08.14.20 / COVID-19

How COVID-19 Is Shifting Job Responsibilities for Samsung Employees: Networks

Customers are seeing products, solutions, and services through a new lens – a lens that is continuing to evolve and likely to have a lasting effect on long-term behavioral trends.

As part of a Q&A series, Samsung employees across business areas share their views on what customers’ new expectations, needs and priorities are; how they plan to meet their evolved demands; and which habits are here to stay.

Networks - Reinventing Roles - COVID 19

Name: Jisha Hall [LinkedIn]
Title: Senior Director, Program Management & Operations, Networks
Location: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey
Years with Samsung: 4 years

1. Has your customer’s expectations, behaviors, and priorities evolved in this new environment? If so, how?

The client has evolved right along with us as the definition of “normal” has changed. Since the work we do is on critical infrastructure that powers the way we live and work, our team is focused on helping clients rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively identify, isolate, troubleshoot, and repair network problems that are impacting their customers and network services. In the past, my preferred mode of communication was face-to-face meetings to create a more natural environment for client engagement and casual conversations.

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However, in the last four months, we’ve had to rely on phone calls, texts and Webex video meetings to connect. Networks’ overarching business priorities have remained consistently aggressive to address client needs round the clock, so that has intensified the cadence of communication to ensure everyone is aligned.

I’ve learned that it’s important to customize your client approach – but most especially during such unprecedented times.

Jisha Hall Sr. Director, Program Management & Operations, Networks

2. How are you responding to meet the changing needs of your customer?

I’ve learned that it’s important to customize your client approach – but most especially during such unprecedented times. We normally deal with inherently fluctuating business drivers. For example, externally, target dates for key network feature launches tend to fluctuate. Internally, we’re managing our own software/hardware feature delivery, which can sometimes shift. But now, we’re supporting our clients through increased professional and personal uncertainties. This has required a heightened focus on understanding each client’s current experience and outlook. As a result, I now make the added effort to pivot from discussing work-related topics to chatting about non-business factors to better understand each individual client’s needs.

Networks - Reinventing Roles - COVID 19
Jisha and her team embarking on a team-building adventure. (Photo 2019)

3. How are you keeping your customers and colleagues safe while playing a reimagined role in customers’ lives?

Besides halting all in-person meetings with clients and colleagues since March, we’ve been strictly following state guidelines and client policies to ensure the safety of our field and lab engineers across the U.S. That said, we prepare year-round for business continuity and resiliency scenarios as we have a high standard for reliability. Given the growing demand for broadband access now – for schools offering distance learning and doctors shifting to telemedicine – we’re also putting a lot of work into bringing 5G and 5G-enabled broadband to rural areas and urban businesses while increasing reliability with the next network buildout.

4. Which new habits and behaviors do you anticipate will continue in the long run?

I believe the concept of the workplace will evolve. I expect there will be more industry-wide reliance on video conferencing and virtual meetings versus the previously preferred mode of face-to-face. As a member of the Networks team, I am excited to be a part of the 5G infrastructure being deployed, as it is powering so many of these video streams.

Though I personally wasn’t a fan of remote work in the past, the productivity that I’ve continued to witness throughout this pandemic has made me re-evaluate old biases. The value of personal interaction will never fully go away, but I believe we will be more prudent in assessing if a client or colleague meeting necessitates spending valuable time traveling or commuting. For instance, I’ve received feedback from my team and others on how the decrease in travel/commute times has allowed great efficiency and flexibility in supporting late night/early morning calls, which is a necessary part of our jobs. I intend to take into account this feedback for the future.

Networks - Reinventing Roles - COVID 19
Jisha and her team enjoy the sandy shore – what could be better than a beach setting for a team meeting? (Photo 2019)

5. Will their new and potentially everlasting behaviors transform the industry’s future?

I expect that our traditional notion of an “office” will go through an industry transformation. The days of assigned cubicles and offices are naturally evolving to one that allows employees the flexibility to work from anywhere. Personally, this is still an adjustment for me, but I think the industry will start diverting funds invested in facilities towards technology that fuels digital collaboration, productivity and education. It will also allow organizations to access new pools of talent with fewer locational constraints.

For instance, the traditional 9-to-5 structure doesn’t exist anymore; so many of our employees are often on calls at 6 a.m. or 10 p.m. to support global needs. Investing in remote work technology will allow employees to balance non-traditional work hours with their personal lives.

The pandemic has definitely highlighted the environmental, financial and personal benefits of incorporating more remote work into our regular work experience. Whether fully remote or hybrid or on-site, it will be interesting to see how the workplace of the future will take shape – but there’s no doubt that technology will play a central role. And, here at Samsung, we know a thing or two about technology.

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