by Justine Shaw – People & Culture Director, CPP Group

As with many other businesses worldwide, the COVID-19 outbreak has pushed CPP Group into an unprecedented situation.

The way we work has changed rapidly and in some cases even overnight. Operating in 12 country markets with offices in Asia, Europe and Central America the impact of travel restrictions and local government guidelines for each country has presented challenges for many aspects of the business.

More than ever this is a time when the Group’s culture is paramount to how we have responded to the business impact of a global pandemic.

Keeping colleagues well and services running

Decisions and actions of all businesses have been put under the spotlight in recent times. However, in a company where culture is a key component of our business, the decisions we have made in response to the pandemic have been fundamental in ensuring the wellbeing of our colleagues and in continuing to deliver a great standard of service to our partners and customers.

We are a people business so it’s essential that we do as much as we can to help colleagues regardless of role to work in an environment where they can stay safe and have peace of mind. Business continuity planning has taken place in all our country markets with agility, speed and consideration for the impact on our colleagues.

Giving our people flexibility is key. In this period of uncertainty, we understand that health and family is priority for everyone. We encourage our people to support their family first and work in a way that suits their schedule at home. We know that flexible working can bring out the best in our people as they can work when they feel most productive and motivated rather under pressure to get things done within the traditional 9 to 5 model.

‘For me it has meant a lot to be able to work from home, since I don´t have to expose myself to going out to go to work and thus also protect the health of my family.’- Dayana Alejandra Jaramillo – CSU Agent, CPP Spain

The importance of teamwork

Seeing the speed with which COVID-19 was spreading across the globe, new decisions were made very quickly. One of our values, Working Together, has really come into its own during these last few weeks. Team members from different functions and countries came together to transport equipment to people’s homes and provide a sound technological infrastructure for home working.

For many businesses the prospect of relocating call centre agents to their homes seemed impossible but with the pandemic creating a catalyst to switch up how we work it’s proving that not only can CPP Group adapt quickly but without disrupting our service level.

‘Despite the restrictions, in-house call centre sales agents performance delivered above expectations and telemarketing efficiency increased by minimum of 20% thanks to our agents all being connected to the system from home’ – Selnur Guzel, CEO CPP Turkey

“I am always absolutely staggered with the efficiency of your organisation. It’s unbelievable.” – CPP Policy Holder, UK

Focus on wellbeing

Moving office-based people to home-working is only part of responding to this ‘new normal’. This is a huge transition for everyone across the Group and the impact of the wider cultural shift on our people’s mental wellbeing is just as important as their physical health.

People will find homeworking challenging for various reasons; many will now find themselves acting as teacher and parent during working hours, some won’t have much space to work, people will feel isolated and even scared.

Everybody has a certain level of stress that they are dealing with right now so we’ve been supporting our colleagues by creating additional touchstones which allows for human connection while working remotely and being accommodating of people’s needs.

Keeping the conversation going

Communication is essential in supporting our people. To meet the needs of every colleague we’ve created initiatives to help people feel connected when they need it.

Our social intranet platform has been a great way for people to share their experiences and reach out to their colleagues in all our country markets. Our colleagues at CPP China have been able to showcase life after lockdown and have provided advice to their colleagues boosting morale.

Our CEO communicates with everyone via weekly Zoom conference calls for the whole business. By keeping our colleagues updated on news from across the business it cuts down the space for uncertainty and provides a chance for everyone to feed thoughts in.

Although these are new initiatives due to many country governments imposing a lockdown, we’ve found that our people are naturally reaching out to each other regularly.

Sometimes it’s about work but quite often people are checking in on each other, providing support and making sure that their colleagues are feeling okay. This proves to us what our culture is really like. One where focussing on people and collaboration has proven that CPP Group can navigate through change and uncertainty by being adaptable, supportive and understanding.