CorporateApril 22, 2020

With the help of online tools, our employees can be productive in the virtual world

In a recent interview with Stefan Duran on behalf of Dutch management magazine Management Scope, Wolters Kluwer Chief HR Officer Maryjo Charbonnier, discussed how she is handling the current coronavirus crisis from a workforce management perspective.

At Wolters Kluwer, the top priority is to protect the health and safety of our employees, clients, and communities. Read here a summary of the conversation on what this means.

How big is the impact of this crisis?

“We are a digital company, both in our offering to our customers and most of our employees are used to working from home. Of our employees, 98% are currently working from home. Thanks to our new worldwide HR platform, we are able to communicate with employees in a very efficient way. We have experience with video and audio webinars and digital chat groups. In the first phase of the crisis, we focused on the technical optimization of working from home and offering emotional support. In the current phase, it is important for everyone to learn, with the help of online tools, to be as productive in the virtual world as they are in the real world. For example, how can you engage in a conversation with colleagues, supervisors, or clients in a positive way?”

Offices are slowly being reopened in China. What is your return strategy?

“We will ensure that offices are thoroughly cleaned, and we will implement a phased return to ensure that people do not all return to work at once. We are also still minimalizing the number of physical meetings, both internally and with clients. The lessons being learned, and experiences being gained in China at the moment will be used to make return-to-work tools for all locations.”

Does this crisis also offer opportunities?

“Now that we have seen that you can implement software for clients virtually, if necessary, we must ask ourselves whether we should continue to do that in the future. On a more personal level, I think that people now are being forced to think about what is really important to them when it comes to their career, family, or health. I expect that after this, employees will strive for more balance and well-being.

Recently, what has surprised you in a positive way?

“One of our company values is: Win as a team. This crisis confirms it. We are in this together, and we will make it out together too.”