Making it work in 2020

By Mel Sim

Here’s how Samsung weathered the challenges of the most interesting year for the workplace.

Let’s face it – 2020 has been quite the year. Companies have had to change how they used to work in view of COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order, and even till today are continuously transforming and innovating to address the new norm (which changes all the time!). The same can be said for Samsung. Luckily for them, technology is on their side but as a company that values its people, the steps Samsung has taken to deal with the challenges of 2020 are predominantly focused on its employees.

Here’s what the company has to say on how they came together to rise above the challenges.

People first
When the challenges of 2020 struck, we made sure that first and foremost our employees were protected. Our strategy was to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. Prior to the lockdown, we ensured our workforce was 100 percent mobile ready and automated all business and people processes.

When the MCO started, we increased our communications efforts, providing relevant and timely information in relation to the pandemic, news updates and key government messages. We balanced the seriousness of these communications by running internal online competitions to alleviate some of the pressure of the MCO. We made sure that leaders did a daily check-in with their teams to determine that no one was feeling left out and provided access to physical and mental health support.

Due to this, we were rewarded by a strong and engaged workforce, which allowed us to turn around the business in record time when the economy was allowed to resume.

Continuing to innovate the workscape
Still, concrete action is required as we move ahead in a changed landscape. We have implemented measures and initiatives within our office space to ensure the health and safety of our people, and accelerated development in virtual collaboration tools to support the business.

In terms of performance measurement, we’re shifting to an outcome-based approach rather than activity driven, especially as more individuals begin remote work. Outcomes are our customers’ perceptions and employees who understand this are more likely to be inspired to positively change and advance.

As more talents seek flexibility and autonomy in their work arrangements, we’re incorporating better systems to support the contingency workforce, moving away from the orthodoxy of a permanent workforce. This includes offering flexi benefit packages, providing holistic development and upskilling programmes while curating their employee journey in Samsung Malaysia.

A silver lining in it all
One positive aspect of the new norm is how working from home has strengthened teams. They’ve gotten to see each other in a more personal setting – their homes. Sometimes with pets and children joining in online meetings. This ‘humanising’ aspect has strengthened team dynamics, allowing for better collaboration and cohesiveness.

Another positive aspect of working from home is that it eliminated the hours spent stuck in traffic or rushing out the door to work. With this stress gone, it is easier for people to focus on their work tasks, boosting productivity levels.

We’re not going to sugar-coat it though; the pandemic was unprecedented and trying for many companies and countries. But it was also an opportunity for us to evaluate how strong our ‘People’ foundations – that we had established over the years – were able to withstand these unforeseen forces. We took this as our chance to strengthen what worked and change what did not. In addition, we now have insight and analytics in remote working and productivity, and will use this to accelerate future growth.

Preparing our people for what lies ahead
The future is what Samsung invests in. In the short run, we will see more foldable devices and wearables becoming mainstream and in the long run, connectivity will be driven by Samsung 6G technology. To get there, we will continue to invest in our young talent through our graduate development programmes such as, the Samsung Management Associate Programme (SMAP) and the Samsung Internship Programme (SIP). This is where they will hone their skills, test unchartered waters, and gain insights and knowledge that will help them in their long-term career goals. Because without the right talent – the young Gen Z talent who are Samsung’s future – our overall goals will not be achievable.

Get to know more about these programmes and apply for them by visiting Samsung's Virtual Booth at GRADUAN ASPIRE this 24-27 October!

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