As a company, Symphony has always strived to be in the loop with the latest global and local market shifts and challenges, adapt and successfully integrate processes to grow and evolve accordingly. Considering how adapting to change is our guiding principle, we aim to quickly respond, invest all the necessary resources, and provide the much-needed reassurance and guidelines to our employees. Sometimes, that can be a tough feat, but we always manage to push through by reassessing our growth opportunities while taking care of Symphony’s core - people.
We sat down with Enis Kudo, Head of People Operations at Symphony Bosnia and Herzegovina, to break down the journey of embracing shifts in life and work and finding the mechanisms to adapt successfully.
Taking Care of Our Community
“When we look back at our history, there were many moments when as a company we had to embrace the change and adapt our internal processes to continue fostering the growth we aspire to have in all aspects. Most recently, one enormous change that affected companies worldwide, not only us was the global pandemic” Enis begins.
The People Team in Symphony, among many activities that continuously monitor and evaluate the impact of the pandemic on employees’ attitudes, launched a straightforward survey. "The core of our motivations as a team when putting the survey together was to understand how people react to change, reshape our activities to fit their needs, and establish our place as enablers and support providers while adjusting to a shift that affected the entire globe." - Enis emphasized.
"Our team immediately started shifting from on-site processes to a more experience-based approach. It was crucial to establish support on all levels - individual, project, and company-wide."
Last year, more than 60 new people joined our community in Bosnia and Herzegovina along with branches opening in Tuzla and Banja Luka, despite all the extenuating circumstances. The adaptation to a new environment begins with the selection process through which The People Team gathers important information and builds individual profiles that help create optimal, personalized onboarding processes so as to make the transition as smooth as possible. In addition, it was essential to keep the documentation and guidelines much more precise and straightforward for people to understand and follow in the online format.
According to the survey, over 60% of our people felt more productive since the pandemic started. Collaboration, output, and productivity proved to be more concrete and on point while working online significantly reduced background noise. However, the line between work and personal life started to blur for some people and our team emphasized the importance of having a work-life balance and actively working on separating the two. As a company, Symphony invested a lot of time and energy into making this transition easy for people by providing them with all the necessary equipment for setting up a home office and being available for anything they might need.
It is important to mention some of the biggest challenges of the remote model - losing a sense of safety and the ability to socialize and connect on an emotional level. As the survey indicates, 83% felt Symphony provided support related to job security in critical moments. We shifted online and found certain mechanisms provided excellent efficiency in the digital format. One of those mechanisms was regular company-wide sessions held with major updates on a smaller and greater scale to show where we stand as an organization and alleviate that sense of uncertainty. Additionally, there were a number of online events focused on community and career development as two very important pillars for which we found ways to continue in the digital format.
As the survey results showed, 86% of the employees did not feel a negative impact on their connection with the company. In regard to this result, Enis pointed out - "One of our biggest challenges was to keep the people connected with their workplace and their colleagues. We pursued a more active role by organizing motivational workshops, online chats, sharing small gestures and gifts, support packages, online team buildings, and many more initiatives that kept the community spirit alive and made people feel in touch with each other. As a community-oriented company, this was the crucial task for us - to keep the same quality of support, output, and observation while providing safety and continually improving the employee experience."
The Engineering, Delivery, and People Operations Collaboration
Another factor that must not be overlooked is the triad system where Engineering, Delivery, and People Operations join forces in enabling employees to deliver and grow individually. This model gave fantastic results since it encompasses every aspect of the workplace. We equally invested our energy in output quality, career development, knowledge-sharing, new growth opportunities, and much more. This axis and a holistic approach have kept our retention rate very high in the previous year, and it speaks volumes about our approach to work and the results we bring.
Enis continued to explain - "Our next step is to further deepen our collaboration model where we spend more time together to recalibrate and further optimize our online interaction. Technology and its development play a crucial role in this adjustment, and it will become easier to identify and provide the much-needed emotional component. Our goal is to work on understanding and building the virtual Symphony identity by analyzing what binds people together to a place and transferring it to the digital platform. We introduced virtual practices that kept the social interactions active, and as time went on, some people naturally started coming back to the office. The physical space will always be there, but we managed to completely change and broaden the experience of socialization and development.”
Flexibility as Our Key Value
We asked Enis to take a step back and sum up the impressions of all changes we encountered - "As a company, I must say we always react quickly and give our best in crucial moments. We continually work on listening to our community and accommodating our value proposition program to the needs of our people and clients. We try to find ways to provide real value for our existing employees while successfully integrating new ones. We push forward, and there is no other way but up in these cases."
There is always space for improvement, but understanding the basic human psychological needs, combined with an agile approach and the willingness to change and adapt truly brought great results. "The paradigm rooted in the People team is to always strive towards becoming enablers rather than evaluators, especially when it comes to embracing change and what it brings. Everything we do is steered towards enabling people to be more self-aware, grow their personal and professional self, work more effectively, and give better results." - Enis concluded.