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HR challenges in a global company
What HR challenges must such a global company confront?
In July 2021, Flexjobs conducted a survey to assess levels of satisfaction with new work formats among companies and employees. 58% of organizations surveyed reported wanting their employees to work remotely full-time post-pandemic.
The survey also examined cultural differences because the impact of working remotely can be different depending on the country, profession, age, and personality of the professional. In a global company, HR management must confront this is a pivotal issue.
According to the same study, it was also noted that remote work has become one of the primary criteria when choosing a company for which to work. 77% of respondents considered the possibility of working remotely as important as the salary or additional benefits offered by the company.
In the case of Elephant Skin, an organization born in the remote format, what HR challenges must such a global company confront?
Carlos Carbonar, Global Human Resources Manager at Elephant Skin, notes that in the founding of ES by founder Henrique Driessen, the work model was mainly driven by talent. “The very first hirings at ES were carried out completely remotely. And interestingly, the identity and dynamics of the company were being shaped by the ‘workflow’ presented by these artists.” In 2021, Eric Friedman, a member of the Human Resources Council at Forbes, was already addressing the main challenges to human resource professionals in how to make remote work function through 'social cohesion' (social practices that make sense to everyone in the organization) and policies for the best use of remote work.
Elephant Skin emerged in the United States in 2017 adopting a fully remote and global working model, recruiting artists and clients from around the world. Before the pandemic, ES had already faced the various challenges of remote communication. To maintain proximity among the team members, actions were adopted through technological tools, such as routine vídeo conferences, which served as a way of deepening and personalizing the interaction. Online communication encourages a dynamic environment in which people can manage their own time and respond to messages when they deem most opportune. Carlos recalls that this was not possible in the face-to-face environment, where an immediate response was expected from each interaction.
Remote work in HR presents greater freedom and flexibility
A recurring complaint among employees who had to adopt remote control during the pandemic had to do with the quality of the interaction with the team. And so, HR needed to reinvent itself.
A Paychex Work survey showed that only 18% of employees felt that their relationships at work had improved in the remote format, while 28% felt that their work relationships had worsened. Among managers and leadership, the perspective was quite different. 49% of managers consider that their relationships at work had improved, while only 15% reported worsening.
When it comes to HR in a global company, meeting the needs of the different profiles of people is not an easy task.
Carlos recalls, “I often hear the question ‘How do you guarantee quality performance in HR?’ There are numerous tools that facilitate communication and that are fundamental to guaranteeing good results: Asana, Slack, Zoom, ReviewStudio, etc. There are ways to make the work environment more welcoming, no matter where in the world the person may reside.” Remote work and management at ES are based on freedom; an environment in which people do not have a schedule in which to comply, except to attend meetings. In addition, it is the professionals who manage how and when they will carry out their activities in an autonomous experience of self-responsibility.
When someone on the team wants to take a vacation, for example, it is not with HR that they need to communicate, but with the people who are part of their team. Perhaps this is one of the most unusual/atypical differences for most professionals. Decisions are made in a practical and autonomous way. It is not necessary to receive approval for an accommodation.
Listening to individual needs
Brian Kropp, head of research for the HR practice at Gartner, and Emily Rose McRae, leader of the Future of Work and Talent Analytics research teams, believe that one of the main work trends for 2022 is the automation of HR managerial tasks.
According to these experts, the automated replacement of repetitive managerial tasks like scheduling, approving expense reports, and monitoring task completion will give managers more freedom to focus on building better connections with their people.
Carlos defends the view that the professional needs to feel part of the company's growth. He believes if that happens, the greater the connection between employer and employee. Elephant Skin currently has career plans aimed at all its professionals. There is a personalized treatment which identifies common needs among the team members.
“Today, for example, we have an English program for Brazilian professionals who could benefit from learning the language. This opportunity benefits both the development of the professional and the company as it hones its talents.”
Integration process for new professionals
At Elephant Skin, long-term tasks are conducted in stages, making it possible for junior professionals to mature much faster, as they are able to better visualize in what part of the process they fit.
Remote work demands detailed information, artistic direction, coordination, management and meticulous organization.
Management has the challenge of organizing all of the information so that they can properly conduct the briefing of projects. In doing so, they integrate the professionals in the best possible way to the day-to-day experience of work.
Management of remote teams in various parts of the world
Elephant Skin values plurality because it recognizes the need for different perspectives in its creation process.
Diversity in the work environment provides numerous benefits, including talent retention, which is why many professionals are not looking only for a well-paid job, but rather a place where they can develop, be accepted and feel challenged.
Carlos believes that the global identity of Elephant Skin, a company with people from all over the world, is an invitation to diversity and creative freedom.
Nationality, religion, and sexual orientation can directly impact the execution of projects. The challenge lies in maintaining a constant dialogue and showing the utmost respect for each other’s differences.
Another highly valued factor at Elephant Skin is the women empowerment:
“We still only have a few women in the archviz market and we consider this to be a shortcoming. In our business of telling stories, it is very important to empower all perspectives.”
Trusted partnership within the team and openness to new challenges.
Trust in the workplace greatly impacts the way professionals experience collaborative work on the same project. Especially during the pandemic, it was imperative that companies build foundations of trust.
Elephant Skin believes that people management is grounded in complete trust. This has been a reality since its emergence in the market, as they experienced a strictly remote work culture. Carlos says that when a professional is integrated into the agency, unlike traditional work models, he/she will not acquire confidence over time, because ES already has full confidence in the part of management and the hiring process.
Those who wish to join the ES community have a commonality: they are driven daily to challenge and develop themselves. They pursue new opportunities as they build meaningful careers.
The professional trajectory should not be linear. It is important that in addition to finding a space where they belong, that they can also learn to challenge and reinvent themselves at all levels.
Communications Manager – Roberta Lemos
Author – Jornalist Daiana Barasa and Juliana Rodrigues | Naiá
Interviewed – Carlos Carbonar - Human Resources
*All Rights Reserved to Elephant Skin Group Corp