Article (May-2020)


Manage with technique in tough times

Pramod Kumar Tripathi

Designation : -   AGM - HR

Organization : -  Bajaj Energy Limited


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The Whole team of 24x7 Power Solution Company was not much more enthusiastic though the CEO of the Company Mr. Rupendra has visionary influence. Mr Rupendra had visualise the business situation pre Lock down and post lockdown but he never thought about the crisis management capabilities of their functional heads/front line leaders. It seems the core managing team (Sales, Services, Spare parts, HR & others) has never faced a tough and tight situation earlier nor they have been trained about crisis management. It proved during the meeting called by CEO Ruppendra and no one could give an alternate solution to chase the crisis except HR head, who assured to give some solution to overcome the situation to some extent. The reply of Sales Head & Service heads was most discouraging in business context particularly when the business comes under the brackets of essential services. The Functional Heads of the company have no guts and will to continue their service that's why they did not prepare their team to continue at least maintenance services. Here there is lack of motivational factors. They have not prepared themselves for managing disaster. They were only habitual of continuing their services in normal times and it came as major drawback for them and company. The statement of Sales Head to stop the sales and the version of Service Head to close the services, when the business of power solution is dire need in this situation, showing multiple shortcomings in all team leaders, a resistance of change and lack of motivational traits in functional Heads. At this juncture, we would say the functional Head were encircled with all three- resistance to change, short of motivation and challenged leadership skills. Only the HR head had put their hope to fight with situation and come up with positive alternative to safeguard the Team and continue the business in minimal manners.

By seeing the situation and response of core team leaders, it give the impression that they are not having the performance driven attitude particularly when external factors like COVID 19 hit the business. The CEO should have analysed the paralysis of all functional Heads. He should have to inject a sense of motivation for the discouraged Heads. The CEO should start the
conversation with employees to keep them motivated and let them know what is going on in the company and will keep them aware why their job is more essential. No leader will succeed or perform right away without paying considerable attention on their core capabilities and the skills. CEO has to formulate a long term I-5 concept in all frontline Leaders- Initiate, Involve, Inspire, Improvise & Implement. The toughest challenge in dealing with this situation is multiplicity of problems like psychological, business & a crisis management problem.

First, Mr. Rupendra has to think about the Gensets and its spare parts which are in transit; it should be safely placed in the designated area. He has to take further the views of Heads/employees. A daily designated stock taking sprouting scenario locally and taking reactive measures to safeguard is must. A designated member should take minutes of the meeting (MoM) and file it for future reference. He should have to form a Core Disaster Committee (CDC) with an official spokesperson (CEO or HR Head) for internal communications. Create a whats app group and common group email id for trouble-free coordination and message amongst the team. The CDC should work as proactive to undertake the challenges posed by COVID-19 both to the health of employees and associates with the organization and to the largely business performance of the company. It is worthwhile to setup a governance model to supervise and manage various measures aimed at extenuating the potential crisis. A disaster plan should also be charted out to evaluate various risk factors to the organization (including potential health hazards) and put in place plan to diminish its adverse impact, daily keep an eye on the nature of tête-à-tête pertaining to the company's response to COVID-19 & its impact. Usual and unswerving official Internal notice via WhatsApp groups, Email, Posters on Notice Boards and even on company website can enhance the awareness and transparency. Mr. Rupendra has to initiate health plan coverage (preventive and treatment) for employees, their attendance, paid time off, payroll continuation, travel, and group meetings. He should also roll out communication to lay emphasis on the need for employees to self-quarantine (with information to functional Head & HR) if exhibiting any of the viral symptoms and clearly eloquent the procedures and outlook that employees should follow. He should also promote safe official travel policy for service engineers and technicians with clear guidance on safety protocols supplement with guidance from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and WHO. Circulate Information that helps out employees to deal with work-life balance in this traumatic period. Throw light on the fear and delineate the steps the organization is taking on behalf of its employees. Mr. Rupendra being CEO of the Company should remember that this is not a time to sell, but it is a time to support the community and be empathetic.