How 2020 Re-Defined GO’s People Strategy

04 January 2021

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2020 has transformed the traditional workplace for thousands of businesses across the globe and for GO, it has been no different. It has however been a year of cultural growth and learnings for the company and one that has defined its employer brand.

Notwithstanding the huge challenges, employees remained at the top of GO’s agenda. All employees still enjoyed free health insurance, free GO services, full flexibility at work and no deductions in salaries, not to mention additional extra days of leave, as well as a GO Company Holiday which was given to all employees as part of the mental health initiative.

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GO’s CEO Nikhil Patil is adamant that notwithstanding GO’s heavy social commitment to drive a digital Malta where no one is left behind, customers need to remain connected to what matters most to them and that their wellbeing is what matters most to them.

“Unless GO serves its employees well, we cannot serve its customers well and this is why before the pandemic, we had already introduced several initiatives related to our people’s mental and physical well-being at work,” said Nikhil Patil.

“With the onset of COVID, the context for these initiatives became more valid, realising that as one of Malta’s largest employers, GO had to set new standards and find ways for everyone to remain connected to each other online,” he added.

Already by the start of the year, GO had launched free shuttle services for the winter months to make sure employees reached their cars safely after work, started SMS campaigns with mental well-being tips and reminders, was offering free services from the Richmond Foundation, gave extra days of leave during Christmas and introduced mental health live sessions with professional psychotherapists.

“To help our people with their physical well-being, we introduced mid-day online fitness sessions, yoga and self-defence classes coupled with several social events such as weekly hangouts with the Executive Team. This ensured constant and open communication for everyone to have the opportunity to remain updated and ask questions on any topic. We also introduced initiatives which helped our people stay connected online. These included art classes, music sessions, team building events and online gaming tournaments,” explained Sarah Mifsud, Chief People Officer.

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“COVID-19 forced us to change our mind-set. Thankfully, as a company, we were well-prepared, and we immediately set up a COVID-19 response team and contingency plan to coordinate health and safety sessions and to distribute safety equipment such as sanitizers and masks. We had as many people as possible working remotely, offered free accommodation to all our front liners who expressed the wish to leave their homes to keep their families safe due to the pandemic, overhauled our retail outlets and procedures to ensure we are in line with COVID-19 safety measures and made sure all our people remained connected and heard,” she continued.

COVID-19 also meant a rethink on how GO delivered its personal and professional development programme where HR strategies were redesigned overnight, ensuring that all leaders had the necessary skills to manage their respective teams, under these new, remote conditions. Professional coaching sessions were increased, and surveys conducted regularly to remain in touch with employee sentiment and to adapt strategies accordingly.

As people started experiencing different levels of anxiety throughout the pandemic, GO stepped up its investment in educating and training its employees by teaming up with experts in the field who shared best practices with GO’s employees.

“Our employees give a lot so the least we could do was give them back the assurance that with us, they will always be valued. We fully understood and appreciated the challenges our working parents were experiencing with the onset of home schooling too, so the fact that we offer fully flexible working schedules to help them juggle their work and their parental commitments helped them a lot. In addition, we also introduced online activities for children to keep them mentally stimulated. And notwithstanding the challenging times we all had to endure, we still honoured our CSR commitments with donations of funds and equipment to several NGO’s and charity organisations,” added Sarah.

2021 will be another exciting year for GO employees, both on the professional front but also for personal development, in line with the organisation’s growth mindset.

“As 2020 comes to a close, we can look back with immense pride at what we managed to achieve. Despite being physically cut off from each other, we are more connected than ever as One Team. This year we have reflected on our purpose and values and the benefit of this is already being felt. I can only look forward with great enthusiasm for 2021 as we continue to invest in our people, in our business and in Malta,” concluded Nikhil Patil.