A focus on employee engagement
2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways – certainly when it came to employee engagement. The impact of the global pandemic forced us to think and act differently when connecting with our people, who spent most of the year largely working from home. Working from home impacts different people in different ways, depending on their personal circumstances and our business needs. It therefore demanded unexpected adjustments across multiple areas, and we invested in a variety of measures and initiatives to stay connected and keep morale high.
Staying connected in a COVID-19 world
How do we stay connected when we cannot get together in the usual ways? When the first lockdown measures came into effect across the EU, we introduced new ways to connect as a group, per country and per functional area. We launched regular “All-Company” and team update calls, we ran webinars related to the pandemic, and held Redevco-wide fun events such as pub quizzes. We also offered online team-building games to stimulate informal fun among colleagues, and a company-wide online event in January to ring in the new year.
At a local and team level, we increased the number of ‘virtual check-in moments’ and organised many online initiatives such as baking competitions, drinks & coffee meetings, wine-tasting events, cookie decorating sessions, secret Santa gift-giving, scavenger hunts and more. Of course, we couldn’t meet people at our office locations. So, we regularly sent gifts, books and postcards to our colleagues’ homes, including flowers, ‘Keep in Touch’ Redevco macaroons, and sparkling wine for Christmas. In other words, the little things made a big difference this year. We also saw a surge in the use of Yammer as our informal communication platform, as we shared regular, light-hearted and informative updates, as well as interesting content through weekly ‘Tuesday Tips’ and ‘Thursday Thoughts’.
Although these efforts to stay connected were appreciated and scored highly in our May 2020 Pulse Survey, we saw a slight drop in November, 2020. Feedback suggested that this was an inevitable consequence of the prolonged period working from home that has been and that continues to impact organisations around the world, combined with no perceived “light at the end of the tunnel”. We still have plenty of initiatives in place to stay connected, and our people tell us that they feel it is their own personal responsibility to make use of all that is on offer.Moving forward, our greatest challenge will be to ensure that people truly switch off from work at the end of the day. This was highlighted as a challenge in the November 2020 Pulse, and we will continue to monitor this issue as working hours remain fluid.
A focus on health and well-being
The health and well-being of our colleagues has always been important to Redevco and is expressed through a variety of initiatives and benefits. Early in 2020, Redevco communicated its Health & Well-being vision with a particular focus on flexibility in time and place. You can read more about Redevco’s health & well-being vision in the case study at the end of this chapter. Our Working from Home Policy provides a personal budget to equip home offices – an offer that saw increased uptake this year. We further increased our spotlight on health & well-being by organising two ‘step challenges’ to keep people physically active during lockdowns. This was very effective in creating a new/better routine and offered a boost of energy and engagement to those involved. We also organised a webinar on the topic of mental health & resilience.
Our colleagues responded very positively to Pulse questions related to health & well-being.
Every six months we ask our people to share their feedback through 10-15 questions about Redevco in a short focused and anonymous survey. It is their opportunity to voice thoughts and ideas that can help shape and influence their own work environment/experience. The survey contains threeblocks; the Engagement Index, questions about our strategic priorities from the Board and Country- or Function specific questions from each local Management Team. The Engagement Index contains questions about pride and motivation and provides us with a single overall score that we can track over time, providing us with an engagement ‘pulse’.
Personal and professional development opportunities
2020 also saw an upgrade in our Redevco Skills Builder learning platform, emphasising both individual and team growth adapted to a virtual setting. We now offer online training courses in English, Spanish, German, Dutch and French, as well as quarterly learning time that allows all employees to take advantage of what is on offer. In addition, we offer a Team Effectiveness workshop as well as 1:1 coaching, which was very positively received by 23 colleagues. We are also collaborating with the Remote Leadership Institute to provide our managers and senior leaders with further training to support the transition to leading teams remotely.
Personal and team performance management
The 2020/21 performance year waschallenging when it came to setting meaningful annualobjectives. This was true for both collective and individual objectives due to the changing real estate landscape amidst the pandemic. We therefore decided to use shorter term goals and targets that would help everybody align through a period of crisis and uncertainty.We supplemented individual objectives with team goals. These reflected thetremendous demands placed on our teams, as well as the tremendous efforts our team members were making. They also helped to maintain team focus during the inevitable daily distraction.
Our >>FullSpeed2025 strategy
In October, we introduced our >>FullSpeed2025 strategy. This brought significant change to our organisational structure, as global functions took the lead as of January 1. We used a variety of communication techniques to inform and support people through this transition. These included one-to-one conversations with each employee, monthly ‘Full Speed’ update emails, all-company calls, and interactive follow-up meetings in smaller (functional) groups to address questions and concerns.
The November Pulse questionnaire asked if the key elements of our >>FullSpeed2025 strategy were clear. 85% indicated that they were extremely or somewhat clear. 85% also indicated that they understood why there was a need to create a faster, more agile way of working.All global functional heads subsequently kicked-off the new year with their teams through a strong sense of purpose and direction. They took the opportunity to define collaboration within and between the various functional areas, and then coached their team members through this change.
“The impact of the global pandemic forced us to think and act differently to connect, inform and engage our people, who spent most of the year largely working from home.”