Diversity & Inclusion – Sophie Hamm on Returning to Work

At GoGlobal, most staff across the globe work from home not just because of the pandemic but it has been our culture before that. This flexible work arrangement is highly valued by our employees. Here we have Sophie, who truly values this flexible work culture GoGlobal provides.

GoGlobal: Can you introduce yourself and your background?

Sophie: I used to be an HR generalist in MNCs in Korea and experienced all the pillars of HR early on in my career and hold a master’s degree in HRM. When my husband was pursuing his Ph.D. in the US, I left my job and decided to start a family there with him. Today I’m a mother of a 3-year-old daughter who has returned to work after almost a three-year break. I joined GoGlobal last July as an internal HR manager and local HR representative for our Korea employees.

GoGlobal: How did you join GoGlobal after the break?

Sophie: Our family returned to Korea after my husband accepted a job offer from Korea. After the move, I went ahead searching for a job to continue my career. Then I found this job of which job description really caught my attention – perfect opportunity to utilize my HR experience and to explore and learn in new area – Employment of Record (EOR) industry. I was especially fascinated in the part of the JD saying, “we are looking for someone with flexibility/start-up mindset and able to perform tasks in different area,” and that “we are super supportive of women, moms and offer flexibility on schedule.”

GoGlobal:  Can you tell me about this local rep role, and how it is a part of the EOR service?

Sophie: Local HR rep’s role is to support the in-country client employees to ensure they have a great experience with GoGlobal. Since our client employees’ ultimate managers are overseas and they mostly work from home, I believe this local HR support for them is very important. I would assist them with their onboarding process and provide on-the-ground HR support and be their point of contact on an ongoing basis. I also provide guidance on common practices in Korea, help escalate client employee’s concern or issue, and ensure compliance in our employment. Recently, I even helped one of our clients to source and arrange grief counselling for the loss of an employee.

GoGlobal:  What’s it like managing the HR function in a remote global workplace? What’s the challenges, and how does it differ from a normal HR function?

Sophie: While remote workplace provides flexibility, it also entails challenges such as lack of face-to-face supervision, distraction at home, and social isolation. We believe ‘mutual trust’ is very important when managing HR function in a remote global workplace. Instead of supervising a lot, we give more flexibility and responsibility to our employees. As an example, we have flexible vacation policy, which allows employees to take as much leave as they need as long as they fulfil their duties. We have flexible work arrangement policy, letting our employee to choose how they work, when they work, and where they work. Also, in order to reduce social isolation, we have been trying to increase employee engagement activities by having virtual parties or quick contests. Last month, we had a virtual Hanami (Cherry Blossom Watching) party, which is a Japanese tradition, but interestingly so many of our employees from different countries from Asia to Europe joined and had fun interacting. We plan to have more virtual events like this in the future.

GoGlobal: How’s your life with GoGlobal?

Sophie: It’s been intense since GoGlobal’s business is growing so fast. Even though I work from home 100%, I work more hours than I did before when I was single, working full-time at an MNC. But thanks to the flexible working environment, I have the control over my work schedule to balance it with my personal life. I can drop my kid off to preschool and run some errands while working most efficiently and save time and energy from commuting.

GoGlobal: Any tips from you to new working mothers?

Sophie: The world is changing and there are so many new types of work and lifestyle. I do not think there’s a “one size fit all” tip to new working mothers. This is my story of how I ended up where I am now as one reference