“As HR professionals, we’re often in the sticky position of being right in the middle between management and employees,” explained GeoEdge’s VP HR, Jodi Yanovich. “Being in unchartered territory, this often means having to make bold decisions. I’m grateful that our guiding principle has been to keep our employees safe and healthy and this has made the decision-making process much easier.”
It can be difficult to find the right balance when you’re the middle person. Here’s how GeoEdge found its guiding principles to care for its employees during Covid-19.
Jodi Yanovich, VP HR
Field of Activity:
Number of employees/location: 60 employees worldwide with offices in Tel Aviv and New York with remote employees around the globe (China, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, Canada, and the UK)
Professional background of HR Manager:
I have close to 20 years experience in Human Resources, with over 10 years in leadership positions, primarily working with global leadership teams in the tech sector. I hold an MBA majoring in Human Resources from the Colman College of Management Academic Studies
On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?
Our main operations remained intact, so I’d probably say 2 or 3. We did shift the way things are done and had to make quick adjustments to our organizational culture. Pre-Covid-19, GeoEdge was mainly a “work from the office” company. As a small, mature startup, we relied on informal processes, very positive office culture, and “water-cooler” chats as a way to brainstorm, promote initiatives and communicate in the company. Covid-19 threw us very quickly into a new “work from home” reality, one in which we needed to formalize our communication strategies and work processes in general. The management team quickly aligned on a strategy of prioritizing employees’ health and wellbeing and focusing on clear communication. Thankfully, as a solid bootstrap company that’s been around for over a decade, we were able to weather the storm successfully and made sure to constantly and clearly communicate to employees that despite the uncertainty surrounding us all in our personal lives, they could view their work environment as a stable one.
What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?
Our ATS is Comeet and we find the system to be very intuitive and user-friendly. With regards to other recruitment tools, we highly rely on LinkedIn Recruiter and I’m a big believer in pinpointing the right candidates for our open positions, in fact, we only used recruitment agencies for 10% of our recruitment during 2020.
What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?
Surprisingly there are many positives! I’d like to share the most significant one for us. As a global organization, in the past one of our biggest challenges was engaging all the employees and creating a sense of being “one company.” With the pandemic we were all suddenly in the same boat, facing the same day-to-day challenges, and this automatically brought us all together. All company all-hands meetings, gatherings, or enrichment sessions were now on Zoom, meaning that everyone could hear the same message or enjoy the same event at the same time. Even when we sent care packages to employees, everyone would receive the same gift on the same day, whether they were located in China or Tel Aviv.
What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?
Recruitment is certainly a challenge right now. Not only is the market competitive, but as a small company, we can’t compromise on who we hire. An additional challenge has been adapting quickly to an ever-changing reality and making decisions that are right for the employees and for the business. As HR professionals, we’re often in the sticky position of being right in the middle between management and employees, and being in unchartered territory, this often means having to make bold decisions. I’m grateful that our guiding principle has been to keep our employees safe and healthy and this has made the decision-making process much easier.
Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?
We are currently recruiting candidates for various roles. As a small company, we make sure to hire A-players, people who are passionate about what they do and who have a “can-do” attitude. Candidates can apply through our career site
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?
During Covid-19, we made a concerted effort to improve communication and transparency. For example, we put into place a bi-weekly, informal gathering with our CEO, Amnon Siev. During these gatherings, Amnon updates the team on everything that’s going on in the company, and employees can share ideas or ask questions, and nothing is off-limits. This effort to keep an open line of communication on a very frequent basis will definitely stay with us.
On the other hand, we are ready to see each other face-to-face and revive the office culture. We’re in the process of transitioning into a hybrid work mode, one which will allow us to reignite the type of conversations that can only happen face to face, while still working from home some of the time and preserving the lessons learned during Covid-19 – that we can be productive from home and maintain a healthy work-life balance.