The role of leadership in the current environment becomes paramount to inspire and motivate teams and companies to move forward. How are the CEOs and managers of large companies addressing aspects related to leadership and busines resilience within their industries and with the aim of reaching the business objectives for 2020 and 2021?
We recently talked to Matthieu Pasquier, CEO Societe Generale European Business Services to find out the answers to actual aspects of business life and leadership today.
Flexibility is needed to activate new skills
I would say that flexibility has been a must in these challenging times, even though flexibility is not necessary a skill but more a necessity in order to active new skills. In this changing environment, leadership skills would be the ability to increase communication skills, meaning to be able to drive meetings differently and be an effective moderator, to keep for influence as before with onshore partners even if you can’t meet them in person anymore and to find new ways to share the vision & strategy of the company while people are focusing on crisis and day to day delivery rather than on strategy for the future.
Our work has a purpose and an impact on the overall business
Even if we are talking about these challenging times or we are referring to the general work/life environment, I would say that there are a few ways that we can empower ourselves and our colleagues to develop a sense of meaning and purpose. After all, if we all embrace a purpose-driven mindset as we go about our work, we are more likely to be engaged, resulting in not only higher performance and productivity, but overall levels of job satisfaction as well.
First, we need to understand that our work has a purpose and an impact on the overall business. At a higher level, our work has a big importance in the development of the company/business. Here, us, as leaders, need to help them connect the dots and see their purpose within the company. So, by creating a sense of meaning and purpose in what they do, we can help our colleagues find the motivation to engage with their jobs.
It is important to create opportunities to grow and learn
People need to constantly develop in order to maintain their productivity and interest towards a job. This can be done through training, upskilling, new job opportunities, etc. It can also be done by fostering an innovating environment, where creativity and new ideas come from direct human interactions. We as leaders and organizations should develop a culture of learning to increase employee engagement. Employees who actively engage in learning are more innovative and feel more prepared to take on challenging tasks as a result of feeling more competent and confident in their abilities. All these upskilling will result in increased ownership, for example in our company with remote management the process owners in Paris are giving more and more autonomy to the nearshore teams which allows people the increase their level of ownership, hence creating more sense of the job they perform and more visibility on their real contribution to the entire value chain.
We need to create opportunities for collaborative work and mentoring
Offering the possibility to engage and work with others, to seek out their knowledge to help solve high-level or technical issues, can help employees and organizations as a whole address cross-disciplinary issues. It wasn’t easy in these circumstances to make people work closely, but by giving example and by offering the necessary tools, we managed to help our colleagues interact more closely to each other and discover new way of working.
I would say that we need to embrace this change, to understand that we can move forward from this difficult period if we continue to collaborate in a trusted manner, increase the ability to adapt to the new environment and work in different ways in order to keep our efficiency and our trusted partner status. All these will give us more autonomy and will make us go up the value chain.
We are sure that we could find the best mix of channels and tools to adapt to any working environment and to constantly make our activities better.
From the beginning, we were a company that focused on people, their skills and on the idea of evolving to a global level
This made us become a trusted partner and a responsible employer. We will continue to do the same by investing in the upskilling of our colleagues, by adapting to any work environment, by transferring business and knowledge which transforms into new work opportunities and also, by helping our colleagues deal with the current situations through different engaging activities, like: online communities, physical and mental support, schooling for their children and work-life balance through flexible working hours, working from home or from the office, if needed.
These actions will make our colleagues understand their importance within the company and will help us demonstrate that even in crisis, the remote work is not an issue and our abilities go beyond geographical borders making us a global company, able to work efficiently in any conditions.
In this very dynamic market, I would say that the current concerns are keeping our employees safe engaged and maintaining ourselves attractive on the market. Now, more than ever we need to keep a close communication with our colleagues, to understand and help them deal with the current difficulties and make sure they know their critical role within the company.
For 2021, we plan to continue growing and developing as a company, but not necessarily in size, more in terms of value and of high-level services
Inclusive measures that we took for our colleagues like working from home, adapting our tools for our new work environment and offering all necessary equipment to do their work. We moved everything online, the regular trainings where adapted, we accelerated the development of E-learning platforms, we’ve implemented a HRBP chatbot and we’ve recruited in a remote manner.
We also helped our colleagues cope with the difficult situation by offering them physical and psychological support, like: Diversity & Inclusion conferences, homeschooling program for preschoolers (age 3 to 6) and schoolers (age 6 to 9), Facebook communities for parents and passionate travelers, online fitness classes, free of charge, non-stop, support line called Atlas Helpline together with Medicover and many more.
Long term measures for our partners to transform the business, to further transfer business and knowledge without the usual face-to-face interactions with the Paris teams, no more travelling to other countries which will help us continue to reduce our carbon footprint, developing remote consultancy and new ways of working in the current environment in order to maintain our position as a trusted partner.