By Sally Sourbron, Senior HR Director, EMEA
As I’m sure is the case with many of us, I’ve found that time has seemed to move at a much faster rate than usual.
At the beginning of March (which feels like a lifetime ago), I was working from ServiceNow’s headquarters in Santa Clara, California. We were in the midst of daily, cross-functional crisis meetings as the coronavirus started to sweep across the globe.
The discussions were focussed around how best to serve our employees who were being impacted by the pandemic, and how to prepare in locations where the infection rates were still low — but set to rise.
Three key areas stood out as being absolutely vital in safeguarding our staff:
1) Communicating with clarity
2) Creating a highly productive, fully remote workforce
3) Provisioning reporting capabilities for those affected by the virus.
We knew that our own platform would be invaluable in delivering the digital workflows and applications we needed to achieve these goals.
Our actions were guided by a simple philosophy: we were not ‘socially’ distancing — only ‘physically’ distancing.
Simply put, this means that just because we’re currently unable to work in the same physical space we shouldn’t lose the critical connections between our people.
On the Now platform we created a single source of truth for employee-focused information during the crisis, from the company’s response and travel policies, to mental health and wellbeing resources. And all this information can be accessed company-wide — on desktop and via mobile.
We have also been able to get targeted messages to specific parts of the business, helping us to adjust and respond to the unprecedented and ever-changing situation we’re all experiencing.
We’ve enabled our teams to adapt to entirely new ways of carrying out ‘business-as-usual’, often overnight.
Our virtual onboarding is just one example. This has been central to enabling our commitment to no layoffs and making new hires through 2020. We’ve pivoted from an in-person experience on day one to a 100% virtual experience, with digital processes that ensure everyone is integrated into ServiceNow from the point they receive their offer letter.
Our platform is supporting these big shifts in working with guidance on checking in with direct reports, virtual onboarding and offboarding processes, and remote interviews.
This clear, real-time communication across the company has greatly helped with our transition to what has become the ‘new normal’.
Protecting our people
Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our people is paramount. That’s why our conversations back in Santa Clara also sparked the idea to create specialist apps, within ServiceNow, to manage our response to the crisis.
Our engineering and response teams worked in partnership with the crisis response team to ensure the apps were up and running in just two weeks.
The Emergency Outreach app helps us connect with employees to assess the impact of the situation at an individual level. We can reach out to check if people are safe, where they are located, and if they require any specialised support.
Using the Emergency Self-Report app, our employees can quickly and easily notify us if they are self-isolating, and when they expect to be able to return to work — providing workflow support for their teams so they can resource appropriately.
We recognised that those employees who are self-reporting may also have been in recent close proximity with their colleagues. So, we built the Emergency Exposure Management app again on the ServiceNow platform. As soon as a team member confirms they have symptoms, the app will identify other employees who might have been exposed, based on their meeting history and job location. We then notify these workers to self-isolate — helping to keep our employees, and the greater population, safe.
Finding the right path
The world has changed and moved very quickly since my conversations back at HQ.
I’m extremely proud of our response to an incredibly difficult situation. We’ve acted decisively, using all of our knowledge and expertise to create workflows that really make a tangible difference to the safety and wellbeing of our people.
Using our own Now platform, we’ve put in place a firm foundation upon which to face an uncertain future.
And the great thing is, we’ve been able to share all of this with our customers. Many clients are already implementing our emergency apps — which are free to use — to safeguard their own staff and keep business operations running smoothly.
This reverberates around entire communities, and we’re happy to play a role in helping the world adapt to the crisis.
As the situation continues to evolve, so will our response. But by placing our employees’ physical and mental health at the centre of our decision-making process, I’m confident we’ll find the right path for our workforce, our customers and therefore our business.
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