HR Post Covid
eBay: “We see Israel as a strategic location for talent”
The online shopping giant may have 13,000 employees around the world, but what value did the Israel unit bring during a global pandemic?
“eBay sees Israel as a strategic location for talent,” explained Inbar Brilant, whose role at eBay has two parts. The first is as HRBP for the global tech organization, partnering with senior executives in the U.S and Israel. Her second role is leading the organization’s development process.
“The Israeli site has increased its headcount by 25% during this year alone,” she noted. ”The growth was especially prominent in tech disciplines such as software development, product, and research.”
For this entry of HR Post Covid, Brilant shares how eBay, which is a global company enjoyed by millions around the world, fosters a strong community of Israeli talent who help serve the millions of SMBs impacted by Covid-19.
Company Name: eBay
HR Leader: Inbar Brilant
Field of Activity: E-commerce
Number of employees/location: 300 in Netanya, Israel
Professional background of HR Manager:
I have 15 years of professional HR experience at tech companies. I've spent eight years in HR business partner roles. My role in eBay is dual: HRBP for global tech organization, partnering with senior executives in the U.S and Israel, and also leading the organization development process. The other aspect of my role is being HR site lead for the Israeli location. I rejoined eBay almost three years ago. I worked for the company in the past as an EMEA recruiter lead and left to pursue an HRBP role. eBay has a great culture, which along with amazing career opportunities, made me come back. Prior to eBay, I worked as a recruiter at Microsoft R&D. My career actually started in a recruitment agency.
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?
eBay demonstrated growth performance in all aspects during the past year. Our research and development teams constantly adjusted our services and products to the needs of SMBs, who were going through a rough period, and helped them grow.
Company policy during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic dictated that most of the work should be done from home. Despite that, the results show that the productivity of our teams and the quality of our products were not damaged, and even improved to some extent.
This situation has shown us that even after 25 years, eBay is still one of the most popular platforms in the world.
What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?
eBay has around 13,000 employees worldwide. We have developed internal tools and methodologies to ease the flow of information and staff management that helped us cope with the new working conditions.
In addition, eBay has developed a special online employee hub to provide its employees with all the recent information, company news, social updates, and worldwide events.
What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?
eBay was able to adapt and provide small businesses with the knowledge and tools to transform their businesses online when the economic crisis hit. The company has positioned itself in a high place among the global and local communities by helping new sellers to find their way online and keep their businesses alive in a turbulent business environment, in which many companies collapsed.
eBay sees Israel as a strategic location for talent. During 2020, it has attracted great people, who started working at eBay centers around the world, including the R&D site in Israel. The Israeli site has increased its headcount by 25% during this year alone. The growth was especially prominent in tech disciplines such as software development, product, and research. This expansion enables us to create significant business diversity (such as Seller, Buyer, and Structured data) and career opportunities for our employees. It also helps to attract new talent.
What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?
eBay is growing dramatically these days. We are hunting for top talent in a very competitive landscape. We are building new teams and hiring in large quantities. The concept of remote management is new to many companies across the globe, and the future of the workplace is a challenge we are all facing.
The pandemic has substantially changed the way companies hire candidates and connect them to the spirit and vibes of the organization after onboarding, and eBay is no different.
At the very early stages of the pandemic, we decided that our offices will be closed until June 2021, at the very least. This decision forced us to handle the challenges of hiring and onboarding new talent in ways we never experienced before, and these are the two main challenges we are facing right now.
Gladly, we have a strong and talented team that quickly reacted to the changes, and these days, almost a year into the pandemic, I believe we are able to provide candidates and new employees, not just a pleasant welcoming experience but also growth opportunities and a great culture.
The process includes full onboarding: a welcome by the team manager, online round tables for meeting with the team, and more. We provide large-scale welfare activity, including themed packages on a monthly basis, with special activities designed to make everyone feel a part of the team, despite lockdowns and social distancing, and the fact that there's no common physical place for the employees to gather in.
One of the main challenges companies face these days is helping employees maintain their work-life balance and wellbeing. eBay puts a lot of effort into promoting initiatives to enhance such balance, such as flexible working hours, an inclusive culture which sees the employee’s needs by providing special "care allowance", and providing employee care programs. Last year, the company launched a "parental leave" program for non-birth parents - 12 weeks of fully paid leave to support family life.
Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?
Yes, we are definitely recruiting these days. eBay is growing globally and locally. We expect to open over 40 new positions in addition to the 20 that are already open. We are after Applied Researchers, Senior Frontend Engineers, Senior Product Manager, and Software Engineers (Java).
During these challenging times, we aim to be as flexible as possible with the interview schedule, and we try to create the best candidate experience.
You can find our open positions at https://jobs.ebayinc.com/search-jobs?k=netanya, and also check our Facebook page to get a feel for the company vibe.
The work of the R&D center in Israel is very significant to the global team. We are constantly building and hiring teams at the Israeli site to support the global products and provide for the needs of eBay's customers.
Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?
We have been working from home during the past year and will continue to do so at least until June 1st, 2021. We are waiting to see what the world will look like after the pandemic. At the moment, I can't really predict anything with accuracy, and as we've seen, the situation is somewhat volatile and can change from week to week. I can say that remote work is here to stay, one way or the other. Flexibility will be required and can be managed. Everyone is different and has different needs and wishes in regard to their workplace.
The last year has been a challenging one, but it also taught us that working from home can be as efficient as working from an office. We, and probably the rest of the world, are trying to figure out how our working environment will look like when the pandemic is over, but since the coronavirus is still here, it is still too early to draw conclusions. I believe it will take some time to fully understand the effects of this new world order.