Article: Leading through COVID-19 and beyond


Leading through COVID-19 and beyond

From leadership to the bottom-line, from operations to safety and security, how can we re-imagine our organizations for a faster recovery? Here is what CEOs think on navigating through the crisis.
Leading through COVID-19 and beyond

What are some of the learnings from 2020 so far? What could have we done differently to be more prepared for a viral outbreak such as COVID-19? How do we prepare for potential future crises? What role can the technology industry play? From leadership to the bottom-line, from operations to safety and security, how can we re-imagine our organizations for a faster recovery?

When we talk about organizational culture, we mainly refer it to articulating values of the company and what matters the most in that organization. However, cultural problems emerge when there is an inconsistency between the cognitive and emotional cultures within the business. If the shared values of the organization do not align with the feelings and attitudes of individual workers, the company culture will collapse.

While it is not unusual for a gap to exist between the two, it is during times of crisis that the difference becomes extremely apparent; importantly, it is at times of crisis that the true values of a business become clear.

This is why it is so important that employers are mindful of the steps they’re taking to ensure cultural consistency while their team is in lockdown (crisis). It is a time to consider the purpose of the organization during the crisis and how they can openly communicate this to staff to ensure that actions and decisions are aligned with the company priorities.

In this exclusive CEO panel discussion on Day-1 of People Matters Virtual TechHR India 2020, leaders across the regions and industries came together to address the shifts brought by the pandemic. They discussed how they reimagined the organization and what needs to bed odne more.

Chaired by Ester Martinez, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, People Matter, the discussion saw views, experience, and focus areas shared by Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, India, Sanket Atal, Managing Director, Intuit, and T V Narendran, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel Limited.

Here are the top three lessons from our experts to responding to the new normal and managing the crisis:

Over Communicate:

Getting your organization to realize its full potential starts with creating a culture that encourages robust communication. Given the extended work from home and surrounding uncertainty, the right communication strategy is critical more than ever now in the times of widespread work from home.

Agile HR policies and processes

We are looking at quick fixes, something that is seamless, and somewhere people can be rearranged quickly and creatively without making major structural changes or even fundamental changes to the organizational setup. That is where agility takes centre stage- agility in terms of processes, in terms of methodology, in terms of solutions and execution on the ground. The utopian world we would want to live in is frankly getting replaced by a VUCA environment which doesn’t only disrupt a lot of things that we believed in or grew up with. It is completely blurring our geographical boundaries and also business leaders require to take multi-pronged approach. The brick and mortar office setup that we were also used to has to take a back seat. T V Narendran, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel Limited, shares, “We need to adapt and reinvent continuously for effective talent management and shed traditional HR policies and processes.”


While the majority of the workforce is working from home– the need to stay connected with colleagues and business stakeholders is more important than ever. How do we tackle internal collaboration and knowledge sharing today, when workshops, brainstorms, meetings and face-to-face discussions are limited?

Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce, India shares, organizations need to focus a lot more on collaboration than anything. A right collaboration strategy will take the productivity level higher.

In recent weeks, digital collaboration tools such as Zoom, Slack and Microsoft Teams have been widely adopted to help employees conduct everyday business through online meetings, desktop sharing, and video conferencing. However, Sanket Atal, Managing Director, Intuit shared, one challenge he highlighted was Zoom Fatigue. He shares not every meetings need to be on Zoom and a employers need to focus and encourage wellbeing of their employees.

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Topics: Leadership, #COVID-19, #TechHRIN

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