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Paul Cochrane, Regional Managing Director, Asia, Rentokil Initial Asia Pacific Management, shares the company’s 'People First' strategy, highlighting ROI measurement of its crisis and recovery plan, staff retention and engagement scores.
A "People First" strategy
2020 was a year of great challenge but immense growth for Rentokil Initial. This time of crisis, which has been unlike any that we have experienced before, has crystallised our game plan on dealing with uncertainty, and defined what really matters to our business.
Our HR strategy is fully aligned with our business strategy and vision: protecting people, enhancing lives. It is no small thing to say that our strategy is always 'People First'. We derive our success through the quality and strength of our people all over the world, and we deliver our mission only if our teams perform their work with continued excellence.
This 'People First' view of the business means that we do take tough decisions on securing the jobs of our people, even if it requires unpopular pay decisions, and hard stances on how we manage our costs during the pandemic.
COVID made digitalisation a priority
The most important milestone of 2020, was that during the pandemic we delivered a high state of service (SOS = service delivered) to our customers even with severely limited manpower, fundamentally changed our productivity, and accelerated our digital adoption of our business technologies. COVID made digitalisation a priority.
The greatest challenge was convincing our people that pay waivers were necessary even in the early days of March. Facing up to the facts was not easy for all levels of our business, and many fail to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge posed by the pandemic. Business came to a standstill in the month of April 2020 across many locations worldwide, and we saw revenues dive.
In our estimate, we must have tripled our leadership comms during this time, and shared many of our worst case scenarios openly with our team. As a result, we have had to deal with the uncertainty and fall out from that. Engagement scores plummeted and feedback on mental stress increased. Reminding our people that we will get through this together, but we must work together as a team and must do it right now, was a common refrain. Many mindsets had to change, and it was difficult for many colleagues.
Provide insights and areas of improvement for the HR team to improve engagement during the pandemic.
The WFH surveys engagement scores improved over the period of May to July, from 4.23/5 to 4.26/5 despite very trying business outlooks and uncertainty.
Positive WFH survey indicators
On the HR front, staff retention and engagement scores remained key measurements in our crisis management & recovery plan.
We chose a proactive approach to employee communication during this crisis. Over the course of the pandemic, we ran two runs of WFH surveys with our partner EngageRocket, and were thus able to provide insights and areas of improvement for our HR team at each of the locations.
Our ability to respond to our people and their needs, we believe, is what drives our high engagement scores in our pulse surveys. Our WFH surveys engagement scores improved over the period of May to July, from 4.23/5 to 4.26/5 despite very trying business outlooks and uncertainty.
We chose to survey our frontliners, our technicians on the ground despite some initial reservations, and we were wowed by the response of our people.
We are proud that our people have trusted us during this crisis and I am certain that we will emerge stronger from this crisis.