What has the pandemic taught top management teams?

The pandemic has been an extremely instructive process and we have all learned a lot. The first thing we learned was that the most important thing in life is health. Actually, it was always important; however we didn’t realize it unless we were sick. People who are fighting really important diseases have -unfortunately- been ahead of all of us in this regard.

It was a learning process also for managers and leaders. In a world where everything has changed overnight, it has not been easy to manage the process, to stay strong, or even continue to inspire others. We have had losses, been ill, afraid, rebelled, and some of us have experienced burnout syndrome due to different reasons.

We have compiled for you the comments of managers from different companies on the topic:

New channels to connect

Business leaders and employees alike, we all had to adapt to working remotely, away from the office, and away from our colleagues. But as business leaders, we had to make sure that while we were being physically apart, we remained closely connected. We found new ways and new channels to connect with individuals, both at work and home,” 

Jason Jameson, SVP & General Manager, APAC at HERE Technologies

Trust and collaboration

“We’ve recognized that the pandemic has blurred the already fuzzy line between work and home life. Creating enough space for people to confidently manage work while balancing their unique circumstances at home has been very important to us and drives many decisions. We have trusted our employees from Day 1 of the pandemic; in my view, it was the only approach for us to take and it has benefitted all of us.

As we navigate these ongoing challenges, there has been one constant in our many successes: collaboration. Doing business during a pandemic has required deeper collaboration between our diverse teams, customers, and community.”

John Fennelly, President and CEO of Lionbridge

Being Chief Culture Officer

“The top four areas where I believe CEOs need to focus in the current environment are Leading talent, Setting strategy, and championing Culture and Vision. Attracting and retaining talent in a tight labour market is at the top of our list of strategic priorities. It is about infusing purpose, about showing empathy – especially in current times, and about enabling personal growth. I also see the role of the CEO evolving more and more towards being the Chief Culture Officer. It is about creating the right conditions for our people to unleash their superpowers!”

Véronique Özkaya, CEO of Argos Multilingual

Sustainability

“Sustainability was already high on our agenda before the COVID-19-crisis. We are part of an industry that impacts the environment. It’s important that we keep that impact as low as possible. As a family-owned business, sustainability is part of our DNA. Our decisions need to have a positive long-term effect. That goes hand in hand with sustainability. If we have two investment options with each the same return on investment, we always choose the most sustainable one.”

Hannelore Raes co-CEO of Agristo

2022 The Year of the Caregiver

“Following the stress and burnout frontline health care workers have experienced during the past two years, many of us have declared 2022 the year of the caregiver. Healing and rebuilding our workforce are paramount and we’re investing to make that happen. New workforce-centred mental health programs create safe spaces, and we offer free counselling for caregivers and their families plus a range of other supportive services. Human resource strategies include inspiring and developing our people through recognition, referral and recruitment bonuses, fair and equitable pay, predictive hiring and scheduling, and tuition reimbursement. We are recruiting in new ways, and I believe non-profit health care offers deep meaning that attracts and keeps clinicians and other workers.”

Dr Rod Hochman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Providence

CEOs are human too

“The people you are leading have big expectations of you. They want you to be perfect and often forget that you are human. But the more human you are with them, the more trust and empathy they lend to you. They understand you better. That gives you the ability to do so much more, as people give you the benefit of the doubt.”

Alain Bejjani, CEO of MAF

Self-assess

“Ultimately, my job is to give energy, empowerment, and vision to the organization. If I’m down, I’m not really using the only asset I have as a leader. And I have bad days like anybody else. I tell my leaders, ‘You need to self-assess so you know what you’re good at, and double down on that in your own leadership.”

Hans Vestberg, Verizon Communications CEO

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