In times of change and uncertainty, a sense of resilience and optimism are often touted as the go-to philosophies for survival. One thing we have learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic is that corporate culture certainly comes into play when we are faced wth unprecedented challenges. How an organisations’ leadership team, managers and staff face the reality of change largely comes down to the company’s vision and reason for being in business in the first place.
For National People and Culture Leader, Marta Newport, the ability to empower her workforce is a reflection of Grant Thornton’s culture of agility, flexibility and their “Instinct for Growth”.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and your role.
I am a career HR Generalist and have worked in a number of countries and across a number of industries. Following sixteen years in SE Asia, I returned to Australia in 2016 and joined Professional Services firm Grant Thornton in a market HR role. I am currently the National People and Culture Leader for one of our five business units as well as for the Brisbane office.
What positives you can share with us about how your company has reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic?
From a culture perspective, it is uniting our firm and strengthening our culture. We moved to full remote working three weeks ago and shut all six of our offices. Luckily, our technology enabled us to do this seamlessly. We also asked our workforce to consider opting-in to a 20% reduction in hours in order to build our cash reserves and preserve as many jobs as possible in the long-term with a looming recession. 95% of our people opted in. We are now working hard on ensuring that our people are remaining remotely engaged, resilient and feel valued.
How are you embracing the work from home environment?
Personally I love working from home but had never been very efficient at it. I have now set up routines and disciplines around working remotely and find myself succeeding. The lack of commute has also enabled me to build in exercise into my daily routine which is an enormous positive for me.
What is the best career advice you have received?
Be a lifelong learner. Stay up to date on daily business news, international news and industry trends. A commercial HR person is far more valuable and effective than one who can only focus on their own discipline or areas of interest.
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