Elizabeth Hardwick-Smith

26 March, 2020


Who are you and what is your role?

I’m Pick Everard’s Director of HR and Training. I’m responsible for working with the Partners to develop and implement successful people strategies that enable us to deliver on ambitious targets including our goal to be recognised as an Employer of Choice. Right now, there are new demands on us as a Practice. I have an important role as a key member of Pick Everard’s Covid-19 committee. Working alongside other experts in the business, I am responsible for developing appropriate strategies and policies in support of our business continuity plan, as well as ensuring the wellbeing of our people. A central part of this is supporting the Partners in ensuring we’re communicating successfully across all of our disciplines and offices.

What does ‘Being Pick Everard’ mean to you right now?

The culture at Pick Everard includes a strong sense of community and togetherness amongst our people. At a time when we have to be more physically distant from each other we’re ensuring that we maintain this sense of togetherness by encouraging it in new ways. We’re achieving this through providing strong guidance to our people on best practice remote working and encouraging greater use of systems such as Teams and Skype. One to ones and team check-ins are happening online and we’re holding regular remote Director briefings on ‘what next.’ We’re communicating more than ever! Being Pick Everard also means valuing each other and being compassionate right now, as well as ensuring we stay client oriented despite a difficult back drop.

How is the Practice ensuring effective business continuity?

The Covid-19 committee, which includes key representatives from a cross section of our Practice, have implemented a strong business continuity plan. We’re constantly updating our new ‘People Hub’ with information and advice for our people on what they need to do. This includes how to protect themselves whilst maintaining a strong, remote, client offering. There is a direct chain of communication from our committee to Partners and through to Discipline Directors on what they need to do to keep teams focused and productive. We have agile IT to ensure our people can work well at home. We have also recognised a need to cross-train some of our people to help areas of the business that are particularly busy. We’re all working on an ‘in it together’ basis and there’s an amazing sense of team spirit.

What advice do you have for staying positive?

Looking after the mental health of ourselves and each other is really important right now. What we do, or do not, say to ourselves and others has a massive impact on how we think and feel. What works for me is thinking positively, being able to talk things through and focusing on the small successes. I also feel great benefit from mindfulness and finding a new purpose in and amongst everything.

Our mental health first aiders have a really important role right now and they’re working with members of the HR team to provide more online community based mental health support for Pick Everard. We’re also keen to keep the team spirit going where we can. We’re exploring online clubs for music, books, food and other shared interests amongst our people, as well as exploring what we can do for the most vulnerable in our community right now.

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