'You have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others' #HRtogether

Shane O'Brien is HR Manager for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, UK and Ireland. 

COVID-19 has created some historical and unprecedented challenges right across business, economic and social entities. While it is unlikely we will ever forget this time in our lives, it can be argued that we have been presented with a clear opportunity to step up, act, and be a force for good within our organisations and society.

While as an organisation we will not escape this pandemic unscathed, I have been continually impressed by how Hewlitt Packard Enterprise (HPE) has responded to this crisis, both in support of customers and society as a whole. We’ve rolled out extensive financial support measures for our partner community as an example and our Aruba business has donated $50 million in secure connectivity kits for the immediate provisioning of pop-up clinics, testing sites and temporary hospital facilities in the US, Canada and select countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Our small but mighty local HR team has rolled up its sleeves to enable a safe working environment where talent can thrive

Our small but mighty local HR team has rolled up its sleeves and looked to continue to build on our culture blueprint and enable a safe working environment where talent can continue to thrive and develop, whilst supporting our business leaders with their critical priorities.

We have just concluded a behavioural health campaign for our employees across the UK and Ireland. We held virtual sessions on stress, sleep, psychological safety and adaptability. We’ve developed a Daily Digital Digest which promotes helpful podcasts, virtual training and development, and hints and tips for working life for all of our team members. We’ve also made the Headspace app available to all to help with their wellbeing, and we’ve held development sessions for people leaders on coping and support strategies for teams.

Having a team that really practices allyship is a gift

We’ve really come together as a team to support one another. We are all tackling different personal challenges, and I can safely say my colleagues would pretty much do anything to ensure that no one on the team is struggling with bandwidth or to keep their heads above water. We shouldn’t take this for granted. The HR profession can be solitary in nature as it is, and having a team that really practices allyship is a gift. We just held a resilience session with LHH specifically for our HR team as a means of support, acknowledging the work that we are all doing. This was a truly insightful and reflective workshop that I believe we all took something from.

Professionally we have also felt very supported by a number of our UKI vendors, including LHH, our external legal partners and many of our wellness and benefits vendors. The CIPD webinars and community platforms have also been an invaluable use of information and a great means of keeping a wider HR community alive.

From a local perspective, we have also enabled team members to support their communities and used our technology to partner with others to help the NHS. In Ireland, we are raising money for two charities (Aware & Bloodbikes) through a Wellness challenge taking part across our four offices.

I have learned that I have autonomy over how I react to a situation

One key learning, and something I will use far into the future is my control of a situation. As a result of the current external challenges, I have really learned that I have autonomy over how I react to a situation, and the words and pictures that I use can really help in making this pandemic that bit more manageable.

Finally, I think it’s important that if we take one thing from this entire pandemic it’s that we all have an opportunity to reach out and be a vehicle of support to others. I was sifting through a book that I got as a gift many years ago and found this quote from Dr Maya Angelou which I feel could not be more fitting: 

'You have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.'

 

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