Author: Laura-Ann Stutz, Senior Communications Consultant, Oracle Consulting UKIE
Now more than ever businesses need to be agile when it comes to adapting to the ‘new normal’. It goes without saying that countless individuals have been impacted by the pandemic and are facing various challenges related to remote working, such as ‘Zoom fatigue’, longer working hours, more stress and a lack of social interaction. Although some find working from home a positive experience, others rely on the support of their employer to bring some sort of normality to their daily lives.
Oracle places a huge emphasis on the wellbeing of employees. From day one on the job, employees are given the appropriate tools, resources and support they need to thrive professionally. As lockdown progressed and the world moved deeper into uncertainty, members from Oracle Consulting united to discuss the impact remote working had on the wellbeing and productivity of employees. From this, a new initiative called ‘New Ways of Working’ (NWoW) was formed to help the organisation focus on ways in which we could alleviate challenges associated with remote working. Due to Oracle’s existing commitment to employee wellbeing, the organisation was already in a very strong position to introduce an initiative like this.
The NWoW initiative is currently well underway and has already started to positively shape the way Consulting is operating remotely. The initiative quickly gained traction and sparked conversation across the organisation.
One key area within the NWoW initiative is the ‘Consulting Networking’ team. Remote working reduces the opportunity to network and to catch-up informally with colleagues, leaving many feeling isolated. One of the main objectives of this team is to look at how to replicate face-to-face networking events in a now contactless world. Nicola Gibson, the ‘Consulting Networking’ team lead, emphasises the need for an initiative like this: “Working remotely, as we have for nearly a year now, can lead to isolation and a disconnection from your colleagues. It's hard to network and to figure out how and where you can progress your career.”
Consulting Networking Team Lead
The first activity to kick-start this initiative was a virtual networking programme open to all employees across Oracle Consulting UK & Ireland. As part of this event, employees were able take a break from their busy schedules and reconnect with their colleagues over a tea or coffee. To allow for a truly authentic networking experience, the team leading this activity divided the participants into random groups so that they could network with people who were not in their immediate team.
The second round of activities that the Consulting Networking team hosted were two virtual events focussing on the themes of professional development and how to plan your career. These two interactive webinars welcomed individuals of all career levels and backgrounds. The objectives of these webinars were to provide a safe space for individuals to chat informally with senior members, ask career-related questions and to learn more about how they can grow professionally at Oracle. Both sessions held multiple interactive activities using the ‘poll’ and ‘breakout room’ Zoom features, to encourage participants to engage with the content and interact with the speakers on the call.
It was evident through the feedback received that the events left a long-lasting impact on those who attended. The event surpassed its goal of sparking inspiration and motivation across the organisation and amongst individuals interested in progressing in the next steps of their careers. It also guided them on how they can use lockdown to their advantage to work on their professional development. Some feedback that was given after the sessions took place included:
“For someone at the start of their career at Oracle I found both of these events extremely helpful. The panel provided a great insight into a diverse range of career development paths internally and externally to Oracle. Following this, the Career Path session was able to provide some great tips on making yourself indispensable and the importance of promoting your own brand. Thank you to everyone involved in the organisation of two really insightful events.”
NWoW Event Participant, Oracle Consulting
“I felt that both of these career events were very polished, smooth and well organised. I was kept engaged by the speakers.”
NWoW Event Participant, Oracle Consulting
As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, the New Ways of Working teams are working actively around the clock to come up with new and innovative ways to support the entire organisation. Overall, the NWoW initiative has proven to be a prime example of how you can support your workforce in a quick, simple and cost-effective manner. It has demonstrated that wellbeing goes beyond the physical health and mental state of an individual, it involves making sure that the individual has the appropriate resources, tools and support they need to thrive.
To summarise, the three ways in which Oracle Consulting increased employee engagement successfully during the pandemic (and through this initiative) is by:
1. Putting wellbeing at the heart
By building on Oracle’s existing commitment to employee wellbeing, we were able to create a sense of community by allocating safe spaces for employees to connect. These spaces included bi-weekly Zoom calls, dedicated Slack channels, and webinars, which gave employees the opportunity to share tips, ideas and personal experiences on to how to overcome challenges associated with remote working.
2. Replicating networking in a contactless world
We encourage employees to participate in activities similar to those they would usually do in the office, such as catching up over a coffee and conducting informal chats from time to time throughout the day. The way in which we replicated this was by forming a networking programme where volunteers were randomly put into groups with people who were not in their immediate team. The networking sessions were facilitated over Zoom.
3. Inspiring employees of all career levels and backgrounds
By offering fun activities and webinars which were relevant to employees from all career levels, we were able to engage a large number of employees. The topics (e.g. career development) chosen for these activities resonated with employees across the organisation. Having these sessions available to all of Consulting created a sense of unity and allowed individuals to share tips and insights regarding certain topics from many different angles.
This past year has been a learning experience which has shown us that being versatile in times like this can allow us to support our colleagues effectively and flourish despite challenges that may arise. We hope that everyone is staying safe and that we can resume to some sort of normality very soon.
If you’re interested in learning more about Oracle Consulting’s NWoW initiative, please make sure to watch this space for future updates on the activities we’re doing. If you would like to learn more about Oracle Consulting’s services and how we can make Cloud happen for you, please visit our homepage here.