Symbio (formerly MNF Group) is a global telecommunications provider with 400+ employees operating across five locations. Attracting new talent to a growing industry and building a strong, united growth culture was paramount for Symbio before the pandemic, but became especially important when the COVID-19 pandemic forced all of its employees into remote work. The company had to act quickly to find new ways to communicate with and connect its employees, while also providing stability during unprecedented times.
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Employee communications, employee benefits, employee reward and recognition, employee wellbeing, employee surveys
As a growing global company, Symbio was familiar with the challenge of connecting a dispersed workforce, with employees working in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, U.S., Canada and Singapore. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this challenge became even more difficult, and it was increasingly important that Symbio take new steps to keep its workforce safe, informed and productive through challenging circumstances.
Because the company transitioned to an entirely remote workforce at the start of the pandemic, leaders looked for innovative ways to connect employees, keep morale high and provide support amidst the uncertainty in the world. As the focus transitioned from crisis management to Business Continuity Planning, the People Experience Team used different tools and channels to help Symbio employees maintain long-term engagement.
Symbio launched its employee engagement platform, ‘Launchpad,’ several months before the start of the pandemic, so the company already had a strong foundation in place to help navigate the changes to the workforce. When COVID-19 began to impact how and where employees worked, the company put together a Business Continuity Planning team to work on a new engagement and support strategy. Many of the action items that came from these meetings focussed on providing employees with frequent, relevant communications to keep employees connected and informed while working remotely.
One of the first challenges Symbio faced was addressing the pandemic across different territories, each with different time zones, rules and restrictions amidst the crisis. The company’s first priority was to ensure that employees had one central place to find information, and encouraged immediate employee feedback. Employees were able to find all people-related information, crisis communications and surveys on Launchpad.
Emma Trehy, People Experience Manager from Symbio says “We’ve really seen how this investment has helped keep our people engaged because it’s allowed us to reinforce important messages, and provide reassurance and guidance. It gives us a channel to share important information and provide resources to make achievements and progress visible, and keep spirits up.”
Symbio also saw a need for a greater focus on employee wellbeing during this time of high stress, and saw an opportunity to use its existing reward and recognition tools to further improve connections and boost morale among its newly remote workforce.
The company decided to launch a COVID-19 information hub on Launchpad at the start of the pandemic, where employees could go to find current health updates, frequently asked questions and links to remote working policies and setup instructions. This helped to ensure that the information employees were reading related to the coronavirus was accurate and timely, and reduced stress and time spent searching through various sites to find relevant health information.
Emma says “One of the biggest advantages of having one place to house all of that was being able to reduce the number of emails going out and cut through the noise in people’s inboxes or instant messaging apps.”
Symbio also used the blog and survey tools to improve internal communications with its dispersed workforce during the crisis. The company published company-wide, and team- or region-specific blog posts to give people the most relevant and accurate information first, and used surveys to gather feedback from employees about their remote work needs to help the People Experience team plan for their return to workplaces.
Being able to segment information for employees in different teams or countries gave the People Experience team flexibility of tailoring messages for their global workforce, and the platform’s search function also meant employees could easily locate the information they needed.
Symbio also put a greater emphasis on reward and recognition, as the company encouraged people to log in to the platform to send eCards and use the Wellbeing Centre to support their mental and physical health. Employees engaged with the platform by responding and reacting to blog posts and eCards, and over the past three months, employee views and interactions have increased significantly.
“Having the eCards and social recognition wall on Launchpad means we can tap into the power of peer-to-peer recognition, all day and every day, for everyone,” Emma says.
Finally, the People Team wanted to send a care package to every employee to show their appreciation and provide financial support during tough times, so they decided to use the platform to send $100 vouchers to all employees.
“It made it all so much simpler for our team too — we didn’t have to organise delivery to all the different areas, and didn’t have to spend money on something that might not have landed for our people,” Emma says. “The response has been incredible.”
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