by over 25% during 2020, and for the first time, we conducted entirely virtual recruitment processes, with candidates completing interviews and deciding to join the company without meeting their managers in person or seeing office environments.

There are various steps you can take to enact something like this:

  • Roll out remote interviewing skills resources and unconscious bias training for all managers, ensuring interview panels are diverse, engaging more team members in the process.
  • Use more video resources and testimonials to bring your culture to life.
  • Work hard to ensure everyone — team members and candidates — are confident with the process and given equal opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.
From New Joiner To Team Member

Onboarding has always been an important step in welcoming new team members and setting them up for success. We reviewed every aspect and touchpoint in the onboarding journey to make knowledge transfer, information-sharing and ongoing, open communication as simple as possible. Centralizing and simplifying the resources and touchpoints within the teams and intranet really helped, and introducing a more formal buddy system, alongside our mentoring program, has given new joiners an additional level of support while strengthening our culture.

Well-Being And Remote Working

From the outset of remote working, our leadership team has consistently stressed the importance of working where you feel safe and productive. For nearly everyone, that meant working remotely all the time. Everyone was offered office equipment — chairs, tables, monitors, keyboards, printers and even lamps — to ensure they had a functioning home-working environment, along with an online display screen equipment (DSE) assessment.

In order to do this, you must be focused on every team member's well-being: mental, emotional and physical. Some ways you can do this include the following:

  • Send out regular well-being surveys to inform the actions taken to support team members across geographies dealing with varying degrees of lockdown conditions.
  • Keep your team connected through "coffee" sessions, daily team check-ins and more frequent all-ands calls.
  • Invite family members to join video conferences with external speakers and a plethora of Zoom activities (from quizzes to cocktail and pizza-making sessions).
  • Establish a company "gym" with live yoga, Pilates and fitness sessions, as well as desk yoga and mindfulness lessons.
  • Conduct regular mental health webinars, confidential counselling and facilitate workshops on healthy remote working and work-life balance.
A Journey To Digitalization

Our working rhythms changed over the course of the year. We continuously made adjustments to our ways of working to ensure our team could adjust to these changes and, beyond that, to allow our company to evolve as a digital business. We redesigned our intranet to build a strong digital hub with a continuous flow of information and updates, and we adopted the use of new systems and communication tools. Our learning and development pivoted to facilitated online delivery and we rolled out chairing skills training to help people manage meetings in an inclusive way in a virtual environment.

We’re building an ecosystem where team members will make the most of their time together in an office — to connect and collaborate, but also enjoy the benefits and advantages of being able to work remotely several days per week.

The key to this journey to digitalization is to rely on your team member's "owner's mentality," allowing them to make responsible decisions about where and how they feel most productive. This will help you deliver stronger culture and more united team.



Joern Hackbarth

EVP, Global Head of Engineering and Construction, Sonnedix, overseeing the design and construction of assets for global solar PV platform.

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