2020 brought with it many challenges and sudden changes to the way we work here at Mimi.
Our HR Manager Yvonne van Rensburg shared with us the challenges Mimi faced at the start of 2020, how the company responded, and how we plan to move forward as a team in 2021.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Yvonne van Rensburg, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 for life. The soundtrack to my life has to be Bare necessities and the journey.
2. What attracted you to Mimi?
What attracted me to Mimi was the company’s purpose. When I learned about Mimi, it was the first time I had really thought about hearing health as a key topic and this really intrigued me. Not only this, but I was really excited about the challenge that comes with working at a startup.
Coming from a corporate environment, I wanted a change and to be a part of making a difference to a company from the inside out. Setting up HR processes and procedures that aren’t yet there, making data-driven decisions, creating initiatives and setting up budgets were all things I wanted to do.
I also really wanted to move to Berlin and whilst planning my move, I was researching English-speaking jobs and that is when I found Mimi. The more research I did into Mimi, the more I realized how vital hearing is in everyday life. We are all so aware of our eyesight but hearing is never really a mentioned topic. It certainly wasn’t one I had considered as I hear really well (I actually have the best hearing score at Mimi so far!). Since joining Mimi, I have become a lot more aware of hearing health. I now see people on the train or walking down the street with headphones in their ears and it concerns me when I can hear what they can.
3. What were the challenges Mimi faced with Covid-19 restrictions and how did the company respond?
When Covid-19 first hit in 2020, we were worried about not having face-to-face interactions and generally, how we were all going to work while not in the office. We were also worried about how not seeing one another in person would affect our culture, as these interactions are something we really value at Mimi.
Being set up where employees had everything they needed to work from home properly was our first challenge. We set up a “Corona task force” in order to work out what the team needed, both physically and mentally. During the first lockdown in March 2020, we had members of the task force drive to everyone’s homes delivering all the equipment they needed straight to their doors.
We also offered our employees tried and tested tips we had researched about working from home, and provided our parents at Mimi information and tips about homeschooling. Understanding how difficult it must be for parents managing to stay at home with their children while still needing to work, we have also offered them as much extra support as we can.
Something we have stuck by throughout the past year is never completely closing the office. We want to offer our employees an option of somewhere familiar that they could work from. This option allows our Mimians somewhere for a change of scene, stable internet and a chance to use our facilities if and when they need (limited to a small group per day)
Mental well-being is an important topic at Mimi. We offer remote mental health sessions with mental health professionals to each of our employees. and we do regular 1:1 check-ins. We have also introduced monthly Yoga sessions to help everyone relax, unwind and stay healthy.
Another topic we had to tackle was how to onboard and offboard our employees. For onboarding, we worked on a number of new ways to integrate and welcome our new joiners, these have included:
Giving all new joiners a Mimi buddy who will introduce them to people outside their immediate team and enable them to understand who they can go to for what.
Onboarding task lists and challenges to help them familiarise themselves with our systems and online platforms.