You may already be familiar with this situation: you arrive at your workplace in the morning and the computer and systems do not work as they should. An annoying situation, I am sure you would agree. But after some time, and a call to the IT support hotline, you can usually use it again. But what happens when the equipment and systems go down for a long time? Perhaps all day? Or even for weeks? Unthinkable! Now imagine that this happened to one of the largest and best known companies in the film industry for several months...
The impact of the state of emergency to the structure of a company, from the perspective of human resources, was the subject of our annual HR Directors’ Circle that we held in May in Munich Café Reitschule. Our speaker Toni Popov, Executive Director People and Organization CEE, told us about the time when his company, Sony Pictures, was the victim of a large-scale hacker attack.
Mr. Popov described in a very entertaining and insightful way, despite the dramatic subject, how one has to deal with "if nothing works". Starting with the sheer restore of basic communication facilities such as; finding phone numbers of colleagues to creating makeshift e-mail accounts and trying to restore and improve / implement internal processes based on the knowledge of how the communications and information infrastructure was run in the past. The company saw itself against a huge task which would have threatened smaller companies existence.
Without going into the full details, it still can be noted that such an exceptional situation can always develop into something positive. In this case it meant the awareness of the importance of interpersonal communication, mutual trust and pragmatic optimism.
Exceptional situations can teach us not to take everything for granted and on a daily basis to be aware of our communication and information use. Of course we should always be conscious of the subject "data security" and the company should constantly develop suitable measurements to ensure safety. Because of exceptional situations like this for instance, it will never be fully possible to ensure that it will never happen. Teamwork, staff cohesiveness and community become noticeable as key identification of a company in situations, which are not predictable or calculable.
In this specific case, coping with a state of emergency results in motivation and identification within the workforce - or as Mr. Popov called it - the greatest team workshop of the company's history. If you always think positively, a state of emergency is a great opportunity to gain strength from a crisis.
How do you deal with extraordinary events? I am looking forward to hearing from you!