The importance of team work and reacting quickly to protect people and jobs #HRtogether

Morag Ormiston is Group HR Manager for Seatronics, based in the UK.

Seatronics, part of the Acteon Group, has employees based around the globe with offices in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Aberdeen and Houston. Our commitment to our 120+ employees has been to react quickly to manage the safety and wellbeing of our staff. Having discussed the risks to our employees, we initially separated teams to those who could work from home and those who couldn’t.  Thereafter we put those who needed to work onsite onto shift rotations to maintain social distancing – when staff weren’t working, we paid them full pay.  For those working from home, we completed risk assessments and did an online webinar to discuss physical and mental health.

Protecting people and jobs despite falling revenue

The Government Job Retention Scheme then allowed us to consider long-term three-weekly shifts for those we needed to retain on the base; for those who could take a break from work, we furloughed to end June.  We know most employees have been impacted by the change in their routine and we value their contribution, whatever they can do to work right now is important to keep the business functioning.  We have seen a reduction in revenue across global bases which regretfully resulted in some redundancies and changes in pay. Overall we have done everything possible to protect the safety and security of our staff and we are very proud of our achievements to date.

We have had no employees with COVID-19 but several staff at the beginning whom were showing signs of coughs/colds; thankfully they all made a good recovery and our absence figures remain in line with previous years.  Support was offered to all staff by keeping in touch when they were absent and able to communicate.

The Fit for Life challenge

In order to support the physical and mental health of our employees, we have introduced our Fit for Life Challenge to allow staff to gather points for a variety of activities.  The programme is based on insights and evidence that such activities help cognitions and behaviours and is borne from psychological research. We have made this an inclusive programme to balance those with disabilities, mobility challenges, pressures of parenting and caring such that staff can flexibly contribute what they can.

Points are gathered for activities such as exercise, meditation, staying within a healthy calorie range, self-care, maintaining hobbies and learning new skills. In addition, we are encouraging staff to stay connected, drink non-caffeinated fluids, digital detox, good sleep, volunteering and gaining bonus points staying within 14 units of alcohol.  We are sending out information for staff to read plus links to online courses such that the passion for learning can be maintained too.

Two-way communication

Staff are keeping in touch by sending in pictures, chatting on Teams or calling in.  We are making good use of email and our social media pages are kept fresh.

Utilising information from CIPD, legal webinars, NHS, HSE. Mind and BBC have all been great sources of reliable information which has informed our practice.  We have also listened to what our employees want and need so there is two-way communication.

Overall, we are proud of our teamwork and we thank our staff for their ongoing commitment to maintaining our position in the market.

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