Business and pandemic: the lessons to learn

May 19, 2021

Coexistence with the pandemic – insights from an IT organisation.

It has been more than a year since COVID-19 hit hard on every aspect of people’s lives – well-being, social interaction, and livelihood. We will try to share the practices we developed over the COVID period: how, being inventive and bold enough, to conquer the waves of change and benefit from digitising business operations.

Concerns VS reality: Global Mediator’s takeaways

Like the rest of the corporate world, a year ago Global Mediator was first appalled by the onset of the pandemic and its accelerating pace. Since flexibility, responsiveness, and experience of managing in a crisis have always been the company’s strengths, we were relatively well prepared to respond to such a massive disruption.

Looking back at waking up in the Teams online reality, we can now consider how the backbones of the organisation – strategy, operations, solution delivery, and talent management – faced and adapted to the challenge.

Strategy

Adapting our strategic posture to new business requirements and digitising activities became our major focus with the virus outbreak. We have always been a rather agile, hands-on, and pragmatic organisation. Yet, throughout the year, we intensified our customer-centric focus by adding more scheduled status reports, meetings, and discussions, in the format required by the new circumstances.

Given COVID-19 issues, we are more than ever open-minded and attentive to the customer requirements. At Global Mediator we thrive on helping customers mediate the space between people, skills, know-how and technology that enable them to execute best in class business processes – while this has not changed, the work we needed to do to continue to be successful was adjusted.

“You need to keep a strong focus on your strategy – the core “why” you initially started your business around is what your customers see. Keep that in mind in a time of crisis and execute on your deliverables. If you are too preoccupied with getting short term revenue, it might hurt your team and you do not need an extra burden on them during a crisis.”
Christian Holst-Jensen, CEO at Global Mediator

Conclusion: to remain a reliable partner, businesses must carefully balance between the running projects and the new developments, stay agile and resilient despite the time of uncertainty.

Business and pandemic: the lessons to learn
Coexistence with the pandemic – insights from Global Mediator

Operations

When the world just started to grasp the impact of the pandemic, it was vital not to get swept away by the fear of changes and try to work with the situation in the best conceivable way. Specifically, stay focused on the well-being of the operations and trust your team members to support your customers in the process.

“Do not be afraid of change – standing frozen is not an option. You will be overtaken by challenges if you do not change and advance. Change is the only constant.”
Nicolai Krarup, COO at Global Mediator

The pandemic did not really change Global Mediator’s direction that much as we are still pushing the boundaries of businesses. After all, making companies more resilient and tech-savvy is on our daily agenda. Global Mediator continues to drive further into applications that support business processes and in addition to expanding our Business Central development centre of expertise, we also expanded our activities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM customization projects along with emerging technologies like Power Platform.

The pandemic did redirect our professional growth, changed the way we work and connect – even the way we write messages. It deprived us of spontaneous meetings, social events and work discussions over coffee, the essential aspects of our corporate philosophy. That pushed us to develop an internal HR portal using the Microsoft Power Platform to build a strong online community and preserve our authenticity and culture online.

Conclusion: setting up and empowering autonomous teams to impact the solutions instead of using micromanagement is crucial and effective even for remote operations.

Delivery

The physical disconnection did not derail the solution delivery processes due to the task-based communication with the customers. However, not being co-located with teammates has been a major upheaval for people who enjoy each other’s company. Team members needed support and care, and the mission was to find new points of contact to stay aligned with the teams and facilitate the work from home.

Despite the drastic change in working norms, the processes are up and running now since the teams have acclimatized to the ongoing situation. Video calls, which initially felt awkward, are now customary practice, along with effective digital webinars, desktop sharing, online demonstrations and customer presentations.

“Many team activities are now more seamless due to automation via MS Teams plugins and integrations. Thus, the remote mode does not stop Global Mediator from delivering the solutions on time, as well as from the virtual coffee breaks, team buildings and chats.”
Evgeny Buriak, Delivery Director at Global Mediator

Conclusion: establishing effective two-way communication, providing tools for remote work, trust and care make the team members more contented, task-oriented, and productive.

People

COVID fundamentally altered our HR operations. Over the past year, our talent management team has revised the approaches to onboarding, learning, offboarding along with many other activities. The new corporate portal makes it easier to communicate the company’s values and ideas and manage various HR processes. Yet, we still found that it was important for us to assign a full-time community manager to ensure that our enhanced digital community stayed energised.

“Making steps into the unknown was stressful. The challenge for talent management was to adapt to the changing environment and assist others in doing so.”
Olesya Lukyanenko, HRM at Global Mediator

Conclusion: well-being lectures, soft skills marathons and hard skills training need to be regularly organised to keep the ever-curious teams involved and updated. Team members need to have flexible schedules to balance work-life time. For those, who critically need to work from the office occasionally, the office must be available.

To be continued…

It is becoming increasingly clear that we have crossed the point of no return once the COVID had turned the world upside down. Global Mediator stayed focused on the customer and team member needs while setting up a suite of remote processes to support the business in the future. Nevertheless, the future hybrid ways of working will require more research, development, and implementation to solve the complex puzzle of the long-term impact of the pandemic on working life.

“We adjust to the new requirements of working life, working to find new ways to maintain our culture and values. Curiosity, humility and authenticity have gained even more importance as we onboard people, turn the offices into co-working spaces, while encouraging people to be flexible, initiative-taking, and inquisitive. For us, it is simply a new reality.“
Nicolai Krarup, COO at Global Mediator

We are now certain of one thing: even if the coronavirus disappears or is tamed, it will leave a lifelong imprint. Hybrid work blurred geographical boundaries and new lines between the traditional methods of operation are here to stay. We seek to maintain a helicopter view of the new landscape around us, react timely to change, and plan for a future that we are not sure anybody will fully understand. What do you do?

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