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In Times of Extreme Change - People Services Lead Digital and Cultural Shifts in Operations.

Justin Hassall, Transformation Director, Informed Solutions

None of us can escape the daily reminder of the extreme times of change now upon us. Organisations have split their people between office and remote-working and the vast majority have entered 100% remote working territory.  The importance of taking on a new operational mind-set and quickly shifting to remote collaboration as organisations, both in running business as usual activities for colleagues, but also for delivery of service to clients is critical.

Changes to working culture and corporate thinking has shifted, literally overnight – with activities, processes and operational models being tested as never before.  The ability of whole organisations to embrace new ways of working and innovative delivery of service will make a huge difference over the coming days, weeks and months.

With a rich pedigree in designing and delivering the digital services that are used by millions of people every day, we are perhaps in an enviable position given the current chaotic circumstances.  That being said, the move towards full remote working for operational teams without loss of productivity is a daunting one for any organisation, especially given the immediate and urgent need for change and transformed of ways for working.

At Informed Solutions, our People Services team (we don’t like the term HR as we see our colleagues as much more than resources) has been a central leader in quickly and effectively creating the awareness for change, and helping the whole organisation develop full remote working plans within a matter of days.  The behaviours of our leadership team, who have previously navigated turbulent times, and our younger team members, who have shown great resilience despite experiencing such chaos for the first time, have acted as transformative agents, showing the whole organisation a way forward with positivity, practicality, support and encouragement.

From building individual plans for each team member that allow everyone to fulfil their roles and responsibilities on behalf of colleagues and clients alike, to working with our technical teams to test and ensure our global collaboration backbones and tools remain strong and stable, the collaboration between all service groups - led by people services, has ensured we can continue to deliver the high quality services our clients expect.

With systems and processes in place, and with tools and technology to support business as usual in very unusual times (and yes, we do certainly miss the physical face-to-face collaboration), the challenge now transfers to wider company leadership with regard to supporting teams in remote settings both from an operational and team well being perspective, ensuring business and improvement initiatives continue and that learning and development remains a core focus, rather than sitting in a holding pattern until a break in COVID-19 cloud cover.

Now, communication and collaboration has taken centre stage, with our teams shaping and improving the way they relate to each other, drawing on our full diversity in skills and talent, and adapting and shaping communication based on fully remote ways of working.

Understanding that we are all in this together, that strength of character, positivity and resilience are key behaviours for stability, development and growth during the coming months has been a key driver for our effective People Services-led shift in working practices in this time of uncharted change.

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