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Compassion is “more important than ever” during Covid-19, says Pecan HR head

HR Post Covid

Compassion is “more important than ever” during Covid-19, says Pecan HR head

Understanding what your employees need as they work from home can save your company culture, not hinder it, says Pecan’s HR and Operations Manager

CTech | 09:00  27.12.2020

It’s been a concern for companies for almost a year: how can they best care for their employees and maintain the office culture as hundreds of close colleagues are sent home? For Pecan’s HR and Operations Manager, Jasmine Esulin, the answer lies in one word: compassion.

“If we… feel we are being supported, I think we’ll be able to create the type of environment that everyone wants,” she tells CTech when navigating the balance between working from home, hybrid models, and commuting to an office again. “This kind of compassion will be more important than ever as people start returning to the office.”

 Pecan’s HR and Operations Manager, Jasmine Esulin. Photo: PR Pecan’s HR and Operations Manager, Jasmine Esulin. Photo: PR  Pecan’s HR and Operations Manager, Jasmine Esulin. Photo: PR

AI-powered predictive analytics platform Pecan joined CTech for its series, HR Post-Covid, to discuss how it cares for the individual needs of each employee.

Company name: Pecan Ai

HR Leader: Jasmine Esulin, HR and Operations Manager.

Field of Activity:

Pecan is an AI-powered predictive analytics platform that solves business problems by generating actionable, accurate predictions in the shortest time possible. Our platform automates the heavy lifting in data science, requiring no coding or data engineering. Pecan delivers scalable predictive models about customer behavior that reveal the most critical insights about the immediate future of your business.

Pecan was founded in 2018 by Noam Brezis and Zohar Bronfman, who met during their Ph.D. studies in computational neuroscience at Tel Aviv University. Both are also alumni of Unit 8200, the Israeli military's equivalent of America’s National Security Agency (NSA). The result: an AI platform that automatically generates business predictions for companies and organizations. Companies integrate their raw data sources to the platform and define their business queries—for example, which customers are expected to increase their business next month and which are expected to drop—and the platform takes it from there.

Number of employees/location:

Pecan has 35 employees and is located in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Professional background of HR Manager:

I joined Pecan in June 2020 as the HR and Operations Manager. I'm managing all HR projects, owning employee experience initiatives, optimizing and overseeing the onboarding process for new hires, and supporting Zohar, the CEO and senior leadership in business operational needs. Prior to that, I worked at WeWork as a Senior Operations Coordinator for their technology hub in Tel Aviv. I earned my BA in Communications and Political Science from Bar-Ilan University.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?

From the "product point of view", I would have to say that in the era of Covid-19, consumer behavior became even more fast-changing and therefore critical to anticipate - the one thing you absolutely cannot afford is to not understand your customers’ behavior. With the Pecan platform, companies can see predictions from raw data. So we reduce the time to market of predictive analytics from months to days, literally. This is a capability that is more relevant during this hard and challenging period than ever before.

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In terms of the "office atmosphere" and organizational culture, I would say that during the pandemic we recruited about 10 new employees who did not experience what it is to work at Pecan. Our unique company culture and the connection to the old employees and many other things are harder to establish through remote work. Of course, also the transition to work-from-home had a huge impact on the work processes but I'm happy to say that we adapted quickly and gave a quick response to all of our employees so that they could work from home and not miss a bit.

What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?

Recently, we have started to work with two technological products that help us find the most suitable candidates: Workable and Talenya. These eliminate missed opportunities and make talent shine regardless of their resume writing skills, gender, or ethnicity. For 2021, we are building a "well-being" plan for the employees that has two options: a "Covid-19 option" and a "face-to-face option" for engagement activities. Last year we made virtual Happy Hours, in which we sent to all our workers a cocktail package and we all made it together through Zoom. We also did a virtual escape room and a movie night.

What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?

I think that eventually, we all miss the human touch. From an HR point of view, I think the process of recruiting during Covid-19 has affected the way in which those new employees adapt to the company. The social distancing made the integration process into the company a little harder. The advantage of this is that it has made us a dynamic company that understands the situation and knows how to respond to it. On the plus side, it had a significant positive impact – working from home gave our employees more of a work-life balance. Suddenly people have time to be with their families and not waste time commuting. After all, the employees realized that we believe in them and gave every one of them his place. I think this established a deep sense of trust between all involved.

What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?

Our biggest challenge these days is figuring out new ways to preserve our company culture and to create a deep and genuine connection between the employees. To answer this challenge, we are constantly looking for solutions and activities that can connect employees. And as I said before - our 2021 plans will meet exactly these challenges.

Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?

Yes, since June we recruited new employees and we’re still looking to fill more positions such as Data Scientist, Backend Engineer, Senior Full-Stack Engineers, a Client-facing data analyst, and more. You can find our open positions via Linkedin, different recruiting agencies, and of course, on our website.

Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?

The work-life balance. If we have these things and (most importantly) feel we are being supported, I think we’ll be able to create the type of environment that everyone wants. This kind of compassion will be more important than ever as people start returning to the office. In a time of much uncertainty, I hope I learned from these current challenges. This time is unprecedented and I hope one of the things we can take out of this is an appreciation for the small things.

The thing I’m eager to revert back to the most is human interaction, like the office being together, the smiles on the street without masks, and of course, being together in the same room without fear and stigma.

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