The pandemic has become a reason of rearrangement of work, responsibilities and resources in different organizations. Sona Manucharyan, the head of HR department of IDBank speaks about arrangement of work in the new reality.
It is already 5 months since the organizations of our country work remotely. What kind of difficulties creates remote working and what are its advantages?
Starting from announcement of state of emergency IDBank has accomplished rearrangement of the work: only in a few days, more than 50% of our workers have been provided with necessary technical support and I have to say that the transition was so smooth that we did not face any difficulties. It is already 5 months since we started working remotely and I will mention gladly that any working process didn’t stop, many strategic projects of the Bank have been launched, moreover, when necessary, we have fully provided replacement of the infected or self-isolated workers. The Bank has provided the necessary equipment for maximum protection to the workers who have been working from the Bank. Unfortunately, as everywhere, we also had cases of infection, but the infected employees have been paid the way they would in case of going to work. In case of self-isolation too, the employees did not suffer financially.
Moreover, as you know, the procedure for calculating social payments defined by the RA Law on Funded Pensions has been changed, and the Bank decided to compensate the social payments of the employees: this means the Bank will pay the amounts set by the new rates of pension allocations, and our employees will not suffer financially.
Any of the employees were not in outage, we did not have layoffs in the Bank, the flow was kept at about 3%, which is a great indicator and it proves that the employees feel comfortable and the employer gives them psychological and financial confidence.
Anyway, remote work can cause difficulties: how are they solved in IDBank if they exist?
As I have already mentioned, it is 5 months since we work remotely: you see, if it were one or two weeks or a month, it would be hard to rate the remote work from the angle of both employees and employer. However, 5 months is a sufficient period to realize our new working conditions and rate its efficiency. As the HR department is also responsible for the psychological climate of the organization, we have conducted a survey a few days ago and found out that the main concern of the employees is the lack of communication: many of them mentioned that taking into account the positive sides of the work in our team, the warm atmosphere and active work life, they have really missed their colleagues. This is why we currently work to set such mechanisms that will give opportunity to organize remote meetings between the employees and events to fill the gap in communication at least partially, until it becomes possible to organize big team events. Nevertheless, I have to mention also, that even during remote work, we do not forget our employees’ birthdays, their success and progress; as always, we have surprised our employees’ kids on June 1 with gifts, this means we do everything as an employer to keep all the happy moments of work.
At the same time, I will mention that we did not have any shortcomings in working contacts: all the meetings and briefings are organized online, we continue launching the planned projects and there is an opinion that remote working made possible accomplishing more projects, taking into account the flexible working hours.
Let’s talk about projects: what kind of news do you have now?
We have mentioned many times, that IDBank comes up with educational initiatives, and the senior students ask when the new stage of the program “Build your career with IDBank” will be launched, as they have friends who have joined our team thanks to this program. I have to mention gladly, that we have already launched the new stage, regardless of the state of emergency. Keeping the anti-epidemic rules, organizing shifts and favorable conditions for trainings, at this moment 11 students pass the practical stage in different branches of the Bank in the frame of “Build your career with IDBank” program, and very soon the theoretical classes stage will start remotely. After finishing the trainings, the students who don’t have working experience will join our big team, which was replenished with more than 40 employees during the epidemic, as we continue the processes of extension, digitalization and automation. The remote involvement of employees was added in our culture, we have employees who have started the work remotely.
The list of digital services is expanding: and on which stage are the processes of the internal digitalization?
That’s right, IDBank is known as an innovative and digital bank and we are sure that digitalization must be implemented not only for the clients but also for the employees. This process assumes finishing the creation of the working portal, which meets the international standards. The working portal will give an opportunity to our employees to keep up with the news and all the events held in the Bank; Bank products and internal legal acts needed for the work will be introduced here in a simple way. Blogs, vlogs and many other interesting subsections will operate for our employees that will fill their working hours. This will fill the gap in the communications, which was mentioned by the employees in the survey, as it will give a great opportunity to share their thoughts about personal and working topics on one platform.
Giving importance to the development and qualification of the employees, the Bank also works to create an educational center that will have online version too. Thanks to the online portal, the employees will have opportunity to be qualified not only in the Bank but also on the online platform. I believe that this will be a great tool for the continuous development of the employees for this period by giving an opportunity to find the necessary courses for their professional growth and development in one place and pass the educational process in a convenient time.
Other tools of the HR department are being digitalized too, including involvement and working components, which will significantly affect the efficiency of the work and will save time and resources.
Let’s go back to the epidemic or the conditions directed by it. As the head of HR department, which important features you will mention? What kind of requirements shall meet the employee to work remotely? How do you choose your employees, and have HR approaches changed?
We have published a material on our website in the beginning of the epidemic, where we gave 10 advices to our candidates to prepare for the remote interview. The first impression from the meeting with the potential employer is the most important; especially in case of remote interviewing, it is more binding, as it continues to stay the most innovative approach for our society.
In the advices, we have mentioned the most important precondition, which was preparing for the interview: to know about the employer, to realize the professional features required from the vacancy and to be able to introduce well the successes and the experience. Of course, during remote interview one must be sure about the technical equipment for the smooth meeting.
The remote work didn’t have this kind of spread in our country in the past, and as an employer, we realize very well that to get used to this model both employees and directors need time and new skills. It is important to have working regimen so even working from home, the employee can organize the balance between the family/personal life and work.
It is important to have the same approach to the work, to make right connections with the colleagues and keep the personal and working relationships, be ready for a flexibility and the most important, to concentrate on the results of work and success.