Paris, 28 April 2020.

gerard-brescon-news
 
Hello, Gérard.
Let’s start with the most important question: How are you? 

I am doing well, thank you. As you know, I am located in France where serious lockdown measures are in place. I am, however, very lucky to be staying with my family. There are nine of us, across three generations. Still, I am concerned for my mother who is on her own in a retirement home and for my daughter who is a doctor on the frontline. Of course, I’m very proud of her, but worried too.     

What are your priorities as Chief People Officer in these exceptional times?  

I have two priorities right now: protecting our employees while securing our business during this crisis. The safety of our employees is my number one concern, especially those who are still working, or are going back to work, on our or clients’ sites when remote working is not possible.  

I want to recognise their commitment to our clients and continuity of our company critical services. This is our role with their managers to ensure that all the necessary sanitary and hygiene measures are properly respected.  

How has Covid-19 changed the way Expleo runs operationally? 

For everybody, this pandemic has been a step into the unknown. I am incredibly proud of how quickly we have adapted, in the face of great uncertainty.  

I’m used to working remotely with teams across our 30 countries. But for many colleagues, this was a big change. Many in Expleo have digitally transformed their working practices, almost overnight. Overall, it is now working well.  

We managed to maintain our service when necessary and help our clients navigate through this crisis. Our agility was essential to answer and adjust to our clients’ needs in this crisis. 

Collectively, we have shown that flexible working can be very efficient, which I believe offers many opportunities for the future. 

How do you manage the stress and anxiety of Expleo staff in these extraordinary times, especially as lockdown has become the new normal in most of the countries where we operate? 

I am very conscious of the constraints of those working remotely. The sense of enclosure can get worse with time, especially for more extraverted people or people who are on furlough, so we need to keep regular contact and reach out to those most at risk.  

We have encouraged everyone, including managers, in the company to stay in contact with each other at least twice a week and keep close to our Expleo global community.  

Our HR, Communications and IT teams have teamed up to ensure the right tools are in place and to keep people regularly informed. The creation of Covid-19 information platforms across countries is one example amongst many other initiatives such as regular all company virtual webcasts. 

We have also strongly encouraged our country offices to provide staff with access to psychological support, for instance through hotlines, where needed.  

And finally, do you have a tip for getting through the lockdown?  

Personally, I have started cooking again. It helps me to switch off – and then we all eat together, which is a special moment. We have instigated a friendly cooking competition amongst the whole family to keep things interesting… although it’s not so good for my waistline!