Founded in 2016, Avo Consulting is a group of expert problem solvers helping organisations to take full advantage of the opportunities that arise from emerging technologies.
Like many other companies around the world, Avo has been forced to adapt their ways of working in response to COVID-19. As part of that response, they were quick to ask their employees for feedback and incorporate it into their decision-making.
Within two weeks of the Norwegian government putting the country into lockdown, Avo had conducted its first survey, and was taking action to support the wellbeing of its employees and make sure everyone transitioned smoothly to working from home.
Karen Holta, People Development Specialist, was responsible for coordinating Avo’s response to COVID-19, which revealed the importance of responding quickly to employees, empowering managers, and staying true to the company’s values.
- Set up and launched a COVID-19 survey within hours of contacting the Peakon support team.
- Established a two-way line of communication with employees working remotely.
- Made strategic decisions based on employee feedback, and improved engagement through additional manager support and follow-up.
Responding quickly during a crisis
One of our goals as an organisation is to help other companies establish a digital foundation that allows them to respond quickly to the continuous changes that occur in our time. The same is true for our own organisation, which is why we use Peakon.
As soon as the Norwegian government announced that the country would be going into lockdown, we started planning our first COVID-19 survey. With great help from Kristina, representing the awesome Peakon support team, we were able to create our customised survey within hours.
After we sent the survey, there was an explosion of feedback, which made it much easier to get the pulse of the organisation and start taking action quickly. We started replying to comments as they came in, and were even able to act on some of them before our scheduled team meeting to discuss the survey results. For example, after learning about people suffering with increased back pain while working from home, our Office Manager in Oslo started delivering office chairs to people’s homes.
The open-ended questions also gave our senior management team the information they needed to develop a plan of action in their daily meetings, and make sure they were responding effectively.
If you’re not asking for feedback — especially during times of crisis — then your management team is operating in the dark. You’re making decisions without an understanding of how employees are coping or what their needs are.
“Before we started using Peakon, we thought we were hands-on and understood how people worked and experienced life at Avo. After using Peakon for a couple of months, I don’t understand how we dared to manage and lead Avo’s people without the insight and leadership support Peakon provides.”Preben Høeg Hafsaas, Partner
Encouraging managers to respond
Once we had established a two-way line of communication with our employees, we directed our attention towards the follow-up from managers. A lot of people were happy with the initial response — based on the positive feedback we were receiving in Peakon — but there were also comments asking for more follow-up and communication.
This feedback was shared with all of the managers in Avo, along with the data from Peakon, including scores, comments and our analysis. We also provided our managers with additional guidance and coaching about how they could follow up on employee feedback.
For most managers that meant setting up daily status meetings, making the effort to call people when clarification or support was needed — instead of relying entirely on messaging apps — and setting more time aside for 1-1s with individual employees.
Living up to the company’s values
Despite the challenging nature of COVID19, it has been a chance for us as a company to live up to our mantra. We have always said that our employees come first, and now was the time to prove it.
The leadership and the management team were brave enough to listen to the questions, concerns and opinions of our people. They decided against putting some of our consultants on furlough and used Peakon as a platform to interact with the organisation.
The response from employees has been really positive. We’ve seen engagement rising in our Peakon survey during difficult times. We have proven ourselves as a company that really lives up to our values, which we believe fosters engagement, loyalty and trust.
This is something that our CEO, Christoffer, has highlighted on a regular basis.
“One can say a lot about strategy and planning in these times, but I feel what’s most important to point out right now is that we have been true to our values and how we want to be remembered as a company.”Christoffer Pettersen, Co-founder / Partner
Helping people to be more happy and human
Our mission is to close the technology gap so that people can be more happy and human. It’s a problem that a lot of companies are trying to solve, especially in relation to remote working and supporting the health and wellbeing of employees.
That is something we’ve already considered as an organisation, which is why our culture has been flourishing during these difficult times. But we’ve also had to think about how we can keep people connected without being able to interact physically.
An example of that, which was initiated by our CEO, is the virtual coffee machine. This is a virtual room we can join whenever we want to socialise with our awesome colleagues. It is always open, so we can stop by just like we used to do at the office.
Engagement needs to be embraced at all levels of the organisation, and we believe culture is built through great role models. Therefore, sending a signal saying “go ahead, talk to your colleagues, socialise and have fun – just like you used to at the office” is an important statement from the management team.
Once you have senior leadership, managers, and employees working together, it’s possible to adapt even under the most difficult circumstances, and in some cases, even thrive.