2020 was a year where organizations had to seriously relook at employee experience. It was a year that redefined their outlook towards EX in a big way, forcing them to tune up and listen empathetically to employees and act fast. While 2021 brought hope with the authorization and dissemination of the first COVID-19 vaccines, yet it is safe to say we are not going to the old ways of working anytime soon. This means organizations have a chance to seriously relook at the culture they are building and the experience they are going to deliver in the second year of the pandemic.
So what is next for employee experience? How can we redefine it for our new world of work, a big part of which has transitioned to hybrid work? In an exclusive interaction with us, V Krishnan, CHRO Havells India, shares what does employee experience in the new hybrid reality looks like.
How do we reboot Employee Experience and tune up for success in our changed world of work?
The pandemic situation has brought a paradigm shift in our ways of working. These trying times pushed us to recalibrate business plans and strategies and move towards scenario-based planning and execution in a dynamic world. Reliable internet connectivity has enabled us to use collaborative tools promoting inclusiveness among all the employees, regardless of their location.
To ensure zero impact on work, our philosophy of ‘people at the core’ has extensively helped us to keep our employees safe and ensure quality-led outcomes for all our stakeholders.
We have leveraged smart technologies in our manufacturing facilities. This has enabled us to reduce workload and help our employees to focus and build their expertise on critical tasks; thereby improving efficiencies and productivity of our workforce.
What does employee experience in the new hybrid reality of work look like? What are some of the key defining parameters?
We have seen that our people are agile and adapting quickly to these unprecedented times. The way people have people have reinvented themselves is commendable. As soon as we had hit the lockdown, employees were able to recalibrate to the new working style quite seamlessly. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised, that even the team members whom we thought will find this new way of working a challenge, quickly unlearned and relearned.
With a hybrid work model, we believe that the virtual collaborative platforms will be at the forefront. The core of employee experience will be to ensure employees feel connected, informed, and involved in a virtual space similar to the physical space. Technology enablement coupled with empathy and human touch is key to maintaining the essential cultural ingredients of Havells, which is among the Great Places to Work.
Benefits have undergone a major change as work models changed and employees need different benefits in a post-pandemic world. How will organizations reimagine benefits for a hybrid world and technology’s role in that?
The major change in benefits from the pre-pandemic to the post-pandemic world would be to move from ‘letter to spirit’.
We will have to move from policies to tangible actions which deliver impact where it is needed. To give some examples; it is not just about a policy that we will cover the cost of vaccines for all on roll and off roll employees but to also ensure that the same is being actioned for the target population and closely tracked through technology.
We are currently attempting to import Oxygen Concentrators for those interested, for all our employees and channel partners on a landed cost basis.
Wellbeing as a focus area for organizations was majorly thrust into prominence for all organizations in 2020. What are the key trends that are emerging in 2021?
Unlike last time in 2020, there is no National Lockdown, while the states have been allowed to take a call on local containment as required. In a situation like this where commerce is continuing, though with varying intensity, the onus of protecting ‘health and business’ lies squarely with organizations.
Havells has continuously taken various initiatives to ensure the health and wellness of its employees. Through our latest vaccination program, we covered the cost of COVID-19 vaccination for all our direct and indirect employees in India above 18 years of age through a reimbursement process. Recently, Havells also carried out a robust vaccination program and successfully vaccinated 95% of its direct and indirect employees above 45 years of age across 13 manufacturing plants. This was achieved through a combination of On-Site vaccination camps and tie-ups with various hospitals both government and private.
To further prevent the spread of COVID-19 the company had taken initiatives involving technology i.e. use of AI and IoT solutions to maintain a safer environment for the workforce. Havells partnered with BLP Industry.AI (“Industry.AI”), an enterprise AI and industrial IoT company to deploy “Trust AI”. It is an Artificial Intelligence, and Computer Vision powered video analytics monitoring product that issues an alert to a factory administrator when anyone is less than the desired distance from a colleague. This cost-effective technology is also enabled to detect when people are not wearing masks, helmets, or safety gear.
Automation has been an integral part of the manufacturing process at Havells from the very start. This has enabled us to utilize the workforce more efficiently at our plants in the country. Many of or sub-processes within the factories have been altered to suit the changed norms of social distancing within the work environment.
The major trend for 2021 is going to be proactive management of health and wellness, leveraging the learning from the last year.
Employee experience in 2021 requires continuous hearing and feedback from the organization rather than once in a quarter or once in six months surveys. How can organizations build a continuous approach to EX?
While we introduced tech interventions and solutions to maintain business continuity, we must actively engage with our employees through virtual ‘direct touch’ mechanisms either one to many or one on one, to know how they are feeling, what are their challenges, and how to garner support for whoever is in need. Creating multiple communities and a safety net where people quickly come together to help each other provides a lot of strength to anyone in distress.
Know more about what’s new in employee experience at the People Matters Employee Experience India Conference on 10th June, 2021. Register Now!