How Did the Best Companies Adapt to COVID-19?

How Did the Best Companies Adapt to COVID-19?

Radical times call for radical changes. The pandemic did not only challenge individuals, but entire companies and their business procedures. Therefore, Europe Language Jobs decided to consult specific organizations to understand what the best companies did to adapt to COVID-19 and what they have in store for 2021. Whether you are an entity or an applicant, you will want to keep an eye on the companies we interviewed: Blu Selection (Spain), people-s-place (Germany), SYKES (Hungary), and Webhelp (Portugal).   


The questions asked were the following:


1. What challenges did your company face the most in 2020? What were some of the things your company learned in 2020?

2. What language speaking candidates are you looking to hire in 2021?

3. What positions will you be offering in 2021?

4. Have you adopted different recruitment measures/techniques for 2021?

5. Are you willing to post more remote jobs for expats in 2021? Why?

6. Was the work culture affected in your company because of COVID-19?

7. What are your expectations for 2021? 


If you are a company, are you ready to reveal what these organizations did to adapt to COVID-19 and use it to excel? If you are an applicant, are you ready to find out the languages and sectors these organizations will be offering this year? Here we go:


1. What challenges did your company face the most in 2020? What were some of the things your company learned in 2020? 


Being apart from each other during the quarantine. Blu Selection members are really working as a team and even with the new technology we could continue normally, but one of our mojo is "better together". To be more focused on the market, some of our clients decided due to the situation to close their recruitment processes. We also faced the closing of the borders and candidates had difficulties relocating during this time. (However), we have learned from each government what was the exact measure to proceed before moving to another country and make sure our candidate could do so safely. We stay tuned to the situation and we adapt. 


We have learned how to keep our values with distances. We have learned how to adapt our workforce to the markets that were still alive during this period. We also learn to be patient and increase our reactivity.


The two lockdowns in 2020 resulted in major changes in the area of cross-border recruiting. On the one hand, it was unfortunate that people lost their jobs and were urgently looking for a new position, then it was the case that fewer people could/would go abroad due to the uncertain situation, then it was also the case that companies first hired fewer people or first had to reorganise their recruitment processes. After the situation had calmed down in both cases, more opportunities arose for both sides (companies and applicants) to come together again. The requirements for dealing with applicants have changed in such a way that many people would like to work remotely or are only willing to move when the situation seems secure. Our clients have done a great job trying to make it as easy and safe as possible for their potential new employee to start remotely or on-site. That was a very nice feeling to know, yes things are possible even during such a crisis. That is also the point we take away: Everything is possible if you exchange ideas well!


It was challenging to move all our processes to online channels within such a short time. Our colleagues made extra effort during the critical period of shifting to work from home, we learned how to arrange all processes remotely and managed to maintain a high level of service with professionalism and even without personal meetings.


At Webhelp, as in many other companies, this pandemic year brought some big challenges: how to implement work from home in record time, when we didn’t have it in place in 95% of our projects, how to motivate people working at home, how to continue to deliver training remotely and how to integrate our newcomers and make them feel part of the family in a virtual way. All of this, while keeping the same, or even better, levels of productivity and quality.

We learned that we can do anything with a great team (we already knew that) ! The word for us in 2020 was really teamwork. All the departments from Operations to support functions worked together at warp speed to make working from home a reality. On the other hand, our recruitment team quickly changed the recruitment activities to make sure that they could all be done online. It was amazing to see the outcome of our teams, working together on this common goal, with the best recruitment success rate ever in 2020. 


2. What language speaking candidates are you looking to hire in 2021?


Blu Selection is a recruitment Agency focused on multilingual profiles; we mainly work with German, Dutch, Hebrew, Flemish, French, Norwegian, Finnish, Turkish, Danish, Spanish, Catalan, & Italian Speakers, but we also have time to time some open vacancies with other languages. 


As a cross-border recruiting agency we assist companies to find multilingual candidates with a great variety of languages.


We are recruiting many Western and Central-Eastern European language speakers, for example: German, English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Greek.


At Webhelp, we have such a diversified pool of projects that we are looking to hire in several languages, mainly: German, French, English, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Nordic languages. 


3. What positions will you be offering in 2021?


In 2021, we are diversifying our markets by offering vacancies for Customer Support, Sales (Business Developer, Sales Advisor, Account Executive etc), IT Profiles (Developers, Team Lead, DevOps etc.), Telecommunication Profiles (Optic Fiber Specialist, Telecommunication Technician, etc.), Finance profiles (Accountant, Controller, etc), Recruiter & Marketing (SEO, Content reviewer, etc).

Blu Selection is able to adapt to any kind of profile, our strength is the international aspect of the candidate meaning with a native level of language that is not the one of the countries where the position is located. 


Fortunately, our clients continue to have a great need for staff who are multilingual and who also have certain other qualifications. We are very broad in terms of sectors.Our clients continue to look for multilingual employees in the area of technical support or customer service, e.g. in the automotive industry. We also have clients in the SaaS sector. There are great opportunities in the area of inside sales. We also work with clients in the mechanical engineering sector in the area of sales. A large part of the vacancies are also in the area of pharmaceuticals, such as clinical trials or supporting activities in the area of pharmaceuticals. Our clients are mainly located in Germany, the Netherlands and Ireland. All these great jobs can of course be found at 


We are looking for Customer Support Representatives and Technicians to B2C support as well as Customer Support Specialists for B2B support.


Due to the scale of our business, we are mainly recruiting for Operational roles from Advisors to Team Leaders, Operations Managers and Training Managers. In terms of support areas we are hiring HR Managers, Recruiters, HR Business Partners, Security Analysts, Senior Accountants and many more.


4. Have you adopted different recruitment measures/techniques for 2021?


We are always trying to improve our way to recruit. Our processes involved most of the time a relocation process for our candidate, related to that we are already used to having digital recruitment processes. 

The most important for Blu Selection is to stay focused on the ‘Human part’ meaning the relationships we create with our candidates and our clients to support and advise them on their search. 


We see ourselves as bridge-builders between people companies and those looking for a job. It is important to provide insights how both parties are “feeling” and what both parties expect from another. Especially in times like these, we should move closer together and think about how we can find each other.


We have moved our recruitment process for partly or fully online channels. Depending on the needs of our clients we can fulfill the whole recruitment process online.


Yes, we already did in the past a big part of our recruitment in a digital way, but now we went full digital and the entire process is now conducted remotely. This has allowed the team to develop skills to detect profiles and soft skills remotely, allowing the quality of the delivery of the recruitment to be maintained. 


5. Are you willing to post more remote jobs for expats in 2021? Why?


This will definitely depend on our evolution and also on the results that the platform will provide us.


Our clients are all huge fans of building a great company culture. Therefore, they would like to have their employees in the office when it is safe. Until then, our clients offer remote working solutions.


We offer ‘work at home’ contracts to expats who are based in Hungary or willing to relocate to Hungary.


For the time being, we are not looking into this option. We will continue with our current operational model and in the future implement an hybrid model (according to each project requirements) where our employees will work part of the year on site and the other part of the year at home, but always residing in Portugal. 


6. Was the work culture affected in your company because of COVID-19? 


To be honest COVID 19, brings us stronger in terms of values, it helps us to define exactly the kind of personality we want to be surrounded by when difficulties come across the road. 


At people-s-place, we had remote working models from the day that the company was founded. For us, it was not hard to adapt, but I have to say that we enjoy being together at the office and work together on our projects, sit down for a nice breakfast and also do things together in our free time. We tried to talk more via video and try to communicate even more. So I think I can be very happy to say that we kept our company culture as we had it before the crisis.


We all miss the lively, multicultural office environment, but we introduced new methods to compensate for the loss of personal interactions with online meetings. We maintain a closed Facebook group for our coworkers, and we have lots of online challenges, competitions, and other activities to keep them connected while they work from home.


We can’t say no. Our teams had to learn to work remotely with each other, to stay in touch digitally and even our company animations became full digital. It’s a different way to work, it requires employees to learn about new tools and it requires our Webhelp University team to develop Training content in record time to give our employees the right tools and skills to work from home. 


7. What are your expectations for 2021?


With a lot of positive attitude, we believe that step by step the market of recruitment will be re-launched again and we will continue our growth, like we did before COVID, with new opportunities that COVID also brought. 


Multilingual personnel is needed without or with crises. What hope that companies can provide more remote working solutions until it is safe to relocate. People are in general curious and want to explore. So there are plenty of people out there who want to work abroad (once it is safe to travel and move).


We can proudly say that we have gained new businesses in 2020 and still have many new business prospects in the pipeline. We plan to keep growing in 2021 and will continue to offer new opportunities for job seekers and for our colleagues who are looking for a new challenge! In 2021 SYKES Hungary aims to remain a stable company with an international background for job seekers speaking Western and Central-Eastern European languages.


Webhelp continues to grow! 


With 3 new exciting projects for worldwide leading brands already launched in 2021, and 2 new sites to open in Lisbon and Braga until the end of the year, we look at the future with a smile on our faces, hoping to reach 3.000 employees in the near future.


We expect to hire and onboard at least 500 new Webhelpians (net) this year, increasing our current team from 2.000 to 2.500 employees, although we will be hiring more also to compensate for the normal attrition of this business. We will be starting new projects during the year (and also grow the current ones) for well-known companies and we will be seeking talent in Customer Care and Tech Support related fields to continue this success story!


We expect to have more projects covering more markets and more diversity in regards to Job Opportunities. Our main focus will continue to be customer advisors, but we will also have more sales, marketing, b2b roles and much more. 




If you are a company looking for market expansion, would you add anything else to the list of techniques & procedures that helped you adapt to COVID-19? If you are an applicant, were you able to learn more about what companies are looking for and will you use it to your advantage? Either way, we hope you enjoyed reading about the updates of: Blu Selection (Spain), people-s-place (Germany), SYKES (Hungary), and Webhelp (Portugal). 

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