There are very few organizations that have less or not affected by this pandemic situation, created by the spread of Covid-19. Organizations are taking many measures for safety, health & well-being of their employees and some organizations are going extra step by caring the family members of employees & society as well.
In this pandemic situation, keeping the mental wellbeing of employees and their family members is the utmost important task. How a HR can play a major role in ensuring the wellbeing of its employees and their family members is very critical and all HR practitioners have contributed as per their processes and management guidelines in this critical situation. Especially when the pressure is from both side, Top as well as Bottom.
Many a time, we at family also face this kind of situation, when due to some unexpected happening or incident in the family, anyone can go in a cash crunch kind of situation, or face some or other issue. And a happy family always sit together and sort out the issue for the benefit of whole family. In exactly similar way, happy organizations also work. Similar way engaged employees also contribute. Similar way a responsible management also behaves. But one immature decision of a family member or small friction in family may lead to big trouble for whole family and may lead to disaster in family or in an organization.
When, together in good times, why not in bad times? Effective & uninterrupted communication plays a vital role in handling this type of situation. If the situation is well communicated to the employees, 10% salary reduction was not a big deal, when it is coming to the plant shutdown and affecting the Jobs of employees in many organizations. Many big companies have adopted a new strategy of communication like: Virtual Open Houses with employees, with employees families and celebration of festivals virtually, to keep them engaged.
While opening up these virtual platforms for employees and their families, organizations used this platform for communicating the present business performance, challenges and support required from employees as well. So continuous communication was required from very first day of lock down. When salaries were paid for the lock down period, workers might have understood the situation of organization, if properly communicated. This is the episode of lack of clear communication within the management and by management to workers. As, if, the decision is taken by top management (Group HR Head & Directors), It was the responsibility of Plant HR & COO to implement it successfully and effectively.
See, there is always a pressure on HR from both side, from top management & from employees side. And now it's all up to the HR Professional that how he took the decision or communicate the decision to down the line, by ensuring participative way of decision making. Group HR Head could have call Plant HR & COO for a meeting and could have discussed the effective implementation strategy with both, rather just communicating the implementation part. It was the first lapse at implementation part which could have been differently strategized.
After first step, receiving the communication from top management (Group HR Head and Directors), again there was a time to strategize the things in a better way. As both plant HR Head and COO were having a good rapport with the workers, and actually they have played a very good role in resolving the grievance of workers in time and defunct the existing union. Following are the actions expected from Plant HR & COO for effective implementation of decision given by top management:
- Owning the decision of top management, preparation of strategy and implementation of the same in a full forced and whole hearted manner.
- Conducting the regular meetings with welfare committee member and communicating them the business scenario.
- Communication must be with both old and young employees.
- Effective communication to all workers regarding positive steps taken by management on continuous basis in this critical time.
- Communication of salary reduction in management cadre as well and asking for help for certain period of time.
- Effective and continuous communication regarding process of pending Increments time to time.
- Gaining the trust of employees that organization is with them in this critical time and nobody is going to lose the job but this is the time when everyone has to collectively fight with this natural disaster.
Simple strategies could have saved this organization from this kind of situation, where an employee lost his life and brought the organization to this level. One must understand that small friction within the employees or management or workers, may lead to big disaster.
As this has now become the situation out of control, Plant HR Head, COO must suggest the top management to provide the legitimate compensation to the family of deceased employee ASAP, without making further delay. And should again try to build certain platforms of effective communication with employees irrespective of age and membership of union and gain the trust of employees.
Bhaskar Dharival, Sr. Manager HRD, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. Gujarat