What I have learned working at ISCO during the pandemic

June 1

By Melinda Reid, Human Resources

ISCO is a small company and I have been working here for almost 20 years. During my tenure I have seen ISCO’s successes and some of its disappointments, but one thing is certain I would not have wanted to be part of any other company during the pandemic. Why? Because everyone at ISCO has risen from the challenges the pandemic created and I am proud of the way the whole team has succeeded in managing the transition from being in the office to working from home full time.

Teamwork is stronger than ever at ISCO and everyone is staying connected one way or the other either via online meetings, phone calls or emails. We all had to adapt at ISCO and fast, but everyone got it and understood that to get the job done we had to start working and connecting differently not only among employees, but with customers, suppliers, vendors… Not an easy task when we are all creatures of habit!

I was impressed at the immediate actions we took to make sure everyone was safe, but this created challenges that were new to us, since 75% of our employees worked together in the same office every day prior to the pandemic.  Four key things enabled ISCO to successfully cope with the pandemic:

  1. We recognized we needed a consistent company policy that addressed new issues facing the way our business was going to operate.  Rather than management dictating what would happen, we created a cross-functional team of employees empowered to write a policy that reflects the needs of all departments for management to review and implement.
  1. To maintain our productivity, we had to have the right network and tools in place.  Fortunately, ISCO had created IT standards that moved everything to the cloud and standardized on a conferencing tool to facilitate collaboration among all employees, so we were able to adjust to remote work without missing a beat.
  1. We used an online survey tool to rapidly collect feedback from employees in real-time to be sure our policies would be well received by the employees.  The 80% survey response rate for COVID-related surveys shows how important our COVID-19 response is to our employees and provided an effective way of incorporating their feedback directly into our new policy to make sure they feel safe and can still effectively do their jobs during the challenges of the pandemic.
  1. We conducted routine company-wide video calls where the entire management team would share successes, challenges and plans for our business.  The communication helped keep us informed about the business and what the other teams were doing.  It also helped to keep us feeling we were all together even if we were not physically meeting in person.

Hats off to the management team who has given employees full support and continue to do so day after day. We did not lose anyone, not one of us was ever furloughed, and they have found ways to make sure ISCO endures during this critical time. Not an easy task!

So, what have I learned? I have learned that my colleagues are resilient, dedicated to their job and duties and flexible. I have learned that my colleagues are dependable and resourceful. I have learned that employees appreciate the opportunity to be heard and they recognize the effort our small business has made to keep them safe.  Most importantly, I have learned that none of us take anything for granted and that as long as everyone at ISCO continues to perform at the highest level ISCO will continue to stand strong no matter what the world throws at us.

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