Impact of COVID-19-Digital adoption has taken a Quantum Leap in Employee Engagement Landscape

Sanne Forsberg Holm, Director and Head of People & Culture, Lego House

Sanne holds a master's degree in Political science from Aarhus University and specialized in behavioral science. Having completed a thesis around incentives in the private and public companies and how that drives performance, she has always had the HR angle to her studies, despite them being political in essence. After Sanne finished her education, she built up an HR department in a start-up consultancy.

She was employed as HR and office manager in this company for five years until a larger consultancy acquired them. Later, she went on to work for the Maersk Line, which is a part of the APM Terminals group. Sanne worked for five years as an HR manager and HR business partner both within the Maersk Line and APM terminal.

"In today's work environment, communication holds the key, and organizational leaders should invest in building strong communication systems"

Currently, she is working within the Lego group for around six years. Her approach is mind- and hands-on. Working with employee engagement, leadership development, and organizational optimization has been motivational focal points throughout her career. As Head of People & Culture in LEGO House, she works integrated and coherent with these disciplines.

What are the major pain points you've been witnessing in the Employee Engagement space lately?

Social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic has replaced in-person interactions with email, phone calls, and Zoom. Due to the pandemic, we had to move a lot of the face-to-face interactions that we were building and bring a shift in our culture and ways of working around. LEGO® House believes in offering creative experiences. And we eat the same medicine with our employees to be valued such that we can play and build team spirit together.

The pandemic accelerated the need to pivot a lot of this into a digital framework, which increased our need for thinking digital. Because we were there, but we had to move even faster and not test so much before implementing, but test and learn at the same time. So this scenario was not only with us but also throughout the industry—the need for digital channels to communicate and engage both ways.  This need has grown, but it's key for getting engagement right.

What does the future hold for the Employee Engagement space?

COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies by several years. In just a few months, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business by increasing digital engagement. The pandemic essentially has challenged us to work faster with what we already were aiming at.

Amidst this scenario, I am fortunate because 75% of our staff base is Generation C, and they integrate technology into their daily routine. They are used to this, and it's not as significant a change for them as for an older employee base to go in and utilize these digital tools. We had a full-blown onboarding program for a hundred new employees during the pandemic. And we have gained the best employee poll results this year. Thus, we are best in class when comparing ourselves to other companies within the same size and industry. We usually used to be within the top 10% of engaging in terms of motivation and satisfaction amongst our employees. We managed to move up in the top 5% during the pandemic with the onboarding of the last hundred employees that we have onboarded. So despite it being not what we had planned for, we gave them an even better experience than we usually do.

What would be the single piece of advice that you could impart to your colleagues to excel in this space?

In today's work environment, communication holds the key, and organizational leaders should invest in building strong communication systems. To this end, they should invest in platforms that can cater to their internal communication needs such that the employee brand value is integrated. As the world becomes less physical, every organization will need a platform that can absorb its employees' value and showcase it when needed.

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