For a human resource staff person who likes to do her job by “walking and talking,” the pandemic made Jenni Snow’s normal mode of operation off limits. While primarily working from her office in downtown Springfield, she says she found the months of the pandemic challenging. “I’m not one to typically sit at my desk all day and stare at my computer, so finding new ways to keep the communication open with employees was very important to me.”
Giving much of the credit to INB’s IT department, Jenni says she was able to connect to employees, even those working from home. “I feel like our IT department did a fantastic job preparing laptops and at-home equipment employees needed to quickly adjust to working at home versus in the office. Managers kept communication open with their teams and worked through any obstacles fast and efficiently.”
Because banks are an essential business in times of crisis, we were required to make sure people had access to their money throughout the pandemic. That meant much of our staff could NOT work remotely. One of HR’s challenges was to assure the staff working in branch locations and offices had limited exposure to other people. So, Jenni explains, HR helped implemented social distancing tactics like putting up partitions, restricting building entrances and exits to specific employees, and NOT allowing staff to work anywhere other than in assigned work spaces.
No Face-to-Face Puts a Damper of Employee Celebrations
This lack of physical connection meant there were traditional events the HR Department couldn’t organize. Jenni says, celebrations were virtually non-existent. No anniversary luncheons, no promotion parties, no employee gatherings. “Our parties in general were limited by the virus, but we still wanted to make sure employees felt appreciated for all their hard work.” So they found other ways through weekly all-bank meetings and encouraging managers to order food in from local restaurants.
In addition to keeping up with the myriad of restrictions and changes that came about as a result of the pandemic, Jenni used the past year to take part in the Illinois Bankers Associations’ Future Leaders Alliance. Like everything else, her participation was virtual, but she says she came out feeling more confident about herself professionally.
Promotion to AVP, HR
Her work both as an INB colleague and FLA graduate were both recognized as she was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President, Human Resources.
Again, Jenni doesn’t take credit for her success. She says, “If everyone works as a team, we can make it through anything. I saw so many employees step up and help in areas they’ve never worked in before just to make sure the bank was able to function properly.”
Jenni shares this spirit of teamwork when talking to job candidates and new employees. “I always highlight the INB has a team atmosphere and no matter what kind of questions you might have, employees will do their best to help you or get you to the right person who has the answer. To me, teamwork is very important to highlight since other companies might not have that open lines of communication and may make their employees feel scared to ask questions.”
As for her own workday, it goes back to Jenni’s desire to get to know each of our employees. “Before joining HR, “Jenni says, “I was in retail and really enjoyed the customer interactions, but I found that moving to HR I still get to maintain interaction but now employees are our customers. Being able to help resolve an issue or talk them through a difficult time is very rewarding.”