Berwick @Home – a month on

Berwick @Home – a month on
Published: 14 April 2020

When we started the Berwick @Home blog series, we were in highly volatile times. We had moved our people out of offices into home working, and the UK-wide lockdown came into effect the following week. Now, with a month of remote working under our belts, we are in surprisingly good spirits. This past month has been a challenging but a pleasingly creative period for us.

Being remote from each other has indefinitely changed so many conventions in our industry. The mass adoption of digital interviews has perhaps been the most visible shift. Driven by an increasing awareness of our carbon footprint, we had already been adopting video as an effective means to more readily access distributed talent on an even footing with more local candidates. A substantial proportion of our retained clients have successfully embraced virtual interviews in order to fulfil their hiring requirements. Naturally, this is now shifting to focus upon providing new joiners with remote onboarding to complete the hiring journey. 

Meetings are at the very heart of our daily activities; amongst our own people and with our clients and candidates. Internally, we’ve found our tempo, mixing formal and informal meetings between teams and individuals to strong effect. This has given us the confidence to extend this into client-specific virtual events. Our client-facing activity has always seen us bring together clients to share knowledge, exchange views and network. Converting this to the virtual world has so far also been successful, with events held for HR, Procurement, Technology and Local Government leaders with more to follow. While video is far from new, its use will no doubt be enduring as trust and familiarity grows.

New working patterns naturally bring new stresses and strains. A recent LinkedIn post posed the question, ’which has done more for your business transformation: CEO, CTO or COVID-19?’ While this is a healthy sideways glance at circumstance, it’s a timely illustration of the power of bringing people together with a single focus – something we are experiencing in our own systems and projects. Every part of our work over the past month has shown that effective communication is critical. However, communication must evolve and adapt in order to continue being effective. Timely, human, and accessible seem to be the most effective communication traits of the moment.

For now, here at Berwick Partners, work continues to be a thing we do, not a place we go. We remain evermore grateful for those on the front line of this crisis, for whom work remains a thing they do and a place they go.

Matt Cockbill is a Partner and Head of the IT Leadership & Digital Practice at Berwick Partners, specialising in recruiting senior management and leadership roles.

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