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What happened is that…we fought together

To try new solutions and to transform a crisis into an opportunity

Raffaella Maderna

HR director of Lundbeck

By December 2020April 26th, 2022No Comments
Photo by Lorenzo De Simone

This is what has been happening since February 21st, 2020. We barely had time to realise that Covid-19 was something no one had seen before and that looking back to find solutions from the past would have been difficult. In that moment we realised that we would have to try new solutions, knowing that we might make mistakes and have negative outcomes but also certain that we would be able to find a new way forward only that way, together. We got inspired by our human resources strategy, which puts people at the centre, or rather, our “people in mind” motto, where individuals and interactions are much more relevant than processes or tools. Thanks to these values we could act quickly to achieve a few but very clear objectives.

Ensuring people’s safety. We already applied full smart working conditions a while back and we were equipped to work at our best in any situation. The first move was to extend the smart working policy onto the frontline workers that, due to the operational nature of their role, are constantly in contact with doctors and going around hospitals and wards, where communication and physical and empathetic closeness are the foundations of their daily work. The IT platform that we implemented several years ago really helped us, as well as the general attitude strongly promoted by management, a participatory leadership based on trust and on self-management of work objectives and responsibilities. Smart work to us never meant simply working from home; it actually represents a wider concept of self-management of one’s work with a focus on targets, which allows one to use time more efficiently and productively. The restrictions in place obviously required us to utilise the physical space of our homes, which can be a “smart” setting at times, but not o much on some occasions. For this reason we have been keeping in touch constantly in order to always explain the situation, the decisions made and to provide a space for discussion and interaction with people, and also to be available during times of difficulty and fear. We immediately activated healthcare insurance to cover all our collaborators in case of Covid-19 and the related potential hospitalisation. Finally, in order to support our collaborators we also activated, in collaboration with an association of psychologists and psychoanalysts, the “I’m here!” emotional support service. We never had to cope with such constant reminders of the difficulties of the moment like in this period.

Social responsibility. The core of our business is about tirelessly devoting ourselves to people’s health. For this reason we could not just think about the needs of our people at Lundbeck, but we also included the needs of our community. We had a three-day fundraising, “Together 4 Our Best”, to help the Italian Civil Protection. Everyone had the chance to make a free donation that provided immediate help. Furthermore, we’ve been keeping track of specific requests for donations of healthcare materials (such as facemasks, gloves, protection suites, etc.) for the medical personnel that worked at different local hospital centres. We also helped children that were not receiving regular meals, due to schools closing and other reasons, so they could count on food supplies thanks to our “United for our future” initiative, in collaboration with the Food Bank.

Continuous training. Smart work to us means employing the time in the best way possible in a moment of chaos and social closure, where communication and learning go hand in hand. We started off with a multidisciplinary training plan (on science, IT, linguistics and hard and soft skills training) with a double objective: training and at the same time keeping positive communication that would engage our people from north to south and from east to west. We started the “Well Being – Being Well” service that, in line with the company wellbeing policy, would look after people’s body (with posture exercises) as well as the mind, (with mindfulness exercises). We launched “Kids Digital Edutainment”- an educational project dedicated the children of our collaborators, friends and relatives to support them around family management. In just one month we developed more than 5,000 hours of training, thanks to the speed of the Agile practices and the collaboration and employment of more than 20 collaborators that helped us create the content.

We are trying to view this time as a huge opportunity for personal, digital, cultural and ideological transformation.

Wellbeing and learning. Our way of working evolved and so did our daily habits. We can utilise technology to communicate with multiple people at the same time, spreading ideas more consistently and widely, and also to keep in contact with our healthcare workers, thus managing to carry on our awareness raising activity around mental health. In the coming months technology will be used to organise educational meetings with physicians and webinars for specific scientific training sessions. With the help of collaboration and constant communication we are trying to view this time as a huge opportunity for personal, digital, cultural and ideological transformation.