Insight’s people director on how to think outside the box

Some companies may have been slow to react to the pandemic - Insight lived up to its name

Insight’s people director on how to think outside the box

Marea Phillips was a little worried about some of Insight Enterprises’ team members when they were first forced to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phillips, the technology solution company’s director of people and culture for the Asia-Pacific, joked she still has concerns, but they are not the same as in March when the pandemic hit.

“Interestingly the team that had not traditionally worked from home in finance were the team that were most reluctant to go and it was the team I was most worried about,” Sydney-based Phillips told HRD.

“Three months later, I will need to bring them back kicking and screaming as they have come to enjoy the work life balance side of working from home and interestingly the ENPS for this team has increased considerably year-on-year.”

Insight, with global headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, and offices in Sydney, Auckland, Beijing and other cities across the Asia-Pacific, benefited from its international locations.

While some companies may have been slow to react to the pandemic Insight lived up to its own name with plenty of early insight into COVID-19.

“We had a head start in our planning process for lockdown in Australia,” Phillips said.

“We had supported our fabulous China team through the process in February 2020, so when we went into lockdown in Australia, we had already trialled every function working from home and had worked through any teething problems.”

Phillips said Insight’s managing director Mike Morgan’s message was clear from the onset: ensure the health and wellbeing of the team; shore up the business for 2021; and service Insight’s clients.

“The clarity and consistency of this direction helped evolve the HR plan as we moved forward,” she said.

“No leaders required a neck brace trying to work out which way we are going today.

“The plan was clear and communicated often.”

Insight, named in July as the sixth best place in Australia to work in the 2020 Best Places to Work Study, came up with plenty of ideas to keep connected with team members during the disruption.

“Thinking out of the box ideas included new forums including Monday Motivational sessions either with our leaders or through Ted Talks such as Simon Sinek or Brenee Brown,” Phillips said.

“We held Wednesday Wellness sessions on Growth Mindset, Mental Health for Men and Happiness and all teammates attended virtual Resilience workshops through an external provider ensuring they had some handy tools in their back pocket when times were tough.

“We also had our people leaders receive and attain mental health accredited training so they could look out for the signs of mental health fatigue.

“On the fun side we launched Living in Lockdown video competitions, we produced a cookbook where teammates entered a recipe, and we published the cookbook.

“We made sure that we involved families by providing a free fitness app to the teammates and for the little children we sent art activities to their home and then published a book of their artwork.”

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