By David Medrano, Chief People Officer, MediaKind
These past few months have been an anxiety-producing experience for us all. The pandemic has affected us in many ways, uprooted our working lives, sadly delivered great suffering to many. There is still uncertainty ahead. But the shared crisis has also demonstrated the best of humanity. It has pulled people together more than it has caused them to push apart. That’s what happened at MediaKind, and I’d like to share with you some of the ways we have all contributed to reaching out and helping each other.
As you may know, MediaKind has 1,600 employees and contractors. Our global team traditionally operates from our hubs in the U.S, Canada, France, the U.K, Israel, and India to our satellite bases spanning Brazil and Mexico to Russia, Spain, and Belgium to Australia and Japan.
Like many organizations, this time last year, we were predominantly office-based. Team members in our main hubs, in particular, rarely worked from home. That flipped 180-degrees overnight in March when the full extent of Covid-19 became clear. We decided to prioritize health and safety and get everyone home.
I remember discussing this with Angel Ruiz, then our CEO, and now chairman of the MediaKind board. We needed to send everyone home -that was clear – but how do we proceed from there? Few companies had detailed plans for business continuity and employee safety in the event of a global pandemic.
We believed that with the MediaKind community’s help, we would figure it out and pull through. And you know what? That’s what we did.
China was the first population to endure the crisis. When our people there ran out of PPE, they put out a call for help, and our team in California stepped up and shipped masks over. As the virus spread worldwide and colleagues in other offices experienced lockdown, the China team reciprocated tremendously. They spontaneously offered to ship surplus masks to those who needed it and also shared how they had managed during the quarantine.
When everyone was forced into working from home, my biggest concern was the potential impact on mental health, particularly in areas where local laws restricted people’s ability to leave home at all. Maintaining ties to colleagues, projects, and the wider company as a whole was imperative.
We quickly decided to ramp up online training opportunities. LinkedIn Learning was a solution that allowed people the flexibility to benefit from accessing virtually any content of their choosing. That was a deliberate choice and antithetical to the conventional rollout of training programs.
Typically, training tends to be a top-down approach in which an organization will carefully script regimens of learning paths. But we didn’t have the time. To be frank, urgency forced our hand. The need to connect people to information and education resources was far more critical.
From the first week of June, we were able to turn LinkedIn Learning on for all our employees and contractors, and the results were incredible. Crucially, everyone was able to self-serve the positive learning programs that suited their environment. The curriculum ranged from technical engineering tools to materials encouraging a greater understanding of mindfulness and unconscious bias. Everyone took part. In LinkedIn’s view, this was among the highest activation rates they’ve seen.
Our moral and cultural strength as a company has significantly increased. I say this with confidence because I’ve witnessed it first-hand. MediaKind is in the process of integrating several legacy cultures from companies acquired going back many years in different corners of the world. The challenging 2020 circumstances have helped bring us together in a natural, organic, and authentic way.
This feeling of unity is reflected on Glassdoor, where we’ve seen our overall internal ratings improve naturally over the past few months. As a company, I’m proud that we could keep people focused on caring for other employees.
One of the most inspiring contributions came from Olie Baumann, based in Southampton, UK, who initiated an online cycling club for anyone interested in cycling and keeping fit. His idea personifies MediaKindness in bringing a group of people together from all over MediaKind in a communal experience. Today, the cycling club embraces 50+ people who meet virtually to exercise, compete in online races and charitable causes, and have fun as a team regardless of distance. We hope the launch of this MediaKind club will inspire many more ideas in the future.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has radically changed the way we operate, I’m proud of our folks and the way they have embraced their own MediaKindness over the past nine months. Never before have people felt so intimately about the importance of caring for their own wellbeing, that of their families, communities, and colleagues.
Caring deeply about helping people through health concerns. Taking up learning opportunities to stimulate professional and personal development. Becoming a more productive member of the company and society. Taking part in virtual yoga sessions to free the body and the spirit or sharing virtual cooking lessons with colleagues. Whatever the motivation, all of our efforts to keep each other happy, informed, and safe throughout this unprecedented year should be applauded.