HR Post Covid

Nova adopted three simple rules during Covid-19 - what were they?

Not every company has the same tips and tricks when caring for their employees. Here’s how Nova managed throughout the pandemic

CTech 10:1310.03.21

Nova’s management understood at the start of Covid-19 that companies must behave differently and do it quickly and transparently to minimize the disruption to their business.


“We follow three simple rules,” explained the company’s Chief HR Officer, Sharon Dayan. “The first is safeguarding the safety and health of our employees, the second is ensuring business continuity, and the third is that once we have decided on a plan, we share it with our employees so everyone is on board.”


Nova’s Chief HR Officer, Sharon Dayan. Photo: Yoram Reshef Nova’s Chief HR Officer, Sharon Dayan. Photo: Yoram Reshef


According to Dayan, it worked. Nova has seen a 20% growth in the last year and is continuing that growth by hiring top talent from remote locations. The company joined CTech for HR Post Covid to share some of the ways Nova stayed strong through Covid-19.


Company Name: Nova Measuring Instruments


HR Leader: Sharon Dayan, Chief Human Resources Officer


Field of Activity: Process control for Semiconductors manufacturing


Number of employees/location: More than 700 around the globe, headquartered in Israel


Professional background of HR Manager:


I joined Nova in 2018 with diversified experience in all human resources disciplines including strategy, organizational and people development, M&A, and employee experience. Before that, I spent years in several senior global HR and corporate positions within global companies. My most recent position was in the role of SVP at Teva Pharmaceutical in the capacity of senior HR Business Partner. Before Teva, I served as Global Head of HR as part of Comverse management, responsible for all HR functions in the company. Before joining Comverse, I held multiple positions in Amdocs. From the academic perspective, I have a BA in Social Science from Tel Aviv – Jaffe college, an MSc. in Organizational Development from Tel Aviv University, and a Group Dynamics diploma from Tel Aviv University.


On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?


We understood very early in the pandemic that we must behave differently and do that fast and in a very transparent way to minimize the disruption to our business. We follow three simple rules: the first is safeguarding the safety and health of our employees, the second is ensuring business continuity, and the third is that once we have decided on a plan, we share it with our employees so everyone is on board.


For us – it worked! Nova’s performance over the past year has been inspiring, with 20% growth in revenues year over year, doubling our market cap, and sales records in multiple product lines.


What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?


The pandemic really heightened for us the importance of truly “seeing” our employees, our customers, and partners - as a whole. We proactively inquired and identified partners and customers in distress who we were then lucky enough to be able to assist. My entire HR team came together to support employees’ family members who were impacted by the economic crisis brought on by Covid-19. It was way beyond business – it was about caring for the people and companies that compose our ecosystem.

In 2020 we fundamentally adopted a “new common environment.” With most of our customers located in Asia and the U.S, we quickly realized that more responsibility needed to be transferred to the field teams in our global offices, which also meant investing in training and extending virtual support from our headquarters, with engineers in Israel, guiding their peers across the globe via VR glasses.


What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?


When you go into crisis mode – everyone chips in and we all work together to endure. But this is our new normal. So, my challenge is to keep everyone energized and committed to going the extra mile. I also see great importance in maintaining the team spirit and personal connection - to preserve Nova’s unique culture.


Being present from afar is our other great challenge. This is even more challenging when you are doing it through the screen. What we have done to overcome this challenge was increased one-on-ones, added morning routines, formal and informal, and offered different team spirit activities, designed by the teams themselves, each team according to the “together” mode they needed. We also allowed our managers to work interchangeably between team capsules.


Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?


Yes, we are actively recruiting for multiple positions – our industry is growing fast and demand for our products is growing even faster. All open positions around the globe can be found here or on our LinkedIn page.


The person you are is just as important as your experience and background. We look for passionate team players, who love challenges and want to become a part of working at the edge of technology in a successful and growing company.


Once we receive the application, someone from our talent acquisition team will contact you via email to let you know if we will continue the conversation. From there, depending on the position, you will go through several personal interviews and will most likely be given a hands-on task to demonstrate your abilities. If all goes well, you’ll get an offer and hopefully decide to join us.


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?


It is now obvious that working remotely will be a great part of it. Nevertheless, our production is managed in clean rooms, the research takes place in laboratories and our work can not only take place in cyberspace. Our success is built on teamwork and innovation that are nurtured by non-stop interaction between people. Luckily, in the past year, we learned that our employees manage to be both super-productive and work together, even remotely.


Travel used to be a great part of our day-to-day. Now, we travel for longer periods, some even do mini relocations. I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate the people at Nova – who turned their creativity, their passion, and their commitment to tackling the past year head-on – and will continue to do so in 2021. I can’t wait to see everyone in person and thank them for their patience, and their resilience.