Crossing HR Borders - How to cope with challenges during a pandemic?

'Don't think outside the box, think outside your industry.' For a lot of HR problems today, a different domain has already solved that challenge. It can be very inspiring to cross some borders to gain new insights. And we're not talking about just crossing country borders, but also the borders of your discipline, industry or other unexpected resources. These insights can lead to specific solutions of the challenges that you're facing today.

Explore these examples in this monthly 'Crossing HR Borders' series.

We probably have never been more professionally challenged than during these past pandemic-years. Nobody could predict how big the impact of this universal health crisis would be and how strongly it would affect our daily work life.

In the previous edition we listed already some unique activities and ideas on how to strengthen the moral of your employees. How can we do this even more through difficult and more challenging times where nothing seems to be stable, secure and easy any longer?

Let's have a look at some creative and positive approaches!


A job agency from Dendermonde has started with walking applications. Because of the coronavirus measurements, almost all job applications were done via video calling, but they invited the candidates and do the job interview outside. A big advantage is that they get a lot more non-verbal communication that is lost during a video application. An additional advantage is simply having a nice chat in the fresh air. And you stand out in the market.

>>> What HR activities can you make pandemic-proof but still personal and human?

Working from home

The tour operator TUI offers companies workations (working while being on holiday) for their employees: teleworking from a holiday destination, without losing your annual vacation leave. For certain employees who cannot go to the office, it can be a nice change to do their work abroad (in a safe zone, of course), where they can relax in the evening in a holiday atmosphere. The workation will also enhance creativity and productivity.

>>> How can you creatively support your employees in working at home?

Cross sector collaboration

There are more and more initiatives for learning beyond the walls of the organization: job rotation outside the company. 'Your job, my job' for example, is an exchange program of communication professionals between various Dutch government institutions. This project leads to a professional exchange of knowledge and experience. This not only benefits the employees, but also the organizations: topics and situations are looked at from a fresh perspective.

>>> In which organization would you like to spend some time learning?


Most employment contracts are formal and extensive. At Tony's Chocolonely they have reduced their employment contract from 8 pages to 1 page that looks more like an infographic than a boring contract. The most important legal things that need to be covered are there. The rest is based on trust and common sense. There is also a second page with their own values and promises to the new employee.

>>> Just have a look at your HR processes and select one of them that you can radically simplify.
And then just do it.

'Crossing HR Borders' is the result of a co-creation between Marc Heleven - Innovation researcher and Cyriel Kortleven - Global speaker on the Change Mindset.

These articles were first published in the Flemish HR Magazine ZigZag.
More info: www.cyrielkortleven.com