Employee Benefits Reset 2020: TSB Bank and Charles Stanley have enhanced their technology strategies to ensure that employees are working effectively from home.
The session titled ‘Technology 101: Getting your tech strategy right for your employees’, which was chaired by Blair Pleasant, president and principal analyst at Commfusion, delved into integrating effective technology strategies for remote workforces.
Kate Griffiths-Lambeth group HR director at Charles Stanley and Konstantin Denishev, head of workplace technology at TSB Bank, who sat on the panel, discussed how their organisations introduced technology strategies to support their employees who made a shift to working remotely in March 2020. Denishev explained that Microsoft software was the most useful tool to support employees working remotely.
He said: “Introducing new software for us has always been about offering a simplified user experience to increase productivity and improve business performance. Integrating new tools to ensure that our workforce was able to access all of the information that they needed was the first step when introducing a remote-working policy.”
Additionally, Griffiths-Lambeth explained how using Webex’s video conferencing technology helped the organisation in simplifying the communication process, due to the ease of sending a message and seeing who is available. She said: “From March onwards, we have been able to step into the new world and embrace digital technology in a swift matter. Currently, one-to-one sessions, team meetings and training are all being successfully completed through technology software such as video calls or online courses. This has been a swift transition but it has proved to be a successful process so far.”
Going beyond technology, workplace culture is key to ensure that employees are adapting to the new digital world swiftly. Griffiths-Lambeth said: “Charles Stanley set up a digital community reaching out to employees working within the organisation, offering content, podcasts and informal interviews to support the workforce going through significant change.
“Creating this digital community was intended to help employees communicate and collaborate together during uncertain times. Developing this initiative online through video calls also helped, because you can have a sneak-peek into co-workers’ homes and learn more about the individual that you are sharing stories and advice with.”
To ensure that employees have everything that they need while working remotely, TSB Bank works closely with its HR learning and development team. Denishev said: “We try our best to help and support employees by at least providing them with the technology that is required for them to work remotely. Learning tools have been crucial in growing employees during this time, Yammer groups and support classes have been amazing in keeping everyone up to date and ensuring that everyone is engaged.
“It was fortunate that we already had a remote-working policy in place, so it was easy to further improve this when all organisations were asked to work from home where they could. Employees are able to access this training and development easily through one click, which has been vital in helping the workforce overcome this new working challenge that many organisations faced.”
Griffiths-Lambeth explained that many employees at Charles Stanley were worried about adapting to working with new technology, therefore, it was imperative to ensure that they were supported. She said: “We have done what we can to help individuals such as asking why they have problems. These were most apparent in the early days of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
“We found that the human brain had to work in a different way when working remotely, employees have also been forced to adapt to receiving more emails and messages all while working longer hours. It is important for organisations to realise this change in working pattern and encourage employees to consider their work-life balance.”
When Coronavirus lockdown restrictions were introduced for UK organisations, Denishev believed that many workforces struggled from meeting fatigue. He said: “Now that employees find themselves at home for an extended period of time, people were suffering from an overload in virtual meetings. Due to TSB Bank introducing Microsoft Teams, this drastically decreased this issue and improved collaboration.
“One of the lessons learned is the channels of communication needs to be narrowed. Ensuring that every employee is being communicated to in the right way is a key part of successfully working in the new digital world.”
Griffiths-Lambeth closed by reiterating how important training and support is when developing a technology strategy for employees: “Remember that everyone is not accelerating at the same speed, they will get there with the right training and development.”