Beyond COVID-19: What is the New Normal for Corporate Culture in the Post-Pandemic Era
Ranging from anti-bacterial clean key to virtual townhall meetings, Hyundai Capital’s global entities come up with innovative ways to keep employees safe and engagedBy Hyundai Capital A building entrance crowded with employees coming to work. A massive meeting room packed with participants exchanging ideas face-to-face. An underground cafeteria lined up with the people waiting for lunch and a group of office workers trying to grab a beer after work. These were what we had associated with everyday lives in the corporate world. However, COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that the things we had taken for granted would not be something immutable. Work-from-home policy and social distancing campaign have made a crowded office building a thing of the past. People have become familiarized with meeting up in the virtual place and having lunch over a plastic barrier. As the spread of the COVID-19 shows no signs of abating, companies worldwide have come up with various ways to fight against the virus. Here are examples of how Hyundai Capital, a global financing company operating in 11 countries under the names of “Hyundai Finance,” “Kia Finance” or “Genesis Finance,” is seeking to keep its employees safe and engaged during the pandemic. 6-feet rule campaign in full swing 6-feet rule campaign posters (Hyundai Capital America) If there is a lesson from COVID-19 pandemic, minimizing human contacts is key to preventing the virus's spread. The awakening has prompted a nationwide “social distancing campaign,” which restricts massive public gatherings ? such as religious ceremonies and sporting events. Companies have followed suit, adjusting their working hours to prevent people from being clustered at a small place at the same time. Some countries like the US have come up with specific measures to ensure social distancing. Chief among them is the “6-feet rule,” established by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The regulation stipulates that people should stay at least six feet (about 2 meters) apart from each other to avoid massive infection. Hyundai Capital’s global entities were quick to adopt the rule. For its part, Hyundai Capital America (HCA) has created campaign posters designed to make its employees abide by 6-feet rule at work. The posters have been in place at HCA offices in Irvine, Atlanta and Dallas to stress the importance of social distancing in the workplace. Clean key and anti-bacterial films Top: Smart keys using to touch ATM machines and doorknobs’Bottom: Boxes of “Care Kit” provided to employees (Hyundai Capital America) Using anti-bacterial films to protect people from catching the virus has become a standard practice as well. The anti-bacterial films have been put on all commonly touched surfaces at Hyundai Capital’s global entities, including their offices’ doorknobs, elevator keys, printers, microwaves and other touch screens. HCA will give its employees a Care Kit, which contains two cotton masks and a “clean key.” The key is made of copper alloy, which is capable of killing viruses and other germs by disrupting the protective layers of the organisms. The HCA employees can use the key to minimize direct contacts with public utilities in their day-to-day activities. In addition to preparatory measures in place, each employee is subject to enhanced hygiene guidelines. At Hyundai Capital Canada (HCCA), each employee must undergo daily temperature check done by Office Safety Coordinator and wear a mask in the office when they are not at their desk. Virtual Townhall meeting ?A massive gathering in a meeting room has become a rarity. Employers are reluctant to muster a large group of employees for public safety concern. Plus, implementing work-from home and flexible working hour policy have made it even more difficult for people to gather in the same place at the same time. However, people can’t carry out their work without business meetings. That is why companies have developed a unique form of meeting to ensure employees’ safety: Virtual Town Hall Meeting. Using teleconference apps such as Zoom, the online meeting can allow people to communicate wherever possible. Virtual Town Hall meeting (Hyundai Capital Canada) Hyundai Capital’s global entities are embracing virtual townhalls as a new form of in-house communication. On May 15, HCCA held virtual townhalls, which saw the most attendees in the company’s history of holding the online meeting. The meeting was held twice ? morning and afternoon to accommodate employees’ different working schedule. Banco Hyundai Capital Brasil (BHCB) also held its first “Online Townhall Meeting,” where its CEO Cezar Janikian and most BHCB employees participated. Now the virtual town hall meeting appears to become a new normal. According to HCA’s survey with more than 850 responses, 92 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the virtual town hall meeting. Employees enjoyed seeing leadership and having them answer a variety of questions during a live Q&A session. Eating lunch over plastic barrier Hyundai Capital employees having lunch behind plastic barriers (Ed Jones/AFP/Gettyimages) COVID-19 has also transformed the way we eat at work. Since February when COVID-19 broke out in Korea, Hyundai Capital has installed plastic barriers at its cafeteria tables to ensure employees enjoy lunch in the safer environment. Capable of preventing the spread of the virus through droplet, the plastic barriers can allow employees to interact easily without the risk of infection. Plus, Hyundai Capital’s plastic barrier is made of polycarbonate and thus can be much safer than other materials such as acrylic barriers. Less formality, more solidarity COVID-19 has set people apart physically. With everyone working from home, it is hard to meet colleagues in person. Even when you’re allowed to work in the office, the 6-feet rule makes the distance between office desks much wider. Having an after-work dinner or company retreat has become a thing of the past. Ironically, the pandemic also brings people closer than ever before. Since they were not allowed to meet in-person, employees started building stronger bonds online. Through social networking sites and mobile apps, people can glimpse into their colleagues’ personal aspects and feel closer by sharing them during an online meeting. There are various corporate events held to boost the sense of solidarity. In April, HCA held a contest called “Show Off Your Home Office,” where employees uploaded their work-from-home photos on the company’s intranet, Global CUBE and awarded a prize to the photo with the most engagement. HCA employee, Benjamin Eichhorn’s “baby face” with “I think shaving my beard during the quarantine was a mistake” caption won the contest. Sending an inspiring message to employees has also become common. HCA held a “Submit Your Selfie” campaign to share employees’ photo holding an inspiring message like “We are in this together.” In the video titled “Let’s Stay Connected,” HCCA has encouraged its employees to get through the pandemic together by collecting pictures of employees working from home and office. Hyundai Capital Canada’s employees share “Together HCCA” message in the “Let’s Stay Connected” video (Hyundai Capital Canada) Hyundai Capital Services is Korea’s leading provider of consumer financing products such as auto financing and auto leasing services. Established in Seoul in 1993, the company is a financial services arm of Hyundai Motor Group, mainly promoting vehicle sales and providing best-in-class services for Hyundai, Kia and Genesis customers. Hyundai Capital Services has been actively expanding its global business in the past several decades, propped up by its strategy of running joint ventures with local giants including Spain’s Santander.