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MeMed’s Leadership classes came in handy during Covid-19

HR Post Covid

MeMed’s Leadership classes came in handy during Covid-19

During the pandemic, managers were faced with unprecedented new challenges. The Biotech company decided to do something about it

CTech | 09:46  01.03.2021

Managers may think they have it all worked out. But navigating through hyper-growth in the middle of a pandemic can be tough for anyone - with lasting consequences on the management, employees, and the company as a whole.

“At a very early stage, we realized that our managers are facing new challenges of remote management, managing in a chaotic environment, etc.,” explained Hila Hershkovitz, VP HR at MeMed. ”We decided to launch a new leadership plan during the pandemic while adjusting it to the ‘new reality’. We had 12 sessions around leadership topics such as creating clarity in a changing environment, teamwork, change management, and more.”

Hila Hershkovitz, VP HR at MeMed. Photo: Shlomi Yossef. Hila Hershkovitz, VP HR at MeMed. Photo: Shlomi Yossef. Hila Hershkovitz, VP HR at MeMed. Photo: Shlomi Yossef.

During Covid-19, MeMed helped its managers with leadership skills to help propel the company and help alleviate some of the pressures during its 40% growth. MeMed has joined CTech for HR Post Covid to share some of the ways it helped its 65 team members.

Company Name: MeMed

HR Leader: Hila Hershkovitz, VP HR

Field of Activity:

Biotech. MeMed decodes the signals of the body’s immune system to generate insights that improve people’s lives. We started with a seemingly simple problem: a child or adult has a suspected infection and arrives at the doctor. Does the person have a bacterial or viral infection, and should the physician treat it with antibiotics or not? We’ve developed a technology that listens to your immune system and helps to resolve this dilemma in real-time. We’re now applying this game-changing technology to tackle additional indications.

Number of employees/locations:

We have around 65 team members in Israel, U.S, and Europe, and growing with 20 open positions.

Professional background of HR Manager:

Throughout my career, I have held a variety of HR leadership roles including fast-paced growing startups as well as global corporations in the hi-tech and biotech industries. All companies were facing dramatic changes and included complex business environments.

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

I would say 9. The pandemic made us face huge challenges. Similar to other companies, we had to cope with an immediate shift to a remote work environment, seeking to strike a balance between our team's safety, their personal needs, and our business needs. But the pandemic also served us with an opportunity to explore additional uses of our technology, specifically supporting clinicians in treating Covid-19 patients. Already in the early stages of the outbreak in Israel back in April, we initiated a clinical trial among Covid-19 hospitalized patients, working tirelessly to run our test on patient samples in labs of local hospitals. Our technology has demonstrated its potential to detect hyperinflammatory immune responses and help predict the severity of Covid-19 patients. These are significant breakthroughs that could help clinicians better manage this patient population.

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

One of our core values is “MeMed is a great place to work.” That means that we care about each other, work in collaboration and support each other while keeping a great team spirit. The past year was challenging in that respect – how can we maintain a “great place to work” while working from home? How do we keep a unified spirit? We adopted common communication tools such as Zoom, Slack, etc. But at some point, we realized that for an innovative and disruptive company such as MeMed, Zoom will not do the trick – innovation happens next to the office coffee machine. We started a “team spirit” initiative with team members volunteers who put their heads together to spearhead creative ideas to bond employees together, even though some of the team was working remotely.

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Team safety is a top priority, and to balance safety with the need to be together, unlike other companies that chose to minimize their office spaces during the pandemic, we took the opposite approach of expanding our office space. That way we were able to implement social distancing while still keeping close to each other.

In addition, we have also adjusted to remote hiring and onboarding.

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

There are two positive changes I would like to highlight:

The first is around leadership - at a very early stage, we realized that our managers are facing new challenges of remote management, managing in a chaotic environment, etc. We decided to launch a new leadership plan during the pandemic while adjusting it to the “new reality”. We had 12 sessions around leadership topics such as creating clarity in a changing environment, teamwork, change management, and more. We created a great peer consultation group with all managers that supported each other with various managerial dilemmas.

The second positive change was our ability to adjust to a global mode of work. MeMed is in a significant growth phase and we have started recently to establish our commercial teams in the U.S and in Europe. Before the pandemic hit, most of the team was based in Israel working in the main office. The pandemic made us rapidly adjust to a new way of work. This adjustment will definitely support us during our global expansion phase.

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

We continue to make progress on keeping our sense of belonging, collaboration, and joint spirit while working for a long time now in a hybrid model. In addition, we are working through the limitation of conveying MeMed's unique culture over Zoom, and not face-to-face, with our candidates for key strategic positions in the U.S and Europe.

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

YES! We had 40% headcount growth in the past year. Our multi-disciplinary team includes experts in diverse fields such as molecular immunology, machine learning, infectious diseases, software, operations, and more. We have open positions in all domains: engineers, scientists, medical affairs, operations, commercial, etc. You can find a list of all of our openings here

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 pandemic has taught us to work remotely during a phase of global expansion, and those tools will help us improve our efficiency in working globally.

We definitely miss things like eating lunch all of us together, celebrating our successes together, and meeting our teammates and colleagues from the U.S and Europe for a beer.  We all hope that soon things will get back to normal.

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