“I don’t know with whom I should speak!” “I feel disconnected with my team!” “My boss does not understand my situation during WFH!” “Most of my team is unwell, how am I to manage work?” “I have so much pressure from my boss, the timeline is due and I’m not able to get in touch with my team”… and the list goes on.
These are common statements we all have heard multiple times as managers, HRs, peers, especially so since March 2020. Globally, we had a challenge at our hands, which the world had never faced before – How do we manage employees when literally everyone is working remotely? How do we ensure productivity? How do we ensure that our employees are fine? – Supplemented by another challenge – When will this end?
The perpetuity of the challenges brought in by COVID only made it more difficult and we tried to learn along the way. Meanwhile, HR as a function underwent a sea of change. The scope has gone beyond managing the employee cycle at the workplace. It now includes ensuring wellbeing of employees, maintaining business continuity and keeping employees as well as their families anchored to the company & connected across locations including plant locations.
Our main priority as an organization has been our employees and we undertook multiple steps to ensure availability of medical infrastructure for them. This involved procuring Oxygen Concentrators, tying up with doctors for tele-consultation, providing nutritional supplements as suggested by the doctors, organizing vaccination camps for our employees and their family members and regular testing. We took up additional medical coverage for our employees especially for COVID treatment and organized webinars on a multitude of wellness topics like yoga, nutrition, mental wellness, vaccination myth busting, etc. by certified practitioners.
We consciously engaged with the family members of our employees as well on various occasions. As during this time, it was not just our employee, but also the whole family that was a part of the extended workplace for each one of us. We would organize various competitions like poster making, best out of waste for our employee’s children. We had cooking competition for mother’s day, republic day involving our family members. We also made the most of opportunity we could get when we would be in office; we had Zumba, cricket, kite flying competition. To recognize our little geniuses, we sent merit awards to the top students, i.e. children of our employees along with gift hampers.
Throughout, our efforts at have been to engage with our employees on an emotional level, as the last 2 years have limited the social interaction greatly, and increased the need for personal connects and interactions.
We took up additional medical coverage for our employees especially for COVID treatment and organized webinars on a multitude of wellness topics like yoga, nutrition, mental wellness, vaccination myth busting, etc. by certified practitioners.
Alongside this, ensuring we have listening mechanisms in place became all the more important; to understand how employees are feeling on a daily basis. We launched the CEO Culture Dashboard survey for this. Basis the feedback and the concern areas, we identify the action plan. In the Post COVID times, communication has become one of the cornerstones for employee engagement and we even saw this through our feedback. Thus, we have continued & strengthened our initiatives such as town halls with the leadership team for open dialogue.
As an organization, we believe in transparency and having structured priorities, thus we have business level and functional level priorities. We continually communicate on the Functional Priorities. We have taken feedback on the policies, and how we can improve them. We have direct HR & CEO connects for our employees for a personal relation building as well as creating open communication channels.
We have continued to stay connected with employees by leveraging technology. Even the rewards & Recognition ceremonies moved online. We have an earmarked budget across several different categories of awards. We also organized an Appreciation week to encourage employees to recognize each other’s efforts. As an organization, we also encourage employees to share their ideas via Eideabox and any suggestions for small improvements.
Post COVID, we are experiencing the phenomenon of the Great Resignation. This has called for expediting the development of our internal talent. We have invested in our top talent by providing them the platform to work on functional and cross-functional projects and partnered with Harvard Business Publishing for their development. We also rolled out LinkedIn learning to build on the culture of learning.
It now includes ensuring wellbeing of employees, maintaining business continuity and keeping employees as well as their families anchored to the company & connected across locations including plant locations.
As an organization, our employees are our biggest assets and their wellbeing & engagement is of prime importance. At a time when companies are facing challenges to call back employees to office, we have successfully maintained flexibility wherein we move to roster working or Work from Home, wherever the nature of the work allows us, or office working. We do not believe in constant monitoring of employees, whether in office or at home, but believe in their integrity and that our employees are responsible enough. In addition, we feel that in the post COVID times, this helps us an organization, as we continue to keep our trust fabric strong.
Now at a time when workforce is more diverse than ever in terms of the mindset, owing to the entry of Gen Z in the workforce, it is important that we provide a workplace that has meaningful work, have open communication channels and provide the space to our employees where they can learn & grow.
Overall, communication, culture and community now form the base and are the most important pillars to work on for any organization. I believe that a big role is definitely played by the leadership team and their ability to see the bigger picturein this changing work environment, especially in the post Covid-19 era.