Jacoline van Blokland​​​​​​​, Chief People Officer at Arcadis, shares how strong company culture is crucial in times of uncertainty


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Arcadis Chief People Officer discusses strong company culture

Arcadis Chief People Officer discusses strong company culture

 May 19, 2020

As the world works out how to navigate life during and post the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces are adapting to ensure employees receive the support they need.

Jacoline van Blokland is Chief People Officer at Arcadis and penned a blog discussing how a strong, community-orientated culture at Arcadis is shining through during these unprecedented times and how Arcadians have been collectively adapting together.


Strong sense of community

"A famous statement by Mahatma Ghandi that stands out in my mind is that 'a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people'. I believe this rings true for organizations as well - especially Arcadis," Jacoline writes.

"One of the things that first struck me when I joined this company is that employees here calls themselves 'Arcadians'. This is a testament to the very strong sense of community at Arcadis, and one of its core values of putting 'People First' really is evident in everything we do. It is this solid collaborative culture, values and behaviors exhibited by our people that has been critical for our company to navigate and thrive amid the organizational challenges presented by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Adapting by drawing upon key values

"A united 'get it done' mentality and deeply caring culture have been pivotal in the last weeks in the success of Arcadians all over the world adapting to the new reality of working from home. When the pandemic crisis spread and the global lockdowns began, our people were able to mobilize work from home within a matter of days, ensuring uninterrupted delivery of client work. In fact, 90 per cent of our people transitioned to work from home using digital platforms to continue supporting clients and partners. Our people adapted to working under challenging and unusual circumstances, by drawing upon our key values and truly supporting each other, clients and the business," Jacoline continues.

"The fundamental guiding principle of Arcadis’ response to the crisis has been to secure the health and safety of people as our most immediate and ongoing priority. Very early on in the crisis, we set up a COVID-19 global task force with a specific People workstream to ensure that our actions have a strong focus on the impact this situation may have on our people, their families, and their livelihoods. To secure the business and ensure as much continuity of employment as we can, as a company we took measures with our People First value in mind demonstrated by the fact that we decided not to pay dividend to our shareholders and cancelled our share buy-back scheme."

Taking proactive action and focusing on well-being

"After the immediate concerns were addressed, Arcadis enabled staff to continue to deliver to clients remotely, and took proactive action to sure up the business continuity. Our focus as this crisis continues to unfold is to maintain our strong culture, the well-being of our people who are in extended lock-down. A 'Covid-19 and Beyond' site was set up that provides resources for our staff from everything from at home healthy lunches, educational resources for children being home-schooled, through to wellbeing, mindfulness and tips for remote working and being a virtual leader," Jacoline adds.

"Our People First focus is to move through this crisis in a supported and supportive way. We truly believe that is pivotal to our success both in the short term of this crisis but also in the long run. I like to say that whilst we may be enacting 'social distancing', we aren’t being 'emotionally distant'. I have been in awe at how our people rallied to engage collaboratively and be supportive throughout this time:  from conducting virtual coffee sessions, virtual yoga, and lunches to the recent CCM Automation workshop that went for a rolling 24-hour period enabling each time zone to build on the work done previously was an incredibly innovative use of digital tools to collaborate.

"There is a feeling that we are all united in this together and I credit our strong People First culture as the core reason we have been able to adapt relatively seamlessly to this new reality. While we still have a long way to go to navigate this crisis, together we have demonstrated that we act as 'One Arcadis' regardless of where we are in the world when faced with such a significant challenge. This is in the hearts and souls of our people, and it will result in a more resilient business in the longer term."


Join women leaders like Jacoline at Arcadis

If you want to work for a company that puts "People First" and knows the importance of strong values, search and apply for Arcadis’ latest job opportunities.

 

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