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Covid19 - When the world changes overnight, business has to change with it

Written by Sigrid Carstairs
14/04/20 - 17:34

The past few weeks the world has seen a significant amount of change, and for once, I am going to address about a topic I actually know very well, which is indeed the process of change. Now, I am not claiming to be an expert in this field, that would be naive, however, as a person who knows the process all to well (it was my major in my MSc), and therefore I am fully aware of the pitfalls and struggles the human mind encounters when entering a period of rapid change. Especially one as unexpected as the impact of COVID-19 on the world. However, being aware of this does not change the impact of its reality, and I am sure that many people across Europe, finding themselves in a similar situation, are struggling to adapt. After all, it is not just working life that we need to adapt, but our entire life routine. And routines are hard to break (believe me I know)! So, it is ok to take a moment and ty to readjust, as I am sure many are doing right now, both in their working and private life.


Now, the different countries across Europe has reacted in different manners, and according to different timelines. Sweden has at this stage not enforced a nationwide lockdown, however, neighbouring countries Denmark, Norway and Finland have. This obviously affected every single person on every level, and as humans, we do not tend to deal well with uncertainty. If you are anything like me, this means you have probably had to deal with varying levels of anxiety watching things rapidly change around you. And all I can say is; I feel you, and its ok. You are allowed to feel out of sorts, this is an odd time for everyone.


With this insight I must also try an highlight some very interesting developments across the business side of things, and it is absolutely amazing to see how companies who previously had not embraced the opportunities provided to them are now implementing home working, meetings via Skype / Microsoft Teams / Zoom, and trying to find solutions to situations they had never imagined to become reality. It is truly incredible, and I am happy to see that when faced with an unpreceded challenge, many businesses have risen to the task, and I am happy to say that many of my clients have done the same.


Across Scandinavia, companies in the wind sector are adapting to a new reality, and I want to highlight a few of the things I have seen being put into place recently, which prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, was pretty much a no-go:


Interview processes being moved to online tools.

The renewable energy sector is still quite a young one across the world, and therefore, it is surprising it sometimes has some quite antiquated ideas. One of these have always been that most interviews need to be conducted in person, face-to-face. Look and behold, when the world is forced to change, business changes with it. Over the past week I have booked several interviews via phone, microsoft teams and zoom, and the clients have embraced this full on. It really is refreshing to see how quickly everyone is adapting to the new normal (or at least for the foreseeable).


What about hiring? Can that really be done if you haven't met the person face to face?

Well yes of course! You are meeting them, you are just doing it remotely, using technology. Previously, there was just no way a company would consider hiring after a Skype or phone interview, and I am sure there are still those out there that will not consider it, but what is you alternative? If you as a business have contingency plans in place and projects that need to go ahead, you need to find solutions, no? Therefore, you have to hire the staff you need somehow! And to be honest, you can learn a lot about a person when interviewing them by using technology. So maybe you feel the need to have an extra interview due to not being able to meet them face-to-face. Maybe you want to take that reference you would not have cared about otherwise. So do it! It's all about finding solutions, and now more than ever, the sectors that can keep employment rates up need to do so, and renewable energy is definitely one of the sectors that need to remain after this crisis has passed. So my advice is; interview online, use Skype / Teams / Zoom / Phone, try to think outside the box. I am happy to help ut with any advice needed on this (I am a constant after all, this is what I do), and I am proud to say I have clients who are now offering their candidates based on an interview process which has been 100% online.


But how do we onboard a new employee remotely? We don't know how long this will go on?

Use the same method as you did for interviewing! You'll be amazed by how much can be done online, and with tools such as screen sharing on teams, you can literally walk your new employee through things in a similar way as you would have if you were both in the office. Arguably, some trainings may be more challenging, if you need to send your new employee down to a training centre or similar, that can of course be troubling, especially when country borders have closed if trainings are in another country than the one of employment. But try to think creatively, can some training be done remotely? Can they be delayed? I have clients who are considering sending their new employees to do online training courses for the first few weeks of their new role, and are looking at remote training plans for on-boarding. It is possible - we just need to be creative here!


If you are a candidate, you may have concerns regarding an ongoing process, or do you really want to look for a new job in these times? The answer is, yes you do! The world does not stop because things need to change. It may be paused, or delayed, but it does not stop. As always, I tend to say that any chance of a networking opportunity is something you should consider taking, and just as always, it does not hurt to take the call or meeting (virtual in this case). Maybe you find the job you have always been looking for. Or you learn something about yourself you never thought about before. Or create a new connection in your sector. The opportunities here are endless, all that is limiting is your own mind and worries (once again, believe me I know the feeling).


The clients I am working with are all adapting quickly to this imposed change, and roles are very much needing to be filled. Therefore, I urge you to get in contact with me if you are in Scandinavia and have the skills they are looking for. All roles can be viewed on https://www.cathcartenergy.com/sv and you can reach me on sigrid.carstairs@cathcartenergy.com or +46 40 668 80 66.


Something I learned from my change management studies is: change is continuous and constant. Sometimes it happens slowly and expectedly, and sometimes it is imposed on us without much warning or preparation. And thats a given. The world will always change, and we cannot control it. The only thing we can try to control, is how we actually deal with it.


So to be a bit cheesy in these times, I will quote the title of my own master thesis (taken from a very well known artist I believe most of us know well.


"Turn and face the strange; Ch-ch-changes."


Sigrid Carstairs

Senior Renewable Energy Consultant

Cathcart Associates Energy ltd.