Driving Business Growth in Turbulent Times from the Perspective of SOC Prime’s Director of People and Culture: Part I

SOC Prime’s International Team: Bridging the Gap Between Time Zones and Languages With a Common Flair for Cybersecurity, Innovation, and Resilience  

At the turn of 2023, we launched a series of articles covering SOC Prime’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) to share insights on how the company accelerates business growth no matter the hurdles in the economic and political arena, remaining a game changer in the cybersecurity industry. In this article, SOC Prime’s Director of People and Culture, Marina Aksyonova, talks about people — the heart of our company — how we care about them, and how the team has managed to be 100% productive even in turbulent times since the COVID-19 pandemic. To check out more about SOC Prime’s business continuity strategy, please refer to the initial interview of the dedicated article series.

  • How was the HR team involved in developing the Business Continuity Plan?

Successful businesses are the ones that bring together the best people and help foster a culture of professional development. People are a company’s most valuable driver that navigates business to new horizons. I am happy to work in a team of thought leaders and professionals who are genuinely inspired by what they do and can motivate others to follow a common company’s mission and thrive together. 

SOC Prime’s HR team has been engaged in the BCP development process since the very beginning, as it’s one of our primary responsibilities to ensure a positive and comfortable working environment that will help maximize the team productivity and protect the people’s well-being while driving business growth. We have been working in close cooperation with our founders, SOC Prime’s CISO, Vlad Garachenko, and Team Leads to ensure BCP tackles all potential risks that can hinder business operations, including the people’s physical safety, communication, and well-being.

  • How has BCP transformed over the last three years from the HR perspective?

We developed a strategy for business continuity even before the BCP was shaped as an official document. Similarly, the remote work setting was considered and arranged in detail prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The HR team was responsible for providing working conditions that would meet people’s needs, enhance their productivity and engagement, and help them adapt to new circumstances and adjust their schedules. Together with SOC Prime’s CEO and Team Leads, the HR team developed a communication plan working on efficient meeting schedules to ensure proper team interaction that became fully remote. 

We added general calls to the meeting calendars for people located in Ukraine and abroad to discuss local matters and keep everyone in sync with the company’s changes, news, and future plans. During these general calls, Team Leads briefly shared their latest updates, and anyone could ask a question and instantly get an answer to ensure transparency. These meetings covered both strategic and tactical issues, so the team could discuss any of their concerns, which helped maintain their communication and reduce high-stress levels while positively affecting people’s psychological well-being. In addition, to support our people, we arranged a series of entertainment events, like flash mobs, online pizza parties, and workshops to help distract people from anxiety and regain the office atmosphere we had before the pandemic. 

  • What were the main challenges people faced during remote work, and how did the HR team help to address them?

People complained of the rising stress levels since it was hard to adapt their working schedules to remote conditions. When you work from an office, you know exactly when your working day starts and when it ends, however, in a remote setting, it’s harder to follow a specific schedule, and people are likely to face a strain of overwork, which might negatively affect their productivity. To overcome this challenge, the HR team helped SOC Primers keep their work-life balance by engaging the Team Leads in the process and instructing them to adjust the people’s capacity. 

A lack of face-to-face communication was another challenge since SOC Primers were used to a tight-knit atmosphere when working in an office setting. Regardless of the pandemic-induced risks, some teammates kept on visiting the office, and the HR team took measures to ensure that the workplace conditions were safe and met health requirements to minimize COVID-related hazards.

  • In your opinion, what contributed to keeping the team productivity at the same level when working remotely?

At SOC Prime, we have built a strong team of experts who have a flair for cybersecurity and are inspired by their work. Changing the workplace setting was not a big deal; it couldn’t be a stumbling block to business continuity. Moreover, we were experimenting with a remote work practice before the pandemic, and people already had such an experience. During the first month of the COVID-19 pandemic, our primary focus was helping SOC Primers arrange their home workplace and introducing communication updates. The people themselves were quite flexible and easily adapted to the changes in their work environment. It turns out that people who work at SOC Prime are resilient to challenges, and 2022 with its wartime hurdles, has proved once again. Our work culture implies staying closer in turbulent times and working together to efficiently overcome the challenges that might negatively affect business processes. 

One of the examples illustrating how SOC Primers have successfully overcome the remote work challenges by joining their efforts is the teams’ contribution to the onboarding process. The HR team was concerned about the onboarding process and how the fully remote setting might hinder the newcomers’ ability to adapt to a new environment. However, everyone on the team engaged in the onboarding process remained as helpful and efficient as in the pre-pandemic period, and the mentors did their best to ensure that new people could easily adapt to the work culture and smoothly dive into the business processes.

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