Vodafone employees who had properties or possessions damaged by last month’s floods have been offered £5,000 interest-free loans in just one part of the HR team’s response to the emergency.
The telecommunication giant’s head of policy and reward, Alan Thomas, told Personnel Today how HR professionals worked around the clock to cope with the waters that flooded its offices at Newbury, in Berkshire.
On Friday 20 July, 2,500 staff were evacuated from the seven offices that make up Vodafone’s £100m UK HQ – with many then finding their homes damaged by the floods.
Thomas said: “HR took the decision to evacuate [the buildings] in a safe manner and acted quickly to communicate with staff throughout the weekend using text messaging, the firm’s intranet and an emergency phone number.”
HR reimbursed employees for temporary accommodation costs, and offered staff a short-term, interest-free loan of £5,000 for those seriously affected by the floods.
“We wanted to support those employees who had homes or possessions damaged. We had six trustees that signed off the application for the loan. [Only] 15 people applied for it, but the offer is open until the end of August,” Thomas said.
Contractors worked over the weekend to clean up the offices, and most people were back to work by the next Tuesday – greeted by jazz bands “to keep people’s spirits up”, said Thomas.