Case Study: Intrepid Group uses global travel shutdown to reimagine HR function

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The global travel industry was one of the hardest hit by COVID, and had no choice but buckle down in an attempt to weather the COVID storm.

Digital Nation spoke to Natalie Kidd, chief people and purpose officer at Intrepid Group, to learn about the transformation that the HR function underwent when the pandemic hit.

According to Kidd, Intrepid is fundamentally a people-led business that relies on engagement with customers, an activity greatly disrupted with the pandemic.

It was putting people and purpose at the heart of Intrepid’s strategy as well as aligning a global team with the purpose of delivering excellent customer experience that was the foundation of a strategic reimaging for the company, spurred on by the business’s pandemic driven hibernation.

During the past 18 months, Kidd says that she saw a change to Intrepid’s people-process, with the businesses focus likely to look quite different going forward.

“What’s obviously changed is that everybody has gotten used to remote work, and that comes with positives and negatives,” says Kidd.

“People are enjoying working from home, enjoying having less commute time, and enjoying the ability to be a little bit more flexible… however, on the other side, we’re also seeing increased levels of isolation, and increased situations of deteriorating mental health.”

According to Kidd, the culture at Intrepid Group has always been a key focus and is critical to managing the hybrid work question as we emerge from the pandemic.

In managing this shift in work, Kidd believes having communicative and vocal leaders will ensure employee wellbeing remains a priority.

“The absolute key thing is, communicate, communicate, communicate, you can't communicate too much,” says Kidd.

“In that communication, part of it is just showing that vulnerability, seeing that we don't always, particularly in the midst of the pandemic, we don't always have all the answers.”

As the business halted to a stop during COVID, Kidd says that it gave them time to re-evaluate their digital transformation strategy and the evolution of the HR role.

“Moving forward, we want to really move into getting better data and metrics around succession planning and development. As we're rebuilding our workforce, [we can] really be ensuring that we're setting our teams up for success.”

“As a people team or an HR function, we can really set up the structures to best enable that, and support to help do it better, if managers aren't quite sure how to go about it.”

“Having the right people, making sure they're supported and have the right tools that they need, and then have them developing. That's really the critical key for me to achieving our business goals.”

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