There are many big challenges that face the world and societies today and Springer Nature is committed to creating a sustainable business to help tackle them. This not only means using technology to open up research and accelerate solutions to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but doing so in a manner that is ethical and responsible, and supports people in a fair and impartial way.
‘Supporting Our People Through Engagement’ is the second in a series of blog posts to accompany the publication of Springer Natures’ Sustainable Business Report 2021. It highlights some of the initiatives Springer Nature has taken over the past year to support and engage with our global workforce during a period when the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt working practices.
Listening to employees is always a key part of an effective corporate strategy, especially during unpredictable and challenging times, and Springer Nature ran its employee Pulse engagement survey twice in 2021. The survey findings highlighted the need to improve employee engagement in areas such as their wellbeing, career growth, and understanding our corporate strategy. As well as reviewing the allocation of training budgets and encouraging all staff to take five days for learning and development, the executive team also responded with new initiatives to address wellbeing and effectively communicate our corporate strategy.
Wellbeing and workloads were already high on Springer Nature’s 2021 agenda, as the pandemic continued to interrupt people’s lives and work practices, and we started by encouraging more conversations between employees and managers about work-life balance, and supporting these conversations with the resources available through our online Global Wellbeing community.
We also launched Plus, our global Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), in May 2021. This programme offers short-term counselling as well as information and resources on emotional, financial, legal and work-life issues. The service is completely confidential and free to use for employees and their immediate family members, and is available at any time of day every day.
The innovative use of communication technologies is also a key part of helping employees engage with corporate strategy, particularly during a time when the pandemic was interrupting in-person working. To help with this we hosted a weekly video chat and blog update from our CEO Frank Vrancken Peeters. The updates featured people and priority projects from around the business, highlights from the week and the progress we were making towards our goals. Employees could also sign up for virtual coffee breaks with members of the management board, which increased the visibility of senior staff members and enabled them to hear directly from more people in the business about their experiences and priorities.
Employees were also given the opportunity to engage with corporate strategy and objectives through a series of Lightning Talks. These talks were designed to help individuals get up to speed with the topics that are important to our strategy in a short amount of time. For each Lightning Talk a senior leader was challenged to provide a five minute summary of a topic, which was then followed by a panel discussion and Q&A to delve deeper into the topic. Each event took 45 minutes in total, with participants engaging in whatever way suited them, depending on what their time allowed, and with each event recorded for those who wanted to catch the event at a more convenient time.
The innovative approach of our communications strategy was recognized when Springer Nature won an award for Best Leadership Communications at the CorpComms awards 2021, and we are committed to monitoring the effectiveness of these services and initiatives in future Pulse surveys.