HR Professional's Day: Interview with Eduardo Zangerolami and Isabel Oliveira

To celebrate the Human Resources Professional Day, celebrated on 03/06, we interviewed Eduardo Zangerolami, partner at BTLAW and one of the heads of the firm's HOD Committee, and Isabel Oliveira, head of HR and member of the HOD Committee.

BTLAW - Evaluating the last 12 months, what were the main challenges in implementing the home office and the integration of all professionals in the office?


Eduardo Zangerolami: Initially our main concern was with people. We were all dealing with a new and anguishing situation, which ended up generating anxiety. We took care to reassure the team and demonstrate that, as we were already technologically equipped, this challenge would be viable.


After the initial shock, routine problems began to arise. Maintaining productivity in this new scenario, having to work hard and also pay attention to the children, who no longer attend school, and take care of household chores, is humanly unsustainable. We showed solidarity and understanding with the moment of each one, making professional assistance available to those who needed it. And we were surprised with a real team work.


Today the routine is more stabilized and everyone is more used to the "new normal", but we still have to deal with isolation. We do events and online dynamics to maintain the integration of the team, but I confess that this is the most difficult part. Working all day in isolation, with only virtual meetings, ends up being less interesting and more tiring. The moments of relaxation are over. I can't wait to have everyone together again, to spend some time over coffee or have a longer lunch. I really miss that!


Isabel Oliveira: Distance communication was a great challenge, adapting new procedures and ways of working, reconciling schedules with mixed tasks, adapting time and space, organising tasks with collaborators and minimising the impacts of working alone, the lack of constant interactions, such as conversations in the corridor and a relaxed coffee break. Empathy was necessary.


The big challenge for the DHO was to improve the connection with employees, to cultivate relationships at a distance. New more practical and agile communication tools, more frequent meetings with the team, alignment of new procedures. Bringing people back to a sense of belonging to the office was of utmost importance.


We held agendas on various topics, such as mental health, standardization, new goals, diversity, training of new tools, integration of new employees. We also held commemorative meetings with congratulations on the achievement of targets, acknowledgements and awards.


BTLAW - All companies were obliged to adapt their activities. Have you identified any positive changes in the new routines adopted by BTLAW? How did the BTLAW team react to the changes? 


Eduardo Zangerolami: Yes, without a doubt. As in everything in life there is a positive side. I see that we used to lose a lot of time with commuting and there was resistance in the use of available technologies. Besides, formalities such as fixed hours and attire were very relevant. I see a more balanced future, with the implementation of the hybrid way of working, which will increase everyone's quality of life and time with the family, allowing a richer exchange of experiences during the time dedicated to collaborative, team work.


Isabel Oliveira: There have been changes and standardisations that have facilitated our disclosures in a more agile way in our work, new tools with great reach in the results, more effective proposal models.


With home office work, lawyers have gained considerable time, they have left the stress of traffic, gained more time to prospect new clients, hold meetings online, more flexible hours and more autonomy to work with their clients. We consider it an increase in productivity and a significant reduction in costs for the company. With this gain, it is possible to invest in new tools, more modern equipment and open new investments in scholarships for employees.


BTLAW - What has been the role of the DHO Committee during these 12 months and what will be the challenges in the coming year?


Eduardo Zangerolami: The role of the DHO is always to take care of people. We have tried to solve or at least improve all the difficulties that were imposed on us in the last year, and we will continue to do so by analysing the problems and creating creative solutions. It's with a satisfied team that we will have satisfied customers.


Isabel Oliveira: The role of the Committee during these months was to apply strategies for good team development, frequent meetings with employees on engagement and increased productivity to reach new goals, training in new tools to optimize work, transparency of information and better presentation of results, alignment with teams on new projects, always proposing the participation of all in new challenges and encouraging teams to seek creative solutions.


The challenges for next year will be to keep the team engaged, motivated, always maintaining transparency in information and results, continuous dialogue, frequent meetings and socializing with employees.