Now that we are reaching the end of 2020 – the year that changed global values, the working environment, our sense of safety, our social interactions, and our internal ways of working – it’s a good moment to reflect on all that we have learned and what the future might hold in store. From the viewpoint of Sympa's People & Culture team, the past year has offered us plenty of valuable insights and new ways to drive growth and change. It has also given us the chance to further develop our great company culture, leadership and the well-being of our people.

The world has changed and so have we

Looking back, Sympa kicked off the year 2020 with the usual growth and business expectations, including plenty of new hires and the onboarding of new Sympaticos. Our People and Culture development projects and roadmap had been planned to support said growth actions and targets. At least that was the plan, until the crisis hit us – like it did everybody else.

This year forced us all to react to a new situation very rapidly. We quickly realised that the pandemic did not only require health and safety actions, it would also have a great impact on the economy and create a deep-rooted uncertainty for the future. Within a matter of weeks, we needed to completely rethink our strategies. What do we need to do to overcome this crisis and come out as winners? We came to the same conclusion as so many other businesses: we would need to reprioritise, and we would need to do it quick.

Rethinking our strategies

In order to overcome the challenges, we needed to adapt, strengthen our teamwork and ensure that we could continue collaborating under new circumstances. Keeping colleagues close despite the new environment and finding new ways of facilitating and supporting communication was – and will continue to be – the number one priority while working in times of rapid change.

Our everyday work was quickly filled with all kinds of new needs and urgent tasks. We implemented cost-saving actions by postponing recruitments and putting a stop to business travel. We had to follow government instructions and recommendations and draft ever-changing instructions on how to act in different countries and offices, while also preparing for longer sick leaves due to COVID-19.

Online communication and meetings became our everyday life in a matter of hours. Lucky for us, our operations have always relied on technology and we were easily able to make the transition to fully digital collaboration right from day one – having our own HR system in place was naturally a great benefit.

Adapting to the situation and recognising new opportunities

With the whole company now working from home, we also needed to provide advice for a better remote work lifestyle, starting by hosting online coffee breaks as opposed to seeing each other in the office. We noticed quickly that the situation also brought us all together in an unexpected way: since the crisis also had an impact on our private lives, suddenly homeschooled kids were popping up in the background of online meetings and exchanging fun tips on how to keep our heads cool during home quarantine ensured that we never once forgot that, at the end of the day, we are all human.

By summer the future started to look very promising. It was around that time that Sympa also took its next step forward in terms of growth and welcomed a new majority stakeholder. Despite the tumultuous spring, we were ready for the change and now found ourselves taking steps to accelerate growth again.

Now that we are reaching the end of the year, we can definitely say that we have learned and grown. The pandemic is unfortunately not over and dealing with the effects requires effort and responsibility from us all. However, together we have shown amazing resilience and the ability to adapt. Together we are stronger and can make a difference.

One could say that the challenges this year has posed only made it more clear to us why we are here. That’s why, this fall, we also crystallised the very core of our existence, our purpose as a company: to smooth the way to a better world of work.

The future is a state of mind, but so is the holiday season

To reach our aspiration of taking over the European HR tech landscape and continue on our growth path, there are still many battles to win. Many of which include challenges we cannot affect.

It has however been very heartwarming to see how our culture and cooperation keeps us together, and how we work together to find new ways and methods to come out of the crisis as winners. That’s why we want to keep our unique culture and our people. Each Sympatico’s input has been highly valuable and so has our People and Culture work.

To get there, the most important thing is to take good care of ourselves, also at work, every day. Take some time to reflect: how was this year for you? What have you learned? The holiday season always brings a great opportunity to recover and recharge.

Take the best possible care, feel good and well, enjoy. Laugh and love.

Happy Holiday season!