HR Post Covid
Having our employees in one room is “priceless”, says Synamedia
While the world may have gotten used to video calls and hybrid work models, you still can’t beat having the whole company together
“Working in a hybrid model was forced upon us but will now be our new norm,” explained Stavit Kavas, HR Director EMEA at Synamedia. “It will allow our employees the flexibility to work both at home and in the office and also allow us to use less office space than before.”
However, according to Kavas, the company is most eager to be able to have all company meetings face-to-face and team meetings where all employees are in one room. “It’s priceless,” she added.
Synamedia has joined CTech for its HR Post Covid series to share how the company pivoted during Covid-19.
Company Name: Synamedia
HR Leader: Stavit Kavas, HR Director EMEA
Field of Activity:
Synamedia is the world’s largest independent video software provider. The company's technology and products are trusted by over 200 TV broadcasters and content providers, including giants such as AT&T, Comcast, Disney, Foxtel, Rogers, Sky, Tata Sky, Verizon, Vodafone, and Israeli "YES".
Synamedia Israel R&D develops cutting-edge technologies for the video and streaming industry including video platforms with groundbreaking user experience, anti-piracy solutions and advanced advertising platforms.
Number of employees/location: Global company of 2,500 employees, with 1,000 in EMEA, 600 of them in Israel
Professional background of HR Manager:
I have been in the HR field for more than 20 years, worked in Telco’s, startups, food industries, and Hi-Tech (Amdocs, Partner, Strauss-Elite, JVP, then NDS/Cisco/Synamedia)
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?
In general, the pandemic did not disrupt the operations of the company, we are a global company so we’re used to working on video platforms like Microsoft Teams. The difficult part was moving away from working in the office to working and managing from home. Everyone had to go through a large mind shift and change in management style to make sure productivity remains high.
What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?
We hired more than 80 employees since the pandemic started. Our recruiting is mainly based on human interactions and less on tools. During the lockdown, we made sure that the candidate has at least one face-to-face interaction with their hiring manager and preferably on-site where they can see where they will be working. We found that was very important for the success of the hire. We put a lot of effort into our on-boarding experience during the pandemic. The employee’s first day of on-boarding was on-site so the employee gets to meet their manager and colleagues face-to-face. We make sure there is a mentor/peer to work with the new employee and have more touchpoints with them. We also ask to try to have cameras open in team meetings especially when there is a new hire in the team. HR also has interviews with new employees after 30, 60, and 90 days to check on how the employee is doing and how well the on-boarding has gone.
What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?
The outbreak increased employee engagement in a way that years of HR work would not have done. Being there for our employees, finding ways to support and to interact while away has proved to have immense value.
The increased engagement is obviously increasing the productivity and efforts of our employees and their strength to deal with what’s at hand. We have also recruited great talents during this outbreak and have changed some of our demographics (younger employees, more female talent) to reach our goal of increased diversity in technological positions.
What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?
Our biggest challenge is making sure our employees are managing their health and that the burnout rate is low while keeping productivity high. This long period of working intensely over the Teams platform and managing kids and families at the same time is taking its toll on people.
Another challenge is making sure we keep innovation and networking flowing between employees even when we are not together drinking coffee or chatting in the corridors.
In addition, we are moving to a new building after 17 years in our current building. It’s a huge mind shift for our employees as we are moving from closed offices to an open/team room floor plan. We have been investing lots of effort around this change, including the development of our hybrid work model, and actually, Covid-19 was helpful in the fact that we moved to a capsules/hybrid model even prior to the move to the new building.
Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?
We currently have many open positions. We hire a very large percent of our new employees through our employee referral program, an employee who refers a friend gets $1,500-$2,000 for a candidate that is hired. We also do a lot of sourcing through LinkedIn.
We can be found on our careers website and also on LinkedIn.
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?
Working in a hybrid model was forced upon us but will now be our new norm. It will allow our employees the flexibility to work both at home and in the office and also allow us to use less office space than before. I’m most eager to be able to have all company meetings face-to-face and team meetings where all employees are in one room. It’s priceless.