STAY HOME, STAY CONNECTED
As humans we are born wired for connection. It’s part of who we are, it’s in our DNA! Scientific evidence suggests that the sense of belonging to a group or feeling close to people (aka “social connection”) is a core psychological need essential to being satisfied with life.
For MineRP, our employees are not only the key to what we do, but they are key to what makes MineRP so unique! We strive to create an environment where people feel they belong and can build real connections with real people – even if facilitated by different digital platforms. However, when we were faced with the COVID-19 pandemic where everyone was asked to “lock down at home”, we were again reminded of the importance of human interaction.
With this in mind, our main focus areas during these uncertain and challenging times are the emotional and psychological wellness of our employees and how we can encourage and stimulate increasing “connectedness” between colleagues.
In MineRP we operate according to 5 A’s, and everyone knows them by heart! In preparation for the lockdown, we re-emphasized the importance of the 5 A’s;
ATTITUDE: “The only constant in life is change”. This quote from Heraclitus proved to be extremely accurate when we look around us today. Change is part of life - but it can be challenging. For some people, the idea of suddenly working remotely created significant stress and anxiety.Thus, we encouraged everyone to check in with their colleagues, support and motivate those who need it and try to focus on the things within their control.
APPROACH: Approach does not only refer to the way you deal with a situation or person, but also to how approachable and accessible you are. By making use of social media and business platforms, MineRP is now functioning 100% virtual. In the past weeks with all of our employees working remotely, we have seen an increase in global collaboration and knowledge sharing between MineRP employees. Focusing on “human connections”, we shared daily tips and created challenges to promote and encourage reaching out and enjoying the small things in life such as spending quality time with your family, hosting an online “happy hour” with colleagues or just reminding everyone to stay active.
APTITUDE: Given the sudden plunge into working remotely, everyone had to become “tech savvy” in a flash. While our products enable our clients to run their mines from home, we also had to adopt new processes and the collaboration tools and platforms our IM team has been asking us to use for many months! In the past, we could just walk over to our colleagues to ask something, but now we have mastered online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, DevOps, StarLeaf, SharePoint … and the list goes on! The resilience of our teams, and the rapid adoption of these technologies surprised everyone, and goes a long way to demonstrate the spirit of MineRP. This also reminded everyone that we are never too old to learn!
ACUMEN: As we are getting more accustomed to the “new normal” we not only learn to be more “business savvy” in the way we approach situations, but we’re also challenged to stay relevant. New skills had to be acquired to answer questions such as “How do I acquire more knowledge and how do I share this knowledge with my colleagues?”, “How do I stay connected with my colleagues, and how do I communicate with them when I can’t “see” them, or can’t pick up on the social cues or subtle body language in meetings?”
ACCOUNTABILITY: Although we encourage teams to check in daily and stand-up meetings continue virtually, every one of us has to take increased personal ownership and responsibility for our work. Employees now manage their own time, without supervision. We encourage employees to keep a routine, “get up and dress up” and get into a new rhythm. This helps to create a productive environment and we continuously see how our employees are stepping up, and how fears of loss in productivity proved to be unfounded.
We have been working remotely for seven weeks now, and what stood out the most is the resilience of the MineRP family in how we tackled this “new normal.” We also realized that we actually miss the colleague who won’t stop talking about his / her cat or the one who always has a joke up their sleeve…
“In a world of algorithms, hashtags and followers, know the true importance of human connection.” - Simi Froman