Business is Personal – Maintaining Human Connections in a Digital World
August 5, 2021
Today’s theme of maintaining human connections in a digital world continues to be extremely relevant as we all navigate our new, ever-changing reality of living and working in a pandemic world. Adapting to COVID has been different for everyone, but what has remained universal is the importance of our connections and relationships with one another.
During this event, we explored the effects that technology has had on local businesses and how they adapted to a new way of working. We focused on ways to evolve business practices and use technology to strengthen personal relationships with customers and employees.
Senior Manager, Service Delivery
CBTS | Hawaiian Telcom
Jordan Silva is a Sr. Manager at CBTS Hawaiian Telcom and has over a decade of managed services delivery experience in Hawaii. His primary focus is to develop and refine service delivery processes and procedures to allow for an exceptional customer experience.
VP of Information Technology
Sullivan Family of Companies
Experienced IT executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. Cooper is passionate about people, technology, and bridging the gap between business and IT.
C. Kimo Alameda, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Alameda is a graduate of St. Joseph High School and earned his doctorate in psychological, educational, and cultural studies from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has over 15 years of executive experience in state and county government and has consulted with FQHCs and hospitals statewide to improve their cultural competency and patient experience. With his ties to the community, Dr. Alameda brings strong strategic partnerships with other medical and social service providers to enhance Bay’s coordinated system of health in East Hawaii. Dr. Alameda is also a licensed psychologist, teaches at Hawaii Community College, coaches’ basketball at Hilo High School, and has his own youth athletic program. He and his wife Star are the proud parents of seven children.
Topics of discussion
- The impact of agility in a tech driven environment – how to shape and engage your distributed teams to thrive and achieve work/life balance.
- Learn new ways to collaborate with your customers and your employees
- The relationship factor – how getting along with your team / manager can shape happiness, productivity and satisfaction
- Tips & Tricks that will simplify your work process so you can focus on your customer
- Tips on balancing productivity and burnout in the remote world
Like many other companies, CBTS | Hawaiian Telcom workforce transformed overnight to the majority of employees working remotely, and we continue to do so. While we all have become very accustomed to virtual meetings, it’s the departments and teams who’ve continued to adapt how they use technology – who didn’t set it and forget it – who have the most engaged, productive employees.
Same goes for companies. The pandemic had seen many businesses close their doors. The ones that embraced technology, from innovative ways to keep serving their customers to virtual relationship-building tools, have not only survived but thrived in the new environment.
Foodland saw challenges in its tourism-related and other divisions during the pandemic but enjoyed expansion and strong sales in its grocery division. The way they navigated the many changes caused by the pandemic was increasing their ecommerce locations. Knowing many people were reluctant to walk into the stores Foodland had increased their ecommerce locations from 2 to 15 in only two months after the pandemic had started. Foodland stresses customer service as the point of difference, therefore they made extra efforts in their customer relations. In order to ensure the same level of satisfaction as within their brick and mortar stores, Foodland offered pick up services and has increased their outbound efforts to conduct regular customer follow-ups.
Bay Clinic expanded during the pandemic. That meant more relationships to build with their new customers and new staff members. Again, technology was the answer. They installed “fever kiosks” to take temperatures and a special disinfecting air conditioning system to prevent spread of disease and make their patients and employees feel at ease. They also utilized a mobile clinic and embraced telehealth. While other health centers were closing or decreasing their services Bay Clinic ended up expanding. Moreover, because of the implemented solutions they now feel more prepared to respond to the next wave of the pandemic.
Of course, relying on technology is only going to be effective with a trusted service provider who is able to offer superb product and support. Successful integration of telehealth and mobile unit would not be possible without a reliable internet connection. The Bay Clinic recently announced a 3-year strategic plan. “This would not be possible without Hawaiian Telcom Fiber Network and their expertise,” says Dr. Alameda, “Technology gave us confidence to expand and to assure our board that in the next 3 years we will be ok.”
Clearly other companies also put their trust in technology. During the pandemic CBTS | Hawaiian Telcom saw a large uptick in video conferencing and chat related solutions. Prior to the pandemic we helped many clients implement solutions like Webex from Cisco for the sole purpose of video conferencing. When people started working from home they realized there was more to connectivity than just talking to each other on the video. People needed to be able to collaborate, share information, and be productive. “Microsoft Teams became more and more popular within our company and with our clients,” says Silva, “While it’s not the same as being in the same building with each other, it still gives a bit of a team feel and offers more engagement at that level.” Decentralized cloud-based solutions have been increasingly more utilized by the companies to enable remote workers and keep their data secure. Any technology that helps resolve these issues became increasingly popular.
Keeping employees connected and engaged is another issue during this work-from-home era. At Bay Clinic, Zoom became everyone’s friend. Staff members have started to do “zoom huddles” 2-3 times a day. They are even planning on keeping this practice indefinitely, since the majority of employees have embraced it. Located on different parts of the Big Island, they can now avoid the commute and help the environment by jumping on a call instead. Other than work-related conversations, the team has been using Zoom for “Wine at 5” and even potlucks. With the current health protocols and restrictions, socializing on Zoom has become more engaging. It may even be preferable to getting together in a conference room where everyone has to wear masks, since on Zoom everyone can see each other’s faces.
At Foodland, not surprisingly, the use of teleconferencing and collaboration tools have increased as well. Another hit – instant messaging. While barely used before the pandemic, instant messenger have become another effective tool to catch up and stay connected. Since the employees no longer had drive-by conversations, Foodland encouraged employees to shoot a quick message to keep each other in the loop. But instant messaging was no longer limited to work-related topics. After years of being frowned upon, personal and entertaining conversations in a company’s chat became welcomed and even encouraged.
It is now clear that working from home is here to stay. It is time to accept this new reality and utilize the available tools to succeed. We can leverage technology so we can have more time to be human. We can automate a lot of aspects of our job but we can never automate human relationships – you have to spend some time to develop them. Focus your technology efforts on being more efficient at work and use the spare time building relationships.
Let CBTS | Hawaiian Telcom take care of your IT needs so you can focus on building relationships and expanding your business. Our team of experts provides solutions on Cyber Security, Cloud Applications, Managed IT and more. Call us at 808-777-6027 or visit our website for more information.
This event is presented by CBTS | Hawaiian Telcom in partnership with Hawaii Business Magazine.