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India is today the fifth largest staffing market globally and is expected to employ approximately 6.1 million flexi-workforce by end of 2021.

Over the past five years, the industry has grown at a rate of 20-25% per year, and it is not showing any signs of slowing down as yet.

ZingHR hosted an exclusive closed Round-Table discussion to understand the views of  Staffing and FMS Industry Leaders on expected trends in this industry during and post Covid.

Speakers

Ms. Bhavna Udernani

MD, Adhaan Solution Pvt Ltd


Mr. Rahul Guha

Head HR, Compass Group

Mr. Kunal Gupta

Founder & CEO,Mount Talent Consulting

Mr. Aamir Ajmal

Co-Founder & CEO, Altum Staffing & Marketing Solutions Pvt Ltd


Mr. Manish Newatia

Business Head, TeamSpace

Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamani

HR Leader, Sodexo

Ms. Sonali Sahu

HR Manager, Adventz


Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Advisory Board, ZingHR

Mr. Paras Gupta

Solution Expert, ZingHR

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Growth & Marketing Head, ZingHR

Opening Notes

Ms. Bhavna Udernani shared her perspective on the evolution of the Staffing Industry in the next 2 years. In her opinion, the industry is expected to bloom. As experienced, Covid has led to multiple job cuts and reverse migration, this will pave the path for restructuring and corrections. Overall the demand for blue and grey collared workers might rise up.

Mr. Rahul Guha who predominantly works in the Facility Management industry, felt, looking at the current situation, many of the businesses are not doing very well and there is a need to relook at them. Due to this there is a need to look at the new service lines. According to him, in the long term, there will be a lot of learning post Covid, and the business might take a new turn; companies might need to adapt to a new way of doing business, think of new products and there will be collaborations in FMS. Technology is also expected to take a front seat.

Mr. Kunal Gupta was of the opinion that it’s a mixed bag from a Staffing perspective. He had two major thoughts.  First was, in his opinion, the labor costs in India are expected to go up. When China had a lockdown in the year 2008-09, they had to hike the salaries of laborers by 30-40% to reopen the factories; but this has not yet happened in India, so it’s new.

Secondly, with fewer companies working, there has still been no shortage of labor (in Delhi NCR). There has been no difficulty in finding talent.

Thirdly there has been a decrease in commercials, where the companies are trying to do the best with what they have.

He feels that the usage of technology will rise further and it will be an omni-channel model.

There has been a significant change in the co-working spaces, where many are shutting down, and hotels like Marriot are opening coworking lobbies which is an exciting space to get into. Large corporates are looking to sign up and change the modus operandi in which they employ and their teams work.

As per Mr. Kunal, India is a combination of multiple growing industries and it may or may not be able to move to a complete work from home model. There is a dearth of infrastructure, lack of smooth electricity.

AI Technology can be used to check the stress levels of people. In his opinion, next 3 months would be the defining period for the industry.

Mr. Ravi Kikan shared his thoughts here, where he said there were many thoughts on merging co-living and co-working spaces in today’s situation, which can boom as an industry.

In Mr. Kunal’s opinion, a desk closer to the homes is a trend that we will see. Not everyone can work from home, but companies will start providing desks which are closer to the employees’ home. This will have a significant effect on the staffing industry.

Mr. Aamir Ajmal agreed and elaborated on the views shared by the other panelist; where he mentioned there will be corrections in the industry. In the New Normal, some industries will bounce back faster while some would take time. Like others, the Staffing industry has also been hit by the Covid, but it will bounce back. Agreeing to Mr. Rahul’s perspective, he said that collaboration is the need of the hour – collaboration between clients & service providers, with the government and with the IT enablers. Technology will now be the game changer. As per him, the touch and feel will change to Phygital.

He feels there would be a range of outcomes post Covid, both favorable and unfavorable.

Outsourcing is more than a service, where we need to take care of employees and make them feel comfortable. We need to hear out our front line workers and understand their pain points. HR Technology will play an important role here, especially for workers who are now in remote areas. We need to be more empathetic in this New Normal.

Mr. Manish Newatia gave his opening notes from both technology and business perspectives. According to him, there has been demand on crunching margins and bringing down costs across the board which include lay-offs and downsizing. Thus Staffing as an industry is already facing multiple challenges, and in his opinion it will take up to 6 months for the industry to bounce back post Covid. The agencies with presence in multiple locations will drive the growth, where the key would be to get back the resources that have moved from cities to rural areas.

Communication will be another key, where HR Tech Tools with inbuilt chat options, geo-fencing will play an important role. Large organizations are looking at a different way of working; and it will be extremely necessary to stay connected with the resources that are on ground and communicate effectively.

Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamani had a slightly different perspective to share. He resonated with the challenges that the industry is going through and will go through in the New Normal. The first learning for Sodexo was having a large number of medical front liners in Wuhan, China. Almost 800 Sodexo employees worked there. This led to a solution ‘Rise with Sodexo’, where multiple customers have signed up. The pandemic made us think of solutions involving global safety standards, when our employees stepped into the factories. He currently is working as an APAC leader, and has observed that they are doing well in China and Australia as compared to pre Covid; the reason being implementation of disruptive technologies as per the requirement. As per him they are still tailgating in India, but are positive that they will be able to implement similar strategies here.

Today 90% of the market is unorganized, 5% works organized and the rest 5% is in the grey area. The swift change will bring in value driven services.

He feels it is equally important to train the employees especially the front liners; and they have developed 10000 hours of training content for the same.

Sodexo also started an open portal, https://www.sodexorise.com/, which is like Wikipedia for FMS has data on guidelines and help required in this pandemic. This is one way of combating the situation together.

Although the industry in India is in lull right now, it will grow up post Covid if we implement these strategies.

Dr. Prasanth Nair gave his opening notes, where he mentioned that he can see this industry preparing for the wave of New Normal. He shared his three observations pertaining to this industry:

  • Demand Generators and Source Foods will change going forward
  • Technology will play an important role in ensuring ease of transaction and later might replace certain mundane jobs. For instance robots cannot get infected or spread infection while working
  • The cost of labor might go up, given the increase in need of sanitation, hygiene and safety

Collaboration will be needed amongst partners, there will be a need for innovation in services and technology adoption would become essential.

Ms. Sonali Sahu shared her views, where she mentioned that organizations need to be focused on retail chains, agreed operations, e-commerce and logistics companies. In her opinion certain industries will change and will have an impact.

Sunrise and Growth industries focus and how staffing industries will evolve?

Ms. Bhavna Udernani feels that this is a temporary phase, and all the industries will bounce back in New Normal and have its own space. The demand and supply might be slightly affected. Growth has been observed in e-commerce, logistics and IT industry, and they have been focusing currently on them.

World has been getting back to normalcy, major manufacturing units have started working full-fledged even in cities which are under major lockdown. Apart from some problems in manpower and demand, things are getting back to normal.

How has the market responded to HRTech in terms of Staffing Industry as a whole?

Mr. Paras Gupta shared his perspective, where he said that the lockdown is getting diminished on a weekly basis and is expected to be completely diminished by the end of the quarter. The companies will run in the market in full terms; however there will be cognizance to keep the costs lower. This sentiment might lead to large companies outsourcing their workforce. Of late there has been a report that Naukri.Com has launched a live tracker, where 1700 companies are hiring for 19000 positions. Keywords like Information Technology, Network Security have seen a surge of double usage in comparison to the same month last year. One deduction might be that companies are looking at enabling their employees to work from home, which is leading to job opportunities in these domains. New unprecedented jobs like academic counselors in edtech platforms, executives for keeping a check on quarantined patients are observed. So in totality I have a positive outlook on growth of this sector.

HRTech will work as an enabler as well as an acquisition tool for this sector. It can help in process optimization as well as help the industries stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive market.

Business Outcomes can be categorized in three brackets:

  • Impact on Top Line
  • Impact on BottomLine – how can HRTech Software help in fixing revenue leakages?
  • Regular process optimization which HR Software Solutions  can bring into processes. It could be enabling the workforce, doing things on mobility.

Lastly, it can help the organizations to make data driven decisions.

Rise in Gig Economy and will there be any changes in the Sunrise and Growth Industries in 2020-21?

Mr. Aamir Ajmal shared his thoughts, where he feels all the industries will come back to normal, but some will rise up quicker as compared to others. Agreeing to Ms. Bhavna’s perspective, he said that this phase is temporary, and New Normal might go back to normalcy. This might be of benefit as everyone will start using technology. Talking about industries, he said along with e-commerce, FMCG is also coming up; with a dent that they have got, they will come back with a bigger force in the market to make up for the losses. Essential services have been doing well even during the lockdown, but the impacted industries will come back with a bigger force post lockdown.

He also touched upon usage of technology in recruitment, where earlier 99% people opted for manual options. But the pandemic has taught us that digitization and technology are the future in this New Normal.

Will investment in digitization increase in Staffing companies compared to before? What technologies will be used in perspective of outcomes?

Mr. Kunal Gupta was of the opinion that digitization needs to increase, and processes need to be automated wherever possible. With margins getting thinner and efficiencies demanded being stronger and harder, digitization will definitely go up. A slight fall in job site usages has been observed, usage and more automation on the job site is going to increase. The Core High Tech sector is already making use of Chatbots for interviews, this might go further up. There might be an increase in assessment tools. Faster replacement is a very important point especially in staffing.

From a payroll point of view, many staffing organizations had been using only payroll management software. In his opinion, many more areas around productivity would be automated.

Emotional AI which started in western countries around 2 years back can also take a prominence in this sector.

How can HRTech solutions help the Staffing industry in Top Line and Bottom Line outcomes?

Mr. Kunal Gupta mentioned that one of the larger areas surrounding HRTech has got a large to do with NLP. Considerable advances in this area have been observed in the past few years. Tools like Amazon or Google Alexa provide a very high level of precision in conversion of instructions. One essential tool for company branding and homogeneous selection is definitely Robotic Interviews and Digital Staffing.

Digital Hiring will take prominence for two reasons; speed and quality of hiring.

There have been developments around learning, but before that there needs to be a solution on skill-mapping which includes workforce planning, competency mapping. These are the current gaps in digital staffing.

From a Bottom Line perspective, you need to have standards as in what work is expected from people and automate as much work management as possible.

Technology upgradation, measurable outcomes from Staffing and Facility Management point of view

Mr. Manish Newatia shared his opinion, in the Staffing industry the major work is to ensure that most of the workforce is live and active; and tools are required to monitor the same. Today when the majority of the workforce is working from home, it is essential for us to give insights to our customers on who all are working and who are not, for allocation of jobs to these resources.

Modules like talent acquisition software, on-boarding software, attendance management software which are more mobile and device friendly in nature are required to be implemented and used in this sector. Apart from them, some level of integration with customer staffing tools is needed to check which resources are able to perform better while working remotely; else it will become difficult for the resources to work on multiple platforms.

There are many organizations that want the staffing agency to report back to them on resource productivity. So it is essential that solutions have the mechanism to capture these details which can be shared across as and when required.

Rise of the Gig Economy, outcome based products which can give Top Line and Bottom Line Productivity

Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamani had a perspective that the Gig Economy will flourish. In Indian market, many companies reach out to them for new ways of labor cost optimization. While from a compliance point, Gig is not the best way to do it, we have done research to check how Gig can help in both employee and employer perspective. Compliances are very strong in India, the main reason why many companies prefer having partners rather than employees. How do we make an employee work in a Gig concept is something that we are working on. From an Indian market perspective, we are working on the idea of blending both the worlds of traditional employee-employer and Gig employee who is more considered as a partner.

Technology can play a great role in terms of supporting the Gig economy, as it comes from a path where you are able to leverage the skills of an individual and pay them. Irrespective of the industry, if we are able to build a successful model, it will be helpful as the liability between the employee and the employer will not exist.

Change in labor laws for blue collar workforce

Ms. Bhavna Udernani personally feels that there will not be many changes to the labor law, but the way of working in the Staffing Industry will change. People might start looking at the productivity based model in place of regular employment. This will make the contractor the principal employer. But we are unsure of how successful this model will be, as the organization will lose control over the employee and productivity might be impacted.

Insourcing vs. Outsourcing, post Gig Economy, around 6-9 months down the line

According to Ms. Bhavna Udernani, the demand in the IT industry will definitely go down, as they will prefer having people on their payroll. For the blue collar and rest of the industry, in her opinion the numbers will not change, they will go high.

In Mr. Aamir Ajmal’s opinion, we will observe a shift. Definition of outsourcing might change and its original definition might see a brighter side. It will no more be the simple vanilla outsourcing of manpower, but bigger outsourcing. The balance between insourcing and outsourcing will change, and in his opinion, outsourcing will take the front seat. Companies who currently provide only payroll management software solutions might have to get into other services like payroll outsourcing services, claims management, statutory compliances as well. This will be a game changer for everyone.

Mr. Manish Newatia drew from his own experience, where there are many customers who are now changing their work style from B2B to B2C. In his opinion, this will change the focus from outsourcing to insourcing. For instance, many banks are currently reaching out to their clients directly without relying on any channel; so virtually there is no need for a back office or contact centre resource. If this model works for them, they will not change it post Covid.

In Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamani’s point of view, a combination of multiple things will happen. First will come from the best practices; many countries have reformed their labor laws in past years and seen its multiple benefits. Sodexo for instance has a healthy balance between insourcing and outsourcing, we have multiple partners. This approach is useful especially in Europe where we follow an omni-channel approach. Also while working in multi-country contracts we are able to leverage the benefits of this healthy balance. From a technology perspective, it acts as a connector, as we have a platform Workforce, which is the same for all the employees.

Will companies be cost sensitive in adopting technologies? How important will be analytics or dashboards for Staffing and FMS?

Mr. Manish Newatia mentioned that, in today’s scenario everyone is cost sensitive and careful of where they want to put their eggs. Until and unless there is a great value addition, people will not look at adding any form of costs. Analytics definitely will help depending upon which analytics meet the needs of the business model or industry.

As per Mr. Paras Gupta, there are customers who are using a platform and even their customers are using the same platform. So the comfort level that these customers get is very enticing to see. When insourced and outsourced employees use the same platform, the analytics that you can get are very synchronous. Multiple CXOs are looking at analytics daily to keep a check on their costs. For Staffing, analytics on daily payouts of the Gig workers, paid days, GSTs etc. are some of the essential analytics. Pandemic has opened wider doors for SaaS solutions in India.

In Ms. Bhavna Udernani’s perspective, the adoption of technology will go high, especially in coming times when there will be outsourcing, mapping of competencies, managing attrition and lowering the costs. Analytics will make things easy as today it’s extremely important to have your data ready with you to move forward.

Mr. Aamir Ajmal agreed that data analytics is a key for all leaders. If you cannot see your data in a dashboard in an easy and quick way then it adds to the problems. Analysis needs to be done for technology adoption, in terms of costs and outcomes. Another aspect is correctly utilizing the technology post implementation.

Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamni correctly mentioned that tech is not just a single solution, but multiple solutions. So the major part is ROI especially in the times when the businesses are not doing very well. But some investments need to be done for us to bounce back. The organization needs to see the value that the solution will add and the solution provider will have to curtail the requirements and show the ROI. Sodexo has started implementing PowerBI globally with multiple platforms like finance system, supply chain, HR and operations. We have built the same view for employees as well as our customers in terms of attrition rate, overtime etc. It helps in maintaining transparency and goes a long way.

What is the outcome post technology adoption that links to the Top Line or Bottom Line?

According to Mr. Manish Newatia, value addition plays an important role, which helps in distinguishing you from the rest. For Top Line it can contribute by telling your customers that you have something different from the rest; Bottom Line in terms of if you have any offering which helps in substantial reduction of costs.

Ms. Bhavna Udernani elaborated on Mr. Manish’s views and mentioned how Covid has changed the way of our working. So value addition and cost factor in her opinion are two most important factors at the moment.

In agreement with both the views, Mr. Aamir Ajmal further said it is equally important to look at the relevancy of the technology adoption at that moment; the need and urgency for it in the system.

As per Mr. Arun Kumar Thuyamani, reach in terms of audience and the tangibility that it will bring to the table are the easy metrics. But putting it in quantifiable metrics is difficult. It is equally important how we put our business case across the table and show revenue benefits.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

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The world’s largest microfinance market in India has come to a halt due to the lockdown. It caters to around 120 million families that have no access to financial services.

This sector makes use of the Grameen methodology, residence checks and financial literacy sessions, to provide unsecured loans, within a week of the initial application, to be paid back weekly/fortnightly or monthly as per the client’s preference.

So how does this sector, which caters to the Bottom of the Pyramid clients, always evolve stronger after every crisis?

Speakers

Mr. Alok Biswas

Mr. Alok Biswas

MD and Founder at Jankalyan Financial Services


Ms. Komal Sharma

Ms. Komal Sharma

HR Head at Svamaan Financial Services Pvt Ltd

Mr. Ashwini Kumar

Mr. Ashwini Kumar

Chief People Officer at Samasta Microfinance Limited

Mr. Vineet Chattree

Mr. Vineet Chattree

Director at Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd


Mr. Dinesh Saili

Mr. Dinesh Saili

Senior Vice President – MFI Operations at Sub-K IMPACT Solutions Ltd

Mr. Vijay Agarwal

Mr. Vijay Agarwal

Head – Microfinance at Shivalik Mercantile Co-operative Bank Ltd

Mr. Manish Jain

Mr. Manish Jain

CTO at Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited


Mr. Asutosh Mishra

Mr. Asutosh Mishra

Deputy HR Manager at Samasta Microfinance Limited

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

CEO  & Founder at ZingHR – A Global HR Tech Software Solution in India

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Growth & Marketing Head at ZingHR – A Global HR Tech Software Solution in India

Opening Notes

Mr. Alok Biswas gave his opening statements on the topic. He drew from his own experience where he left Axis Bank in 2010 and started Jagran Financial Services, and there was an economic crisis. People questioned his decision as money had dried up and there were no RBI regulations back then. But this is a different market and it bounced back. But the situation might not be the same during lockdown. There are multiple articles being published which indicate that the market will bounce back; but collection will be a key issue for MFI particularly. Retrenchment might happen as people don’t want to move far from homes.

Work from Home is another challenge for this sector. He mentioned they have currently opened their branches and the collections have started to an extent.  Moratorium period is difficult, where RBI has provided another extension, but the sector needs to manage it and be polite.

Demonetization was different as compared to Covid; and it will take time to settle down. Even post Covid, norms like social distancing will still continue.

The biggest challenge is aligning HR processes, employee engagement and motivation; they are in talks with ZingHR for the same.

With the extended moratorium, asset quality might be depleted in the long run.

There will be an increase in demand post Covid, as most people have exhausted their savings and will need to revive their lives.

Mr. Vineet Chattree started his notes by explaining what microfinance is. In his opinion, MFI is providing working capital for life for most of their customers. The sector has around 5.6 CR women borrowers who impact probably 5 times more the number of people. They mainly support the basic economy which is also largely impacted by agriculture.

When the Moratorium extension was announced, the RBI Governor mentioned, among the gloom, the only sector to bring out a little happiness is Agri and Agrilife, where there’s an increase of 3.7%. There has been a great productivity in sowing of kharif crops. In his opinion there will be a fair amount of production in rural and tier 3 cities, but at the same time there will be a fair demand of credit. Because nothing happens without money and it’s an important part to keep the economic engines running.

A trend of reverse migration has been observed, and there might be a little percent of permanency in it. This might imply that our honorable PM’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ initiative is imperative; because people decongesting metros will need to start entrepreneurial initiatives in their local areas. This will lead to demand for infrastructure. Here again credit will need to come from entities which can reach there. This is where microfinance has a pride in their reach.

Microfinance is peoples’ choice because it’s a combination of a great work model and customer experience. The sector gives unsecured loans to people who in his opinion belong to the most resilient part of the economy. Microfinance has the lowest delinquency.

We tend to extrapolate Mumbai as entire India, but India is large. As Mr. Alok mentioned, all the field staff are working, we are operating and have now started with collections.

But yes, the business model will be impacted to an extent. After demonetization, one thing that changed is everyone started dispersing the loan amount in customer’s bank accounts.

So probably after Covid, there might be a realization that digital collection will be the way to go! We might also have to change the approach in customer engagement and provide more awareness.

In his perspective, moratorium has given our customers extra time to repay without an overdue and also a chance at reviving their livelihoods.

Crisis makes everyone innovative, and so does their team. In terms of employee engagement everyone came together with innovations for Business Continuity.

Covid has bought up questions like, ‘Do we centralize or decentralize our metro offices?’ ‘Do we digitize all the processes, like we have digitized our HR processes using ZingHR a Global HR Software Platform?’ And the answer may be YES..

Mr. Ashwini Kumar was in sync with Mr. Alok and Mr. Vineet. Covid has been an opportunity of a kind, where there were certain projects in the pipeline which they had deemed as long term; but due to need of the hour started the implementation and have completed in as fast as 2-3 months.

As an industry, digital collections to an extent have started; they are digitally educating the customers on Moratorium. So the initial fear about Lockdown in April has decreased. Samasta Microfinance re-started their business from 4th May, and educated their people on safety and sanitization. They educated the employees as per the government norms on ways in which we need to communicate with customers and plan the movements.

Fear might lead to economic downturn and overcoming that will be difficult. So although the cases are rising, everyone needs to live with it by maintaining safety and hygiene.

Mr. Ashwini has worked in multiple sectors, and there was never a concept of working from home. But Covid made this change and observed everyone was equally productive working from home as well. Employees were oriented on this transition, and everything has come up well.

From an HR perspective two major challenges were customer and employee engagement. This is where technology played a major role.

Moratorium 2.0 was unexpected, and there was a fear of customer behavior. So strategies had to be revisited.

 Demonetization had not negatively impacted microfinance much, but in his opinion the sector is more prone to Covid. If we don’t change our strategies then we will miss the bus.

Employees connect and customer engagement needs to be a priority. ‘ZingHR has been our HRTech partner here. I have used multiple HR software platforms in my past organizations, but honestly ZingHR has given us a lot of flexibility and met our requirements. Major things that I observed are amazing employee connect using helpdesk and a seamless, hassle free payroll software system, attendance and leave management. Geo-fencing has been helping us tremendously in Covid’

ZingHR has played a pivotal role in our digital transition.

Ms. Komal Sharma agreed with most of the points mentioned in the previous notes. MFI as an industry has definitely felt a pinch during Covid, with the operations halted, slowed or suspended during lockdown. As per various experts, the impacts could be short term or long term. Given the working model of the sector where they work with unsecured loans, the major concern has been connecting with the customers. Digitization has been helpful, beginning from disbursements of loans to collections. There have been thoughts of using UPI as well as setting up kiosks.

The guidelines given by RBI helped in restarting with the operations. As Svamaan has branches in rural areas, sanitization, social distancing and hygiene became important. As an organization they educated the entire workforce, and did things at local as well as central level. They ensured sanitizers, masks, gloves were provided at all the branches as well as employees were covered under mediclaim policies.

Work from Home was a new norm for the finance segment, but it has worked well for them. Now the time has come when all organizations will leave the conventional way and start working as a fintech.

Mr. Dinesh Saili mentioned there were two biggest fears, one was fear of the unknown and second was political intervention. We have seen two crises before this and both have taught us lessons. The AP crisis showed the importance of credit bureaus; then demonetization emphasized on the importance of cashless disbursements. 

So irrespective of city, state or education everyone is worried about safety and now the strategies will revolve around contactless services while not compromising with the quality.

90-95% of the microfinance staff works in the field, so work from home was because of compulsion. Covid has taught us that work from home can be productive with the right data and technology.

Moratorium 1.0 was like a holiday; whereas in phase 2.0 it was cleared that payments will only be delayed and will be with interest. So that has made life a little easy.

Many people have migrated back to their hometowns with their skills, so they might look at MFIs, NBFCs to start off their livelihood there.

Also he agreed with Ms. Komal’s views, now everyone will start working like fintech, to get the best of both the worlds. Covid has acted as a catalyst for customer engagement and employee connect.

People have also realized the importance of health insurance and savings. Products and services of all organizations will change where now there will be credit plus models.

Mr. Vijay Agarwal felt the major fear of the lockdown was its unknown time period. Second fear was community spread, as urban areas are affected the most.

MFI is all about connectivity, and as mentioned previously by Mr. Dinesh, most of our employees are on field. So the working style needs to be revamped.

Moratorium was mainly announced to review the lower businesses of the people at the bottom of the pyramid, whose main source of income has been hampered. This period has helped in connecting better with the customers.

Covid has emphasized the importance of digital payments.

They have not observed any impact on liquidity as demands are expected to go up post Covid.

According to him, as  organizations we also need to look at repeat customers.

Mr. Manish Jain had a different perspective. 20th March 2020 which was the last full business day before lockdown, we disbursed close to 200 CR of loan, and it’s been 6 weeks since our offices have opened and we have not done that amount collectively till now. It was a chaotic situation during lockdown from IT perspective; it was month end, quarter end and financial year end.

In his opinion, today the fear of Covid has been superseded by the instinct of survival for most people including customers and employees. The demand is high, where people in villages need money for reviving their livelihood. Everyone is in need of money.

There are new customers due to reverse migration, which is a complex situation, as you don’t know for long these people will live there. This is an opportunity with risk.

BFIL used to acquire around 5000 customers a day pre Lockdown, which currently has changed to 20 a day. 

Moratorium is a chicken and egg situation, where people who have money are opting for it in the midst of all confusion; and people who are badly impacted by Covid we need to help them. It is a difficult situation, as if even 1 or 2 people default payments then the entire village will not get loans.

In this situation we are in need of new products under RBI guidelines, which will help these people in refinance their out standings post moratorium.

They had their field staff work from home, by developing an app, which helped them in understanding the customers situation and communicating accordingly.

The collections are optimistic right now and are expected to improve. An issue with digital collections is, how do the rural customers deposit their money in absence of reasonable smartphones?

Major challenge is whether we should invest in digitization of payment processes or control costs for survival?

Mr. Ravi Kikan introduced Mr. Prasad Rajappan, who suggested to have this Round-Table, as he thinks ‘The voice of the microfinance, which is the base of the lending industry, should be heard and talked about

Mr. Prasad Rajappan: ZingHR is really excited with the thought process of the microfinance industry towards making India Atma nirbhar. I feel microfinance is the future for India. In my recent interactions with a few NGOs, they mentioned that CSR funds are drying up; and thanks to Mr. Vineet Chattree we were able to get together with other microfinances and raise funds. It’s true when he says; this is one vertical where all the organizations are ready to share the practices.

ZingHR will continue to support you, and don’t look at us only as your HR technology partner but as your business outcomation partner. We are here to partner and learn with you.

Mr. Asutosh Mishra was in sync with Mr. Ashwini’s views, where the primary focus needs to be on customer engagement, to understand how we can better help them in this crisis.

With respect to Work from Home, we organized multiple awareness programs for our employees in terms of health and safety.

Key Pointers from the discussion

Mr. Vineet Chattree:

Engagement is the Key.

Customer Engagement, which doesn’t look forceful, is dominantly digital and helpful in nature.

Engage with your employees, everyone is scared and our employees are working on the field. We need to keep their morale high and ensure their safety.

Vendor engagement for negotiations, as well as ensuring their timely payments.

Mr. Alok Biswas:

We are in the same boat; we need to take care of our customers and liquidity management.

First we need to save our organizations, Cash is the King.

Work from Home is not a luxury for our employees, and we need to ensure their safety.

Ms. Komal Sharma:

Maintain liquidity.

Customer connect to understand their situation and help them.

Ensuring safety of employees, especially the front liners, and also look at employee recognition.

Mr. Ashwini Kumar:

Expedite the turnaround time for projects like digitizing processes, e-collections.

Customer awareness on better utilization of loans.

Continuous learning and development of employees.

Mr. Dinesh Saili:

Financial wellbeing of organization.

Communication and training with employees and; communication to and from customers on financial awareness, moratorium.

Qualification and analyzing of current data, before moving to technology.

Mr. Manish Jain:

Continue dispersing loans and the collection cycle will follow.

We need to adapt quickly to changing regulations.

Invest in cloud technologies and ensure timely vendor payments.

Mr. Vijay Agarwal:

Customer connect should be a priority.

Technology is the way forward.

Liquidity needs to be managed.

Landing approach towards customers need to change.

Mr. Asutosh Mishra:

ZingHR is an amazing HR Tech partner to Samasta Microfinance Limited.

Automation is the key for us.

Customer and employee engagement are extremely essential.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan:

Redesigning of business processes is essential with a focus on business outcomes.

Connect with employees and customers.

For CXOs it’s all about outcomes, which includes topline, EBIDTA margin, people engagement and growth.

So it’s important for everyone to come together and do what’s important for the entire ecosystem.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

Connect with Us

India

South East Asia

Middle East

Australia

www.zinghr.com

1800 233 6504

info@zinghr.com

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Women are Rockstars! In the absence of domestic help during this pandemic, women are juggling Work from Home and Work at Home. They are also helping raise or support their families globally. This is happening globally, not just one state or country.

This brings up the question of, do we need to have separate #WFH guidelines for females?

Speakers

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

CEO, Knowbility Ventures


Mr. Naga Siddharth

Mr. Naga Siddharth

Head – People and Culture at SuprDaily

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

Executive Vice President – Wadhwani Foundation

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

Founder – Blue Ribbon Academy


Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

Managing Partner & Head D&I Practice – BeyonDiversity Foundation

Ms. Nitu Mohanka

Ms. Nitu Mohanka

Founder – WErise

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Growth & Marketing Head – ZingHR (A Global HCM Solution)


Opening Notes:

Mr. Ravi Kikan
Mr. Ravi Kikan

Set the tone of the discussion as to discuss the various difficulties that are being faced by everyone, especially women during this lockdown; who are trying to strike a work life and family balance.

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

Delivered his opening notes, wherein he mentioned that he conducted a survey for working married women, and the results do emphasize that workload has increased in lockdown as compared to pre-Covid.

The summary of the survey indicated:

Below is the summary of the survey:

74% women responded saying workload has gone up in absence of domestic help

23% said husbands don’t help them at home, whereas 42% said they receive help from their husbands

76% felt the necessity of having Work from Home guidelines

61% want to have flexible working hours

Many emphasized on empathy from organizations in terms of working hours and meetings, and general guidelines irrespective of gender

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

Expressed his views on having the policies. Everyone needs to be aware during as well as post the lockdown, about the policies that we want to build. Considering lockdown, all members of the family are hot due to absence of domestic help. As we are moving towards the end of lockdown, we need to consider the post life situation. Covid has been a University of Hard Knocks, an eye opener about valuing people of low authority like laborers and house help. Covid has brought about the realization that they are not under the peripheral vision, but are supporting you from beneath and you are standing probably because of them. This brings across empathy, which in Indian ethos means Dharma. Tyranny of generalization has been plaguing the administration and HR; as India as a country is different where even job descriptions don’t work and role is important.

We need to reflect on what exactly serves the customers. Like many big brands are named differently in China as compared to other parts of the world. It means having a perspective that makes me as well as the other person happy. So how long will HR hide behind the generalization? Today we are looking more at personalization than customization. Covid has let people leave behind their control obsession and risk averseness. In India everything is mutually dependent, given that I’m unsure if we can come up with policies that don’t decrease productivity.

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta
Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

Had a different perspective on this topic. According to her the past 2-3 months has only exasperated what already existed in the community. Drawing from her own experience as well as other females’ with whom she interacts; she mentioned, “Our community has certain inbuilt expectations from women, like responsibilities of home. I feel women go through guilt when we feel we are not able to do certain things that are expected out of us. Personally I have been able to convince myself that I cannot be perfect at everything. I need to have a balance between my personal and work time”

As per her this is a good time for women to start making everything inclusive. With or without policies, it’s important for women to bring in the inclusive mindset to bring in the work balance.

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan
Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

Expanded the discussion by agreeing with Ms. Monica’s views. As women we need to get everyone onboard regardless of lockdown or post Covid. The euphoria is that husbands and kids might have promised to help with work, but now the ownership is back to women to figure out home-schooling and rest of the house work.

Communication needs to be transparent with female employees and expectations need to be set. In her opinion, prioritizing and not multitasking will be a long term solution. Timelines also need to be discussed at home. Everyone has lost the differentiation between work days and holidays.

She quoted Bazner, ‘’you have to be more respectful of others and try to avoid conflict situations by monitoring your own behavior. You have to be more honest and lenient to others but also have to control yourself ’’

I hope there will be more gender equality rather than diversity.

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

Brought her perspective to the plate, where she mentioned; the results received from Mr. Sanjeev’s survey were transactional in nature. These are fixable issues as that work will get delegated post Covid. Many organizations are considering various aspects like liquid working. She agreed with Mr. Naga’s perspective of showing trust and empathy towards employees; as well as Ms. Monica and Ms. Pooja’s opinion on mindset needs to start changing. Women tend to thrive to become perfectionists and end up killing themselves while achieving it.

During lockdown, especially for women, they are taking more responsibilities, perfection and guilt is leading to burnout resulting in mental stress. Apart from these, there has been a rise in sexual harassment and 47% increase in domestic abuse. This makes it necessary for us to have a country wide policy to help and support these women.

Ms. Nitu Mohanka shared her perspective next, agreeing with most of the views of other panelists. Finally there has been an acknowledgement that women have more responsibilities at home, which has been imbibed in our culture. She feels rather than expecting others to understand, women need to be stubborn and do what they feel is right. She personally maintains a calendar to track her work throughout the day.

How to contribute to work as ever before and still manage family sentiments, household chores etc while WFH?

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta
Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

My belief is that it is important to have fewer, but focused hours of work when you are WFH to ensure that the quality of output at work is really superior. Also ensure that we only accept deadlines that we can actually deliver on. Finally, have a very transparent relationship with your manager for setting expectations.

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan
Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

I would suggest that women should stop feeling guilty about not being able to give your house the kind of attention it’s seeking every day. We can’t be perfect. Everyone is adjusting to the New Normal. It’s about time we help our kids/ family be self sufficient and work like equals.  

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

It’s all about guilt. Am I doing good enough? There is a theme of wanting to do it all in this question. Can I do all of it, like nothing has happened and I’m working from home? You need to ask yourself ‘do I have to do everything that I was doing earlier during normal times?’ or ‘how do I adapt to this situation and work with stakeholders with changed expectations?’

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

Everybody reacts differently to situations. A bias already exists which says, ‘A woman is the nurturer and a man is the bread-winner’, where women are expected to resolve domestic issues and men to take care of finances. This patriarchy exists and we are unable to think beyond it, even when the world is moving towards equality. We need to think on how we can change this mindset as a community together. Also 72% of the women do not speak out for themselves.

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta
Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

In agreement with Ms. Rashmi’s perspective. Yes that’s a wonderful point.

Do we raise boys and girls equally? Do you think a 25 year old female will suddenly not be confident? Maybe the instances in childhood lead to the lack of self belief.

Why do we ask a girl to get water for the relatives and not the boy? It’s a small thing, but this builds momentum and the buy ends up becoming a husband and father, and the girl, woman and wife. It remains in your mind and it’s subconscious.

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

I agree with the perspective that it’s all in the mindset. In my recent experiences, a senior working female shared her helplessness of not being able to concentrate on work in absence of household help. She has the same mindset that my co-panelists have been discussing. She approached her family members for help and they readily came onboard. Everything fell in place after she spoke for herself. So women need to talk, everything will start with you.

We are talking largely about a women workforce who has a male support at home to fall back emotionally. How about single moms, women who are not married but stay with their brother’s family also young women who are still not married?

Ms. Nitu Mohanka
Ms. Nitu Mohanka

Situations are different for everyone. But we should not stray away from focus; we need to put foot down and set the expectations right. Without clear communication, stress and gaps will always exist.

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan
Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

It’s a different situation for single mothers. Single women who are staying with others or their family should be able to better balance their work as well as help at home. For working women living in joint families, the mindset will have to be changed and support from family will be essential. I’m lucky to have a supportive family who takes care of my kids while I’m working.

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

One important thing required when creating such policies is personalization. Every person’s life is different. If an organization can personalize their HR Software and Tech products as per the customer needs, then why can’t we personalize the policies for our employees? We also need to think of men who live alone along with women. It’s time to acknowledge that we need to have such policies.

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

I agree with Mr. Naga, that we need policies for different people. People leave organizations when they do not feel a sense of belonging. Organization needs to support us to have policies and support for employees. At the same time we need to negotiate and ask employers for it. NASSCOM data says, out of the total hires in IT there are 48% dropout rates of female employees in 3 years. The reasons are many, one including marriage. But data says half of them did not even check with their managers about a possible transfer in another city. It’s important to speak up and be confident.

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

Organisations have moved from Basic to Add ons to CTC, and now they have come up with a bouquet of choices of taxations.they now need to be more empathetic on what all they can offer to the employees. In my stint with TATA Steel, there was an option of choosing what my requirements were. Even Facebook has started an internal website for their organization, to make employees more inclusive.

POSH in context of work from home

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

I’m part of POSH committees in some organizations. Sexual harassment defined by the law includes physical, verbal, virtual, emails, chat boxes, WhatsApp messages etc, where a woman feels unsafe and complains in her office.

As per the act, the workplace is defined as wherever the employee is, if he/she is in office, travelling for work, in cabs, everything comes under the act. In lockdown, where everyone is working from home, home becomes the workplace.

Mr. Ravi Kikan
Mr. Ravi Kikan

From a man’s perspective what is aligned to POSH in the context of WFH?

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

He should be respectful of the woman; because the law clearly states that if the woman has felt unsafe and has complained then it’s sexual harassment.

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

As a manager don’t accept anything that you would not accept against your daughter or sister.

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta
Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

I agree with Ms. Rashmi, that we need to think of connotations like jokes or comments now that we are working from home.

Insights on how to compartmentalize so as not to feel stretched

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

Men and women need different customization and personalization. if compartmentalization means proper switch between work and personal lives, I feel we as society are not mature enough to support that. It might happen in the next 4-5 years.

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan
Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

The policy should be applicable to both genders and companies should be able to frame the working hours and meeting hours. Long meetings need to be avoided. Currently we need to delegate the work which was previously done collaboratively and then collaborate.

Is there a situation an employer can change the role of a women employee post knowing about her pregnancy?

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

This has a lot to do with empathy of the organizations. You can offer options like early goings, late comings, few hours off; but it’s essential to ask that employee what are her requirements during pregnancy as well as post birth  and how far the organization can go to accommodate them. It’s all about the values and culture on which the organizations are built on.

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

You cannot change anyone’s role only because she is pregnant; especially without asking her. The regular state labor laws apply here.

Balancing the need of dedicated time for your toddler vs the mandatory work and work hours and Closing Notes

Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan
Ms. Pooja Maheshwari Salwan

Previously we used to talk about flexible hours, but now in my opinion we need to roll between fixed hours and variable hours. Like while working from the office, many women leave early and then login again from home. There is a need to maintain that balance in WFH as well.

Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta
Ms. Monica Kapadia Mehta

It depends on multiple factors. If you’re in a senior leadership role, like I work for an office based out of San Francisco, so due to different time zones, I’m on late evening calls twice or thrice a week. But I do have the flexibility to take 3-4 hours off during the day because I need to be up at night. So flexibility and customization is important; you cannot be working 24 hours a day.

Ms. Rashmi Mandloi
Ms. Rashmi Mandloi

Agreedwith Ms. Monica’s views. Customization and flexibility are required, along with what the woman wants. Organizations need to judge employees based on their output and productivity rather than working hours.

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

Companies need to start caring rather than curing people with policies. As long as you care, answers will come on their own; it’s no longer about inflicting policies on employees.

Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia
Mr. Sanjeev Bhatia

Based on the survey, 61% have asked for flexible working hours and I think we need to honor that. It’s necessary to have mandatory working hours, and no exclusivity when it comes to both the genders. Both are working from home, and even men are trying to change their mindsets and we need to give them a chance. We need to have equity.

Mr. Ravi Kikan
Mr. Ravi Kikan

I think it’s important to understand that there cannot be a generic bookmark to this. But it’s an essential point that needs to be addressed for a realistic point of view. Women who are suffering from too much workload need to speak out to their managers. If you don’t speak the answer will always be no. Expected working hours are going haphazardly, they have gone up to 11 hours. Our survey suggests that many women do not understand that they are burning out themselves. So they need to be addressed to.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

Connect with Us

India

South East Asia

Middle East

Australia

www.zinghr.com

1800 233 6504

info@zinghr.com

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We have a lot of automation in HR using HR technologies like AI, ML, Bots etc which has a fair amount of success. But automation alone is not fully enough to look at business outcomes especially in today’s world. So ‘Outcome + Automation = Outcomation’.

Moderator


Mr. Rabindra Srikantan

Mr. Rabindra Srikantan

Convenor –  CII Karnataka Technology & Innovation Panel 2020.
Managing Director – ASM Technologies Ltd

Speakers

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Group Head of Human Resources – Shapoorji Pallonji Group


Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Mr. Ashish Kakkar

CHRO – ICICI Home Finance Company Limited

prasad-circle-img

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

CEO and Founder – ZingHR


prasad-circle-img

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

CEO and Founder – ZingHR

The world has been talking about automation in HR using AI, Bots, Robotic Interviews, and so on. We at ZingHR – Best HR Software Solution  believe in Outcomaton, and I believe Covid has given an opportunity for the HRs to become business partners and drive Business Outcomes. There have been multiple discussions on increase in productivity in current times and making Work From Home forever. The general opinion of most senior management personnel is, there has been a lot of collaboration, but we are missing human touch, and how do we continue with business continuity.

ZingHR has coined the term ‘Outcomation’ which means, focusing on Business Outcomes through HR Innovations. We often mix up between, Activity and Productivity, Value-added and Non-Value Added, Purpose and Means.

Covid has affected our way of working in multiple ways apart from binding us all at home. Team performance is given higher priority as compared to individual performance. Covid has also been a great leveler. It’s an opportunity for everyone who believes in agility and adaptability. When ZingHR launched Work From Home HR software solutions, we were flooded with calls from many big names across the industry. We realized that was because we were agile and adaptive in our approach.

Now coming to outcomes, Covid has made us focus on Business Continuity and Customer Retention & Growth. This becomes the purpose and the means is How do I improve Productivity? How do I upgrade my skills? How do I get transparency built in? How do I show concern for my people? Most importantly, how do I convert Fixed Cost to Variable Cost? As managers, what can we do to achieve things? How do we face realities of loss in revenue with costs remaining the same?

Hence it’s time to focus on real outcomes, and moving out of the euphoria of working from home.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Group Head of Human Resources – Shapoorji Pallonji Group

One of the very important points in Mr. Prasad’s notes was related to Activity and Productivity. That makes the question, what is the role of automation in the way we work? Was automation a means to improve the work conditions and activities that were being done or was it a means to improve productivity? I think they both vary, as one has got to do with efficiency relating to humans and other with conversion of the level of work that has to be done by man vs. the machine.

Over the time, many activities of HR operations were considered to be mundane and automation was introduced. It had its pros and cons. Somewhere along the line, in this whole euphoria, of getting into automation, we forgot the aspect of measures to improve efficiencies.

I look at automation as bringing in efficiencies and not removing humans. So the starting point of any of this change is what is the outcome that you really want? If your vision on the outcome is clear, you take the right steps. As for automation, it’s not a question of whether it’s a boon or bane; it’s more got to do with the value that we are bringing in for that transaction or experience to the employee. Therefore what needs are getting satisfied by automation needs to be answered. There are many advantages to it, but if you are going for it only because of trends then you are missing it. Like in customer facing organizations, how do you say, machines would be dealing with them. So there are paradoxes that exist and you grapple with; when you talk about automation, and so the focus needs to be on Outcomes that we want.

At the end of the day businesses exist to create value for all shareholders and stakeholders.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Mr. Ashish Kakkar

CHRO – ICICI Home Finance Company Limited

Let me give a broader dimension on what Vasant touched upon. Human beings are wired to keep looking at things to improve. The whole purpose of automation or automating factories was largely to improve productivity and multiply things by 10. This happened in industry till 1900. Things changed after that, they moved from there to simplification. From the mid 1900’s to 1960’s, the world started looking at simplification. Today’s workforce started asking, why am I supposed to do what I’m doing, and that prompted us business practitioners in identifying why things had to be done? And I think that’s where this whole concept of Outcomation is important.

Until and unless we write down why we need to do what we need to do, doing what and how is irrelevant. We need to have a clear vision on what we want out of it. Today for any organization, having an online HRMS tool is imperative, it’s not a luxury. Today’s workforce demands it.

We need to be conscious of 2 things in today’s world, Artificial Intelligence in HR and Natural Stupidity.

Questions

What are the current challenges in the industry?

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

One of the challenges especially when dealing with automation is, what is its need; and does it tie up to a business goal. Business goals are not limited to reducing costs. There was a period when, largely automation was towards reducing cost, now the world is changing where automation is required to improve revenue.
Secondly, today automation is also asking for it to remove human to human touch. As humans we thrive on human interaction, without that it’s difficult to get the best out of the person. Automation is no longer an initiative, today it’s horizontal rather than vertical.
Lastly, people are now getting frustrated with too much automation. Human intelligence is getting covered by the chatbots or analytics. That is taking over the human gut. We need to be cautious about automation telling you things, we cannot have human gut being taken over. Automation is not the ultimate goal.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Life will be definitely different once we get back to offices, and what we had assumed to be impossible is going to be the norm; especially in companies with traditional yet successful approaches. So the biggest challenge is going to be, making a change to the mindset in the way we work, with some technology and some human interface.
I’m a firm believer that some functions cannot be entirely replaced with automation. So if efficiency is something you’re aiming for, you need to see what value the automation will bring, to both customers as well as internal stakeholders.

prasad-circle-img
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

I think the current challenges are Predictability and Constraints. We are not able to predict what the future is. Whatever future we were envisaging earlier, just passed away yesterday! There are a lot of constraints. The question is how do I stay with the constraints? Economy will grow from cities to rural areas because of the constraints. We can convert the challenges into opportunities.

How much justified is it to go for a salary cut after Covid?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

In today’s world, the biggest challenge is going to be managing fixed costs. It is made to ensure that you can sustain in his environment which is competitive to a different level. The days have gone where you had advantages of things like your brand. Everyone is at the same level now in terms of challenges and expectations to deliver a particular service. Compensation reduction therefore should be part of a bigger initiative for any organization, to manage its fixed costs. Businesses are mandated to negotiate with their vendors, office rentals and landlords. So everyone is trying their best to reduce fixed costs, and compensation is a part of this. So HR needs to see this as a part of making the business more robust, so tomorrow when the opportunities open; I will be there as a part of the organization to contribute, and when I contribute, I will be rewarded as well. So when the PM says, ’Jaan hai to Jahan hai ’, it’s a fact. If we do not make small sacrifices, tomorrow when the opportunity is there we won’t be there to share the spoils. Salary cuts are painful to everybody, but if there’s a long term perspective, we should be happy that the organization is having us as a part of them and giving us an opportunity to turn around the business.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Whether Covid or no Covid, every organization has to keep evaluating its cost structure. For every 10 organizations that get setup in a year, there are also 2 organizations that close down. So organizations have to keep re-evaluating their cost structures. The point is, is it done with transparency? And that’s where the business heads along with HR partners will really have to put out a very transparent process to all the stakeholders. If we take any one cost element in isolation, it will lead to victimize. The definition of leader has changed. This is the time for the character of individual and organization to come to the fore. This is the time to show your true values. So if it’s a question of survival, we all will need to do it, but in a very transparent way, where employees need to feel as partners and not victims. Mr. Prasad Rajappan: Covid has happened to the entire universe and we all are part of that. So now you need to be a party to that change process. Salary cut is always heartburn, but if there is transparency it will be less. And salary cuts are always better than layoffs. You always need to strike a balance between the two.

What would be the roadmap of HR on upcoming days, in current situation and post covid?

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

According to him, HR will become a trait niche manager. Every manager needs to have HR characteristics. If you’re part of the HR fraternity, it’s time to take center stage and take charge. Most HR people are successful who think of the business.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

In many conferences it is said, HR needs to become a business partner. I think this is a good time to put that statement to test. How do you balance the sensitivity to the softer aspects as much as being firm? It’s like finding the balance between your heart and mind, and HR is in that sweet spot to bring that balance to the business.

What broad steps companies should take to improve the post Covid situation?

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

One of the first steps is ensuring your employees that you’re going to give them a safe working environment. To give comfort on the future which is right now uncertain would be unfair. So we need to take one step at a time. First is ensuring offices are a safe place, people not risking themselves while coming to work or delivering their work. Secondly we will have to wait and watch, rather than giving a very prescriptive answer for the next 6 months. How the next 6-8 weeks go in India, will help to draft those answers.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Emphasized that it is going to be important how the last 2 months were used by the organization. This situation has given everyone time to take a step back and look at the business in a calm and clear way. If this has not happened, and we are waiting for the world to open again, then we will end up going in the same circle of madness that was happening before. However, if you have looked at your business from a different level, than there are chances that you have identified certain building blocks. Identifying the gaps and working at solutions to fulfilling these gaps is important. You many need to tweak the fundamentals and bring in some technology aspects, but it needs to be done. So when everything opens up you’re ready and turn out to be a much stronger organization.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Made a valid point that We need to be agile and resilient. Apart from high level strategy for resuming work, we have technology tools too like HR Software with Facial Recognition technology or QR based attendance software rather than Biometric, linking of medical policies and so on. They all will show your care towards your employees.

Which areas of HR should be in focus more in terms of needing a change in policy/benefit/practise?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Answered this question, when you are part of a test team, what is more important? Batting, Balling or Fielding? In your organization, you need to figure out, which area are your weak and strong seats; and start building on your strengths. That is the mantra we follow, it helps make your weaknesses relatively insignificant. That could mean policies or technology in place, safety in the environment.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Had a question which he asked to Vasant and Ashish, do you think Covid 19 is going to make less control policies and more empathy policies? There are many discussions on making policies more employee friendly, do you see that happening?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Answered this stating One thing that I have observed in this Work from Home phase is, employees have realized working is about outcomes. So as long as you are delivering your outcomes, the number of hours or location does not matter. This is a change in mindset that I can see happening gradually.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Felt what differentiates a great organization from a good one is having empathetic policies. Now the organizations may want to have empathetic policies but will be constrained by budgets, because all these policies will come with a cost. Like insurance for instance, today I might want to widen the scope, but I will not have money in my pockets. My second take is, controlled policies have to go away. I think we need to start thinking of the 3% who will break the policy rather than the 97% who will follow it. The policies should have less use of Don’t and Not to do and more of Do and what you’re supposed to do

How can salary cuts help in reducing your fixed costs?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

When you talk about CTC, it includes incentives, but incentives are built upon performance. There are companies that are accepting that 2019 has been a decent year and performers need to be rewarded. But as of 2020, 3 months have passed and we don’t have clarity for the next 3 months. In such a situation, how do we materialize any incentives. There are companies that have reduced their pool by 50%. The reduction needs to be done on salaries; it also depends on company cost structure. Some of them have 50% cost structure towards employees, some have only 5%. So 10% reduction in a company with 50% employee costs is a significant saving, and 10% in a company with 5% costs is a symbolic saving.

What are possibilities of future hiring and increments to employees going forward?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

There will be huge re-evaluation on business, restructuring of profit and loss statements of companies. So to answer whether there will be hiring or increment in future is difficult. It will vary in different industries. Like healthcare or online platforms will not have a huge impact. So to answer this question on a general level will be unfair. Apart from this, it’s important to accept the reality, given the situation; we need to reset our targets and aspirations. You need to focus on staying in the game rather than succeeding in it.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

There might be hiring in sectors like retail or manufacturing, because their employees like part time workers have moved back to their villages. Hiring will happen in phases, and multi-skilling will be essential; as companies will look at operating frugally. As for the question on education, that sector is up for a big change. With the government announcing that education till Higher Secondary can be completed online, an education revolution is on its way.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

I endorse everything that’s been said. The takeout is, if you’re an employee; ensure you’re constantly upgrading your skills. If you’re an HR, please communicate the message to your people. If you’re a student, make sure your education makes you employable, not just your certificate but also your skills.

We as an industry should have some ready-made handbooks to deal with trade unions post COVID scenarios. What is your stake on this?

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Since I have worked in the Industrial Relations sector, my short answer to this is, if you view trade unions as your partners you can really make changes. Trade unions happen because of policies of the organization. If you have employee centric, empathetic policies, this will not completely change, because humans are wired to interact together. I don’t have a handbook answer, but unions will also change their view going forward.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

With an analogy of how things change between test cricket and T 50, and if you say I will play test cricket the same way I played T 50 and vice versa, then you are in the wrong business. Rules will have to be framed with a uniqueness that will help you with Work from Home, and in the absence of any framework, it’s like free for all. We have calls at 8 PM which never happens in normal office life. So we need to lay groundwork that makes sure Work from Home does not become a burden.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

New rules will come in place, and the HR practitioners along with CEOs will have to sit and define these rules. There are no best practices right now; what works for Google may not work for you. Things will clear up as time goes by. In the interim, it’s the business leaders who will make the rules.

View of the increase of moratorium period impact on Business and how HR can roll in this situation?

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

The HR team needs to organize training for all employees on Finance Management. We have been receiving this question on the moratorium period from employees as well as customers. Maybe you can use them to clear your credit card bills or high interest bills. Also the RBI has said moratorium for another 3 months, so 6 months is a good time to plan your finances.

Kind of roles and processes will be relooked or changed or impacted and how HR Leaders are positioned to handle them?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Mentioned that multi-skilling will be essential so you’re not limited to the box of say HR Operations or Recruitment. Now it’s the time to be a generalist, who is good in every aspect.

Will Outcomation also put pressure on organizations to relook at its existing internal processes and Organization structures? What are the major shifts that can be anticipated?

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

In his opinion, it’s not pressure but an opportunity. When we conducted Lean HR workshops pre-Covid, there was an observation of around non value 80% activities. So now it’s an opportunity and imperative for us to focus on this.

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

I agree this is an imperative where HR has a role to play in working on the cultural dimension of the change; because that will naturally be receiving unprecedented resistance as everybody is under the pressure to perform. So it’s important that HR is the holder of that cultural dimension in bringing about that change.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

If the designed outcome is that there has to be changes in the org structure and roles & responsibilities have to change then they will have to change. Otherwise the whole purpose of automation is lost. So let’s not fear it. This whole process is not only about cost deferment but also revenue increase, if we can make this work, then we don’t need to worry about AI driven or non human interface processes.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

There are many cross-functional agile teams that are being formed, which might mean that the traditional hierarchy might deviate to such small member teams. This is the best time to up-skill and be prepared for the future. We at ZingHR (Global HCM Platform) are running our own academy for HR professionals, to train on how to handle this scenario, conduct service, how to handle AI and so on.

How do we measure the performance or productivity of people working from home?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

I think it’s all about setting expectations of certain deliverables. It also depends on the nature of your job. Like in our case, people need to be on construction sites, they cannot work from home. But for people with office jobs, the deliverables should be the criteria and not how many hours did they login.

From an HR perspective, how to control employees’ emotions on downsizing manpower and other benefits cut?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

Human beings are prone to having emotions and they need to be expressed. Good news is human beings are also intelligent. After the initial anger and remorse, objectivity will settle in and people will calm down.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

I have also been at the receiving end of the bad news, I reacted with emotions and over a period of time you get aligned with it. When dealing with humans, you have to let those emotions come out. Trying to control them is like waiting for a nuclear reaction.

Mr. Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

In the spur of the moment it’s going to be a problem, but later on when the person will realize that it was a rational decision with no other option, it will settle down. You can’t prevent certain things from happening.

RBI has increased the moratorium period, in this case what should be the role of HR, as it’s going to have a huge impact on business?

Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri
Mr. Vasant Sanzgiri

My understanding is, there is not going to be no interest, it’s just going to be deferred. The meter is still on, it’s just that the person’s ability to not pay, and give him an opportunity to be not a defaulter. But the fact that he has to pay the delayed interest is not going away.

Mr. Ashish Kakkar
Mr. Ashish Kakkar

Like people who have taken loans from you have an option of moratorium, you as an MFI also have an option to ask for a moratorium from your lenders. So it’s not limited to one side of the equation. There will be an impact as the cash flow will be limited, but organizations will have to find a balance depending on their own internal context. Given the situation it was expected that the moratorium would be extended and the organizations should have prepared themselves for it.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

Connect with Us

India

South East Asia

Middle East

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1800 233 6504

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Corona has caught everybody in a situation that is highly volatile. In this pandemic, leaders across the industry are faced with a myriad of critical decisions like taking care of their workforce without hampering the business productivity. In this session, we will share our perspective on exactly how we can get accustomed to the inevitable change approaching in our work life environment, and what challenges are critical and should be tackled first.

Our Speakers

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

Executive VP and Head HR at HDFC Asset Management Company Limited

Ms. Geeta Gurnani

Ms. Geeta Gurnani

Director – ISV and Next Generation Partnerships at Microsoft

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Founder and CEO at ZingHR


Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

Executive VP and Head HR at HDFC Asset Management Company Limited

Productivity is a function of input to output. There is technology, method, money and resources; but what gives you true productivity at an acceptable global level is the culture of the organization. It is said, when the CEO leaves the room, the culture takes over. So going forward my emphasis is going to be on what is the softer aspect to get world class productivity from ordinary people because we have to get extraordinary results in order to help our country to become one of the leaders.

Ms. Geeta Gurnani

Ms. Geeta Gurnani

Director – ISV and Next Generation Partnerships at Microsoft

As we enter New Normal, business productivity is one of the key questions not only with organizations but also with individuals. From the perspective of individual productivity, this New Normal is also going to be an emotional challenge. We are vocal about the virtual office environment, but it’s actually in a physical world of home and staying productive. The latest report of April from Deloitte suggests that the individual productivity has gone high, but overall organizational productivity has slipped to certain extent; given that they were not able to utilize every role. But has our individual productivity really gone up, or are we investing our personal time to cope-up with the business in this crisis? Productivity will differ according to your role in the organization. But we all need to acquire skills like digital selling, conducting effective virtual meetings and keeping the momentum high.

Also there is an emotional need to stay relevant and connected.

At an organization level, the challenge is even bigger. We need to strategize for all the diverse roles we have and be inclusive. We have a large workforce in India which is still not digitally literate. I will quote something that I heard from Mr. Satya Nadella. He said, “We are currently living in 3 phases, first was the response phase, where everyone moved to digital working. This worked for some roles, but not for all. Second phase that we are entering is Adjusting the Dial, where we are learning what will be the new reality, redefining new policies, enabling people, tools and technologies for productivity. Third phase will be the certain changes that will stay permanently after people realize the power of moving to digital”

Whether it be individual or organization, collaboration & inclusivity will be essential for productivity. We at Microsoft took steps like transparency, regular individual calls with the managers, counseling sessions for the employees and their families, because we realized this is not a 3 month phenomena but will last for 6-9 months.

prasad-circle-img

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Founder and CEO at ZingHR

Corona has changed our work life balance to video call – voice call balance, weekends to which day of the week it is. Coming to productivity, I feel there is a need to redefine or relook at its definition. Fundamentally, Productivity = Outputs/Inputs. In my opinion, Outputs = Purpose and Inputs = Means. Owing to the current crisis, it’s important to look at the inputs that we are giving for productivity. These can be classified into essential and non-essential; and there is a need to eliminate all the non-essential activities.

At ZingHR – Global HR Software Solution, we have realized that the value adding activities stand at 5%. I think Covid has given us the time to define the value adding activities and go ahead.

Covid bought forward challenges like, Business Continuity, Improve Productivity and Compliance, with questions like Collaboration, Transparency and Up-skilling. This led us to collaborate with Microsoft and get some solutions, especially HR Tech mobile solutions.

Questions

Can you elaborate further on the Work from Home Policy Framework? What should be the ideal policy framework that should be implemented?

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

I believe Work from Home is new in Ms. Snigdha’s organization, like it’s in mine. Work from Home concept mainly existed in IT and ITES. In my opinion, there are few key points to be considered from an HR perspective, when defining Work from Home. I will discuss both hardware and software aspects. For hardware, it’s about who would be responsible for managing infrastructure that includes everything from routers to laptops that’s essential for being productive. Second major factor is defining the working hours of employees. For instance, in Western countries, calls or mails are not expected post working hours. However in India, the boundary between working hours and personal life gets blurred. How do we manage the breaks and silent hours in that case? There is also a need to consider the policies for female employees as they are managing both homes and work. Leave policies will also need to be redefined. Most of the office work will be replicated at home, but many things will have to be re-evaluated. There are multiple dimensions to this. We will need to make workplaces a safer environment. A broad discussion is required on this subject; however we can consider the above pointers which can trigger a proper framework for Work from Home policies.

How can digital tech play a role here?

Ms. Geeta Gurnani
Ms. Geeta Gurnani

There are 2 aspects. Now technology is a way of life, it’s no more a choice. But what we did during the phase 1 of Covid was, we moved from physical to digital workplace. We did not emphasize on any policies or how to better leverage technology for productivity. But in phase 2, I think technology will play an important role, with all the features that the collaboration platforms offer to the employees to stay productive. Like, till sometime back, I did not use the feature of Outlook which shows me my pending work list. But now, I’m making use of Machine Learning to check my pending items. We have analytics that give us the report on how many hours we have worked for the past week and were there any silent hours. HR will need to pull these reports to see how the employees are spending their time.

So in my opinion tech will play an important part, first in productivity and second in inclusivity. There are many people in India who are not tech savvy or are digitally illiterate. We need to have solutions which are multi-lingual and voice enabled. So there is a need to have accessibility enabled solutions and policies when it comes to using technology.

Business Productivity during the current economic situation

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

It’s a very pertinent question. Like I said before, today we need to redefine productivity owing to the changing demands of customers and employees. Both financial and emotional needs are changing, cash flows are disappearing and business models are changing. So it becomes essential to remap the business models and redefine productivity. This will definitely help us in navigating better through these challenging times. Like Ms. Geeta mentioned, we need to be inclusive; we need to take care of all the stakeholders, contractors as well as vendors.

How to handle Non Cooperating Employees?

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

During pre-covid, when any employee started their work day, they wanted to give their best. No one in my experience, ever started the day with, I am going to curb everyone’s happiness today! But there could be one bad conversation and the paradigm shifts. So we as leaders need to understand the chemistry that leads to non cooperation. Is there a failure of commitment, poor engagement, low care, unavailability of infrastructure, no recognition? What is causing the non cooperation? If we can spot this in early stages, diagnose and eliminate it then it will never lead to a breakdown.

If everything is good and still the problem persists, then in my opinion, a good, positive, optimistic conversation is the way to bring things back to normalcy. There are disciplinary mechanisms but getting everyone on the same table is the best way to resolve miscommunication and gaps.

Make rural new urban. Can we make metropolitan related career opportunities available In rural/remote locations, since travelling around will be next to possible?

Ms. Geeta Gurnani
Ms. Geeta Gurnani

It’s an interesting question. I think we should also think about making the city new rural, because many of us think about what if we can go and decongest the metro. There is so much density in metros; the working population is dense in certain cities. My submission would be the step one should be about thinking on decongesting the metros, and give people opportunities to work from wherever they are including rural areas. The reason being, it’s essential to skill the rural people for the digital opportunities that are coming their way. Otherwise there could be a dip in productivity from what we expect. Also it may not be a 100% digital world; it may be a phygital world. There is one more thread on LinkedIn, where we are calling for more female employees, as that will give a boost to our GDP. Not due to gender diversity, but because males and females have a different way of working and responding to situations. So the skilled mothers, who are right now at home, can be our first step, followed by decongesting metros and skilling rural populations.

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

This question is very close to my heart. You can also refer to the article that I have recently published on LinkedIn on Life Trends post Covid: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/life-trends-post-covid-19crystal-gaze-alok-sheopurkar-pcc India lacks urban centers. Cities like Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Dehradun, Ludhiana etc are now slowly coming up. After this the government released a scheme ‘100 smart cities’. The whole idea was to decentralize the economic activities. Today if we look at the top 100 cities in India, I think every city is offering the same infrastructure as Mumbai. So I think slowly and steadily there is a conscious work happening.

How will the hiring of blue and white collar employees be impacted post Covid-19 situation?

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

The hiring is currently on freeze due to the on-going situation. However when essential sectors like warehouses, retail or factories open; there will be a dark reality that the majority of the workforce will be missing. So in my opinion, post covid, there will be a realignment of hiring. You will need to hire fresh employees, especially in blue collar; which will also make it necessary to skill them. There will also be a geographical change, where the majority of the employees would now be from nearby cities. For white collar, I think there will be a perspective of changing fixed costs to variable costs, and many companies will start engaging with consultants and freelancers.


Monitoring tools for WFH Productivity

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

We need to define the purpose of these HR tools. Is it monitoring or outcomes? In Work from Home, you need to trust your employees and be transparent. This will help in better productivity. For HR technologies we have multiple options like, geo-fencing, timesheets, surveys, collaboration tools and so on. My advice would be, have a right balance of HR technology and employee relationships.

What shape of the Economic recovery (V, U, W or L) do you expect? Which sectors of the Indian economy are likely to recover the fastest? Which will be the slowest?

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

The recovery shape is difficult to predict at the moment. But in my opinion it will be shape C on the floor. Depending on quantitative easing, some of the sectors which in my opinion can come out faster are infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and agriculture.

BCP planning and a better use of Microsoft Office 365

Ms. Geeta Gurnani
Ms. Geeta Gurnani

Business Continuity Plan is a very big charter in itself and Microsoft Office 365 can be a part of it. For everyone’s benefit, there’s this site that we have launched on remote working and business planning: https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/remoteworking You will find all the resources and solutions for BCP here. We have multiple solutions from Microsoft as a first party as well as third party, for all your business continuity needs.

Considering Work from Home and teams, some members of the team could be more productive compared to few members of the team due to extraneous factors which could not be in their control such as access to a robust internet connectivity or other factors. This could lead to some members being more overworked than others which affect Team Morale. In such cases, managers play a key role. What could be the ways to manage such teams?

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

This is a practical problem, where people are having difficulties to work without any disturbances at home. We do not have any solution to this right now. We need to find out different ways to moderate the teams.

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

There still are managers who let the team burn out and leave, and then hire new people. But this attitude will not give you a competitive edge and good brand. For that you will have to prevent your team from burning out and take extreme care of their needs including infrastructure and breaks.

Managing big data for decision making dashboards has increased in a short TAT, what means can be used for faster results?

Ms. Geeta Gurnani
Ms. Geeta Gurnani

If by big data for decision making dashboard, you mean all the structured and unstructured data that comes your way; I will highly suggest you visit some of the government sites; it’s highly impressive how the government is using the insights for the huge amount of data. Like Maharashtra government is using the Microsoft Power Apps and Power BI platform. More than the data, it’s very important to consider, are we giving the decision makers the right insights of the data to take the decision. PowerBI and other reporting tools will help you in deriving the correct insights of the data.

Life after COVID 19

Mr. Alok Sheopurkar
Mr. Alok Sheopurkar

You can refer my article on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/life-trends-post-covid-19crystal-gaze-alok-sheopurkar-pcc On a higher level, many people are questioning their purpose. So there is a different slice of life for everyone. Migrant workers are thinking if they can come back to cities, professionals are concerned about their next month salaries and employment. I want to be optimistic and I’m sure life will be better after Covid, and we all will be better citizens.

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Mr. Prasad Rajappan

I agree that we need to be optimistic. I will give you our example, when suddenly Covid made us realize that People Management is an essential commodity. I believe all the sectors will be able to realize that there is a new horizon that this crisis is opening. Covid has been a great leveler. Everyone is now standing at the same point, and it’s an opportunity to start afresh.

Ms. Geeta Gurnani
Ms. Geeta Gurnani

I will continue with the optimistic thoughts. I think it’s the time for us to think, should we move our traditional world into the New Normal or should we really think about the new world which has better productivity. So there is an opportunity for all of us to contribute to new thinking, so that the world becomes a better place to balance out.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

Connect with Us

India

South East Asia

Middle East

Australia

www.zinghr.com

1800 233 6504

info@zinghr.com

-->

Today we are geared up for a discussion on how learning has been evolving especially during this new normal. We have a diverse panel and participants from across the industry to share their perspectives

Moderator

Dr. AK Balyan

Dr. AK Balyan

Former CEO & MD – LNG Petronet

Our Speakers

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Director HR – Indian Oil Corporation Limited

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Founder & CEO – ZingHR

Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh

Director (Personnel) – Power Grid Corp. of India Limited


Dr. AK Balyan

Dr. AK Balyan

Director HR – Indian Oil Corporation Limited

Dr. AK Balyan set the context about the webinar as to discuss the various challenges and HR issues that are being faced by the organizations, and seek expert opinion from the panel.

We are all aware that this is an unprecedented type of situation created by a virus. It impacted almost 150 countries worldwide and developed countries were hit more. Practically, the business activities have come to a halt and we are in for a recession. Such extraordinary situations call for extraordinary efforts and initiatives. There is uncertainty about how long the impact of Covid will last. We can only make some assessments; what and how much is the impact is only based on our assumptions. We feel that the initiatives taken by the Government, many organizations, major NGOs perhaps it might be a U shaped recovery. The focus of business has come to survival and sustainability. Apart from that there are large efforts on how do you maintain your assets and continue working on them and prevent your assets from turning into non performing assets. Many sectors like hospitality, mobility and aviation are badly impacted. So we need to understand the challenges and the initiatives that are being taken by the businesses to keep the continuity on.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Director HR – Indian Oil Corporation Limited

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra added to this yes, this is an unprecedented situation and it definitely requires an unprecedented response from all of us; individually and professionally. This is the time where everybody is tested whether we survive or perish. He quoted Paul Romer here, ‘A crisis is a very terrible thing to waste’. We need to convert this into an opportunity. As Mr. Balyan rightly said, many industries are impacted and even start-ups are facing problems with funding. In India itself, many start-ups are on the verge of shutdown. At the same time, we need to respond well to this crisis and turn it into an opportunity.  This is the time for us to relook at the 3 main areas of HR i.e. Work, Workplace and Workforce.  HR Technology is redefining work.

Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh

Director (Personnel) – Power Grid Corp. of India Limited

Mr. VK Singh expanded the topic and mentioned that Mr. Balyan and Mr. Mohapatra has already given us an overview of how this situation has impacted us externally as well as internally. HR as the field is primarily impacted. It’s physical, emotional and operational. It’s very important to rethink all policies, procedures in the system. We cannot wait for the things to get easy; we need to respond right now. There is one emotion which encompasses all others, and thinking is built around that. So this crisis should not go waste, whatever we have learnt, we should follow it. As per his opinion right now, great places are those that are safe places. So where emotional and physical threats are concerned, we need to create safe workplaces. It’s now survival of the safest.

Prasad Rajappan

Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Founder & CEO – ZingHR

Mr. Prasad Rajappan started on a lighter note, Corona has brought changes like, converting our work life balance to video call – voice call balance, planning weekends to which day of the week it is. Life has become very dynamic. The major concerns that can be observed in both private and public sectors are safety, response process to this unknown enemy corona, protection of employees and their families. Another concern has been the customer retention and growth, especially in the private sector. People are also worried about business continuity, up skilling and ensuring transparency. For a finance perspective, everyone is looking at converting the fixed costs to variable costs.

Productivity needs to be relooked as value added and essential activities that deliver outcomes and not only activities. We need to focus on Outcomation. Covid has enacted as a great leveler and brought everyone at the starting point. This is an equal opportunity for everyone, for only agile and adaptive minds will be able to grab it.  Major challenges today are predictability of what will happen and constraints in our mind.

India has this opportunity to redraw its economy; the question is it’s up to us to decide what we want to do. As our contribution, we have opened our HR Tech Products  in the market for free of cost.

Questions

We know that you belong to a fortune 500 company; you have the vast presence, and are the biggest refiner and marketer of petrochemicals in the country. With such a network and also falling under essential services, how have you ensured smooth operations? Can you please share how you are managing your workforce; both regular employees and secondary? What were the essential steps in your opinion, which helped you manage this?

-Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra


Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Yes we are spread all over. When you have such a large organization with almost 33000 employees, more than 4.5 L secondary workforce spread across all over, it is difficult. We consider our frontline workers, delivery staff the Covid warriors. Everyday our delivery staff is reaching different 30 – 40 houses. In a month or so they are connecting with 1000 of houses. So that becomes a huge challenge.

We focused on 3 fundamentals, which we thought were essential:

We gave only authenticated information and guidance to our teams. We had a hyper committee which was constituted, and we have been meeting regularly since the last 50-60 days. We also decided to take out advisories which would be sent out to all the stakeholders, and they comprise all the guidelines.

Connecting with people was another element. It makes more impact when you connect with your people in adversities.

Keeping people engaged and motivated. We have 60% of our people working from refineries or pipelines or supply locations. Another 40% of our employees work from administrative offices. It was essential to keep both these groups engaged and motivated.

In his opinion five learning’s will be very important for us to take it forward:

Flexibility, Adaptability , Agility , Resilient, Empathy

Have you included the Covid information in your e-learning program? Also many of your outlets are not owned by you, but are licensees. You think there was any difference in productivity or way of working?
-Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

We have almost 27000 retail outlets as of now, out of which around 170 are the ones where we operate; the rest are franchises operated by dealers. There has been no difference in productivity, in fact in many places, the delivery and customer teams of the dealers have responded extremely well to this situation. We have supported each of them by offering a 5L ex gratia and have covered them under medical insurance.

Are you planning to implement any new initiatives post Covid?
-Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Going by the learning, a lot of new activities have now been undertaken. We have realized that we can work from home. Also we are realizing maybe our work assignments need to be more developed. We had developed technical competencies for each role on paper. This crisis gave us an opportunity to take that forward. We are planning as to how we can align our customers with the internal stakeholders at any point of time.

Your organization is very agile, and has been able to quickly respond to the needs of the present times. How have you been able to do that? Do you have other locations from where the team is working or is it only Mumbai office? What has been the work environment?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

We have our offices in all the major cities in India as well as in Singapore. All of a sudden there was this realization, that HR Tech solutions for employees is an essential service. Earlier customer requirements were more inclined towards controlling the work of employees, and in no time this perspective shifted to care and concern. So the tools were the same, but requirements changed. For instance, many organizations wanted to check if their teams were safe and doing well in this crisis. Going by this demand, our team worked relentlessly to get a survey tool in place, which can be used to reach out to people on both, smartphones as well as via SMS.

The deployments have been huge. People are looking out for HR Software with facial recognition technology without having to invest in a recognition device. This led us to develop a mobile based facial recognition with Artificial Intelligence. There is also a surge in demand for chatbots and multilingual solutions. Fortunately, all our solutions come in all 26 local languages. This has helped us in reaching out to diverse people.

Another thing I observed in corporate India is; everyone started empathizing. Another phenomenon is the employees started reciprocating, which is very good for the economy. They started thinking of the company first, some employees are ready to leave their leave balances, and some are ready to leave their incentives. People have realized that this is a global crisis.

So, are there any products that were developed in these 2.5 months and are ready to be procured by others? Also it was expected that certain sectors of ITES would do well, so is it alright to say that the business of ZingHR has increased?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Absolutely! We had most of the HR Tech modules ready before, but the demand has increased now. The activity and engagements have become 200%, and we are hiring more people as well as collaborating with partners.

How do you take care of the customers and stakeholders who do not have smartphones?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

We do have many SMS solutions, as well as tracking solutions for non smartphones via tower triangulation. I have companies who are worried about their employees who have moved to their native, and they want to track them from a concern perspective. So we have SMS solutions using which it can be tracked in which region.

What would be your one suggestion to the industry, particularly to those who are badly impacted?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

We have been trying to reach out to the Arogya Sethu team, to see if we can integrate our solution with them. Around 2.5 CR people are using it, so we can integrate with them and try and keep people safe. So like we have the best HR solution with a mobile application , where you can check from your phone, how far you’re from Red Zone. This is a national movement, so we are checking the feasibility of linking it with Arogya Sethu and opening it free nation-wide.

Mr. Singh you come from one of the biggest power transmission companies in the country and you are also part of the essential services. You have power lines going to the rural areas and projects which employ primary as well as secondary workforce. What all was unusual that you had to cope during this time?  Did you have to set instructions for not taking up field jobs? Did you practice any different way of working, or was it usual business? What was different in the last 2-3 months?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh
Mr. VK Singh

It’s a beautiful experimentation; the moment the country was stuck up with Covid. But we had planned it much ahead as we have global presence in around 20 countries, so we knew what was coming. We had all the Business Continuity Plans in place for all the departments. And as for the migrant laborers, at the time when Covid struck, we had 35000 CR of work in hand, and the construction was on at about 150 odd locations across India. As soon as lockdown was declared, we ensured all our laborers were taken care of. We started providing them food, ensured better living conditions for them by acquiring a high degree of sanitization and retained them. They are all migrant laborers and we could retain more than 60% of them. When the lockdown was relaxed, we re-started our constructions. As far as agency laborers were concerned, like security and sanitization, we took them in-house. We recognized they are our frontline workforce and retained them. We gave them INR 250 per day, when most of the organizations were cutting them.

Power is a very essential commodity and the show must go on. So in the operation area, nothing was impacted and we also had a backup plan in place for each station. An advanced preparation was very useful to us. Also being part of disaster management, we have handled multiple disasters like earthquakes, floods in Srinagar, recent Amphan in Odisha, so we knew how to handle the crisis.

You had many new practices put in place, so do you think your HR practices will be updated to the new way of working?
Question from Dr. Balyan to Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh
Mr. VK Singh

We decided to change the entire workplace practices due to Covid. It made it essential to revisit all the processes, policies, systems and we had to make them fit to the people. As for the HR perspective, you need to be adjustable, flexible and you need to redefine the policies. Safety was our biggest priority. We also started tele-medicines, and for the ease of payment allowed our workforce to send scanned copies of bills from any part of the country. We went full throttle in the HR team, even with regards to promotions. We kept exploring multiple ways of keeping employees engaged.

Innovation is the key. In some of our sub-stations, our people invented their own kind of sanitization machine. From CSR perspective, we routed almost 200 CR in PM cares fund, and around 30 CR in migrant, construction and agency laborer.

Another learning was, we already had a calendar in place and decided to go ahead with it, without any changes to the operations and training programs. Also since lots of people are working from home, we started with multiple learning initiatives, and are rolling out programs starting with morning meditation, yoga to hard core company programs. Since we are located in many remote locations, communication is the key for us, and as HR it’s very important to create a 2 way communication system.

How has your top management worked differently in the 3 months of the crisis period?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh
Mr. VK Singh

As the country was preparing to work from home, we decided that the board members will continue to work. We had board meetings held on virtual platforms, to discuss various issues. We had to ensure safety along with 24*7 operations. We did everything possible to make it a safe workplace, and provided relaxation in terms of policies. Also when people know you care for them, things fall in place.

Communicating in a timely, precise and transparent way is essential. You need to communicate the change in various roles as well as remove misinformation effectively. Prepare the employees mentally to take up additional responsibilities. Engaged employees are the best assets.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

Emphasised that If you communicate transparently with your employees and put forward the business uncertainty situation, then many of them would understand the problems better.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Agreed with Dr. Balyan, everything can happen if you discuss it with people. Everyone needs to realize this situation will redefine the way in which we work. Agility and adaptability are crucial for our survival.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

Justified one of the questions asked by the audience that Work from Home is a preferred option for women. He mentioned that women in his family effectively work from home as well as managing other things at home. Women are better managers in terms of time management and multi-skilling.

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Added to this on a lighter note, it’s a good opportunity to make your spouse multi-skilled. On a serious note, earlier Work from Home was only for the IT sector. But now it’s essential and imperative to come up with Work from Home guidelines.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Made a valid point here that the current Work from Home experience has been bad. But this work is not the regular Work from Home that should happen in future. Female employees are facing multiple issues, and we are under the assumptions that since people are working from home, it implies they are available 24*7. But the future will change as it has to be redefined. There has to be a clear cut balance between work and family life.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

Mentioned that From an HR perspective, the main points are: How do you deal with uncertainty? Do you have people that are comfortable to work in uncertainty? How do you convert people to manage the situation with ease? What changes are happening? Covid has hassled the process so fast that everyone is taken aback. But changes are happening and how do you predict what will happen? We need people who can help us with predictability, and larger organizations have come up with such positions.

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Made an analogy. It’s like there’s a huge building that goes haywire due to an earthquake. You can either tinkle with it or build a new one, and put in only those things which are essential; because in your old house there would have been many things which you were not using. So HR now has the option to restructure things differently. Like we at ZingHR use the word Outcomation; do only what is going to give you business outcomes for organizations as well as employees.

How has your top management worked differently in the 3 months of the crisis period?
Question from Dr. AK Balyan to Mr. VK Singh

Mr. VK Singh
Mr. VK Singh

As the country was preparing to work from home, we decided that the board members will continue to work. We had board meetings held on virtual platforms, to discuss various issues. We had to ensure safety along with 24*7 operations. We did everything possible to make it a safe workplace, and provided relaxation in terms of policies. Also when people know you care for them, things fall in place.

Communicating in a timely, precise and transparent way is essential. You need to communicate the change in various roles as well as remove misinformation effectively. Prepare the employees mentally to take up additional responsibilities. Engaged employees are the best assets.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

Emphasised that If you communicate transparently with your employees and put forward the business uncertainty situation, then many of them would understand the problems better.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Agreed with Dr. Balyan, everything can happen if you discuss it with people. Everyone needs to realize this situation will redefine the way in which we work. Agility and adaptability are crucial for our survival.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

justified one of the questions asked by the audience that Work from Home is a preferred option for women. He mentioned that women in his family effectively work from home as well as managing other things at home. Women are better managers in terms of time management and multi-skilling.

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Added to this on a lighter note, it’s a good opportunity to make your spouse multi-skilled. On a serious note, earlier Work from Home was only for the IT sector. But now it’s essential and imperative to come up with Work from Home guidelines.

Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra
Mr. Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra

Made a valid point here that the current Work from Home experience has been bad. But this work is not the regular Work from Home that should happen in future. Female employees are facing multiple issues, and we are under the assumptions that since people are working from home, it implies they are available 24*7. But the future will change as it has to be redefined. There has to be a clear cut balance between work and family life.

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

Mentioned that From an HR perspective, the main points are: How do you deal with uncertainty? Do you have people that are comfortable to work in uncertainty? How do you convert people to manage the situation with ease? What changes are happening? Covid has hassled the process so fast that everyone is taken aback. But changes are happening and how do you predict what will happen? We need people who can help us with predictability, and larger organizations have come up with such positions.

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Made an analogy. It’s like there’s a huge building that goes haywire due to an earthquake. You can either tinkle with it or build a new one, and put in only those things which are essential; because in your old house there would have been many things which you were not using. So HR now has the option to restructure things differently. Like we at ZingHR use the word Outcomation; do only what is going to give you business outcomes for organizations as well as employees.

Dr. AK Balyan mentioned his perspective on How the Role of HR is going to change post COVID?

Dr. AK Balyan
Dr. AK Balyan

What we have learnt from Covid is, how do you make your team adapt to a new way of working? How quick is your team to adapt to these changes? How comfortable are you with these changes? People do get perturbed with changes, especially if they have been following a particular work style for more than 10 years. How do you manage these changes? Leadership crisis is different. We need leaders at all levels, who can work effectively in crisis.

Prasad Rajappan
Mr. Prasad Rajappan

Added a valid point that the best service HR can do is to make HR a trait niche manager and not keep it as a department. If HR can identify their purpose in the business; their job is done.

Covid-19 has had a negative effect not only on the economy but almost all the industries and households. Yes, there will be post Covid-19 effects but it is not something we cannot fight. With the right strategy and right state of mind, we can survive the effects and come out stronger.

ZingHR has developed resources to help you through these challenging times. Click here to know our most sought after Work From Home offerings to help you cross this hurdle.

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Today we are geared up for a discussion on how learning has been evolving especially during this new normal. We have a diverse panel and participants from across the industry to share their perspectives

Our Speakers

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Advisory Board Member at ZingHR 

Mr. Anurag Sharma

Head – Learning & Development at Dixcy Textiles Pvt Ltd  

Ms. Monika Mehra

Training Head at LifeStyle Stores (North)

Mr. Naga Siddharth

Head – People and Culture at Supr Daily

Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

Head of Human Resources at Modern Foods  

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Growth and Marketing Head at ZingHR


D Prasanth Nair

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Advisory Board Member at ZingHR

Work, Workplace, and Workforce are changing. Business model needs to be changed. Jobs will have to change. The skillset for every job will need to change. We need to emphasize on 3 dimensions:
Why, What and How things are changing?
Effects on organization culture, collaboration & cohesion.
Are the training programs using the technology effectively?
In my opinion 4 important skill-sets are:
• Cognitive Intelligence
• Collaboration & Coaching
• Creativity
• Consciousness

Anurag Sharma

Mr. Anurag Sharma

Head – Learning & Development at Dixcy Textiles Pvt Ltd

Whether work from home can be a new norm or not is a question. Sectors like textile, are dependent on B and C terms, where a broadband connection is still an issue. Technology adoption is still nascent. The core challenge is how to get investment into L&D and it’s ROI. Will the business be patient for ROI? L&D needs to start talking business language without losing translation. Sustaining the Business is the need of the hour.

Monika Mehra

Ms. Monika Mehra

Training Head at LifeStyle Stores (North)

L&D is not just a strategic arm, but a business partner who needs to provide effective solutions to business problems.
Two points we need to consider are:
Why and Whom are we training?
What is the need and how much is the investment?
Organizations need to have a central content repository. Bandwidth needs to be checked upon for getting this done.
Internal small learning communities need to be created.

 Naga Siddharth

Mr. Naga Siddharth

Head – People and Culture at Supr Daily

This is where we were 6 months ago, and then we had the big Covid ball coming and knocking us. It is important for us to understand remote empathy. There is a need to go beyond tools.
As L&D professionals, we need to start working on Human Resource Designs, start looking out for things where there is will of leadership to do it. Right now, the human element is more important than the tech element.

Sonal Kapur Sinha

Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

Head of Human Resources at Modern Foods

I’m part of an organization that cannot have 80% of the workforce working from home.
In the current situation, there is a need to resort to creative ways when making content to ensure that the learners are engaged.
Like, Modern Foods had to resort to art and theatre for demonstrating the importance of sanitization.
Another important point is, the pace of learning needs to be every day. It’s like habit-changing; we cannot achieve it in a day.

Questions

Big L&D challenge is how to prove direct relation to top line and bottom line. Do we have specific metrics that work better than others?
– Ms. Ketaki Ogale – Co-founder (BHyve)

 Prasanth Nair
Dr. D Prasanth Nair

L&D should not be islolated as a good to have function. L&D has it’s own reason for being there.
Three metrics can be followed:
One , that is same as the Business Metrics.
Second, you can use ratio of internal hires to external hires in any organization. Are you able to promote the employees to any required role based on their skills and competencies?
Third, are you able to give ROI, and the denominator remains investment, numerator can be top line, bottom line, cash-flow or valuation in stock market.

Anurag Sharma
Mr. Anurag Sharma

The need needs to come from business and we need to facilitate that. Major concern is how do we tactically put this into practice? How many L&D people actually discuss about cashflow or how programs can be designed around it? Strategically it looks great, but how to tactically put it into practice, needs to be looked at minutely.

Monika Mehra
Ms. Monika Mehra

Investment in learning is an important aspect. ROI needs to be proved; if we are not adding any ROI then it’s a problem.

Learning is a slow process, results can be seen in phases.

Example, Weekly Net Promoter score helps in understanding how the employees are performing and what are customer expectations and problem areas in the retail industry.

Sonal Kapur Sinha
Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

Every meeting, whether that discuss people or not gives us a whip of where the business is leading. We need to stop pitching L&D as budget, but competencies and business impacts. As business partners, we need to understand business.
ROI and Training is like love, if it’s there, it shows.

With digital learning becoming the need of the time, how important is the gamification of learning?. My question is not only for kids education but for professional learning as well.
-Question to Mr.Naga Siddharth from Mr. Ramesh Ambastha (Technical Architect)-SmartBear

Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

Gamification at a deeper level is about playfulness, fine with making mistakes and learning. All L&D needs to have a touch of gamification, it will definetly help people in learning better. It will increase a person’s risk appetite and make the experience more effective.
There is a child inside every one of us.

What is the future of AI?
-Question from Mr. Ramesh Ambastha (Technical Architect)-SmartBear For L&D online

Monika Mehra
Ms. Monika Mehra

If we need to measure ROI of L&D, than the answer is AI. AI is data. When we talk about improving employee efficiency, understanding their needs and competencies than we need to look into data. A good LMS is essential, which gives the data of all employees. Using this we will be able to understand learning needs, design curative programs and get results. Next step would be to understand the employees learning from the program; and if he is able to demonstrate it in his workspace. Blended solutions can be used to measure knowledge & skill-set and the actual on-floor performance. AI plays a crucial role in this.

Anurag Sharma
Mr. Anurag Sharma

Once we get access to the relevant datasets, employee behaviors can be validated. That will be one phenomenal use of AI. AI will also play an important role in training identification for a business, rather than leaders voicing it, if data speaks for itself it will be a classic problem solver. We need to convert subjective problems into objective ones and find solutions.

Prasanth Nair
Dr. D Prasanth Nair

AI gives us tools to predict and classify outcomes. This predictive nature can be used in capturing the need and designing a program uniquely for every individual. It will majorly help in capturing, designing, delivering and measuring the outcomes.

Sonal Kapur Sinha
Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

We need to understand that AI predictability is the result of data that has gone into the machine. So more the data that goes into it over the period, better the predictability. Right now in my opinion, humanness of the decision is extremely important and over & above AI.

You spoke about not just having proficiency in the current role but to acquire a new skill. How does an Organization’s L&D plan to help the employees to orient towards this new expectation/approach?
-Mr. Navneet Singh’s question to Monika

Monika Mehra
Ms. Monika Mehra

It’s a new skill that the employee will have to invest in. Going ahead, organizations will have less but multi-skilled manpower. Going by this situation, one will have to be better equipped with multiple skills, else his growth will stagnate. Organizations are always willing to invest in people’s potential.

Anurag Sharma
Mr. Anurag Sharma

Post-covid, for most organizations, the clear cut job dimensions will be blurred. Radius will need to become bigger. We need to get into the flux and thrive into it. There will be retrenchment, less number of jobs. Some sectors like travel will be critically affected, others like pharma might thrive. Businesses and people need to get more flexible.

Sonal Kapur Sinha
Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

Rather than predicting what skills would be needed years down the line, I will prefer making my people think on what is it that they would want to push themselves into. If the ask of the new skill comes from employee, it is faster taken. For skills at behavioral level, I would like to make our people more agile learners.

Prasanth Nair
Dr. D Prasanth Nair

‘Ekla Chalo re’ should be your motto. Every individual needs to take responsibility for individual learning without depending on the organization. You need to up-skill yourself and focus on your development.

Being in this Pandemic situation, where businesses are not doing to their full potentials and almost all the departments facing budget issues – what strategy should be used by L&D for investment in new training needs.
– Mr. Nitin

Anurag Sharma
Mr. Anurag Sharma

I can speak for my business. We cannot afford investing into any new methodology, we will continue with tried and tested models for at least next 1.5 – 2 years, depending on the cash in-flow. We need to look at what can be done more efficiently, without needing budget.
Many organizations are working at zero budget staffing.

Sonal Kapur Sinha
Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha

‘We are not in the same boat, we are in same storm’.
Everyone is trying to save their own boat from sinking. Minds are already stressed.
It’s a business driven acumen right now. We need to be more reactive and less proactive.
Have the infrastructure in place, so we are ready when we do need to deliver. When will that happen, let the business decide that.

Monika Mehra
Ms. Monika Mehra

It is during this lockdown period, when stores are having zero revenue; L&D has come in forefront in keeping all the employees engaged. This was possible only because our organization had invested in correct platforms at the right time. Not everyone will be willing to invest in external learning methodologies. In this case, we can always harness the internal resources. Take support of SMEs and build internal learning communities.

Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

Even with zero budgets, if we are creative enough, cutting edge L&D can be delivered today. There are so many free applications, sites available. Another approach is challenging the fact that what I would have otherwise normally done, am I able to do that ? vs. What the business wants me to do?.
It’s a paradox. Measuring metric of impact is essential.

A zero budget L&D is possible, and we required a pandemic like Covid to come and make us realize that. So why were asking for L&D budget all these years and why L&D budget post Covid?
– Question from Mr. Anurag Sharma to Mr. Naga Siddharth:

Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

When pushed to a corner, my best comes out.

Anurag Sharma
Mr. Anurag Sharma

Agreed, so let’s deliver a top cutting edge LnD this year, and we may or may not need any budgets in the coming year.

Naga Siddharth
Mr. Naga Siddharth

We are mainly burning out budgets on external faculties. If business wants to send employees to Howard or IIM Calcutta than ofcourse I need a budget, but to drive effectivess and impact on ground, a very large budget is not essential. Typically L&D teams are capable and functionally qualified; it’s an opportunity for them to look at enriching and enlarging their role.

Mr. Ravi Kikan

There are multiple questions on what are the products that ZingHr is pushing across in the learning management space and otherwise.

We are posting the link to our website; you can take a look at products which might be useful for you
https://www.zinghr.com

Closing Notes

Anurag Sharma

Mr. Anurag Sharma
Head – Learning & Development at Dixcy Textiles Pvt Ltd

This was an amazing discussion to stimulate our brains on sustaining business in these times.

It’s very essential to have a fully functional L&D and L&D needs to adapt to the business, nothing needs to be lost in the transmission amongst both.

Monika Mehra

Ms. Monika Mehra
Training Head – Lifestyle Stores (North)

We need to work very closely with the business and understand their budding problem for the year and accordingly design the strategies.

Work effectively with or without the budgets.

Sonal Kapur Sinha

Ms. Sonal Kapur Sinha
Head of Human Resources – Modern Foods

Be more active; look at now fairly closely, what business needs and not what we have done in the past. There’s a lot to pick from; on how we can gamify, make engagements more interesting.

I think our fraternity is going to live most in this time when our businesses really need us.

Naga Siddharth

Mr. Naga Siddharth
Head – People & Culture at Supr Daily

Location or position of some units needs to change from consulting or partnering to actually being of service. Depute people to work on frontline, which will give us enough challenges that we will need to solve to have an impact on business. Truth is out there.

 Prasanth Nair

Dr. D Prasanth Nair Advisory Board Member at ZingHR

Every individual and organization needs to be on the learning curve. We need to Relearn, Unlearn, and Learn continuously. L&D will play a huge role in this.

Connect with Us

India

South East Asia

Middle East

Australia

www.zinghr.com

1800 233 6504

info@zinghr.com

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A lot of sectors have been doing a lot of interesting things, and especially the domains which did not foresee such a crisis coming in. Our objective is to understand how businesses have handled this situation across and have dealt with it. 

Our Speakers

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

An experienced HR Head and Board Director, Entrepreneur and on advisory board of ZingHR 

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

Group HR Head at MyMoneyMantra 

Mr. Atma Godara

Digital HR Transformation Lead at OYO

Mr. Sathish Menon

DGM – HR Transformation at
The Hindu Publishing Group

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Growth and Marketing Head
at ZingHR


Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Advisory Board Member at ZingHR

One of the major lessons that Covid 19 has taught the world is, ‘There are no Experts’.
Nobody in the world could see this coming, and these are strange times that we are living in.
Example, at the start of 2020, technologists were talking about hacking Human Brains and going to MARS. Today we are in a situation where we cannot step out of the house.
The effect would be different to different sectors, I don’t think a standard BCP model is applicable here.
What I would suggest is, for productivity, going ahead, the organizations will need to adopt,

Fives S’s:

  • Survival
  • Basic Services to stakeholders
  • Starting operations post lockdown
  • Shape the future in new normal
  • Sustain this period

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

Head HR at My Money Mantra

Most of the organizations have always kept remote working as an option, as a backup, as a crisis scenario fighting tool. So this is a rude awakening for all organizations on how they can transform their way of working, to be remote, to be effective, that is what is going to be one of the important factors for survival in this crisis.
Productivity, in this situation, where we do not know how the world will look, will depend upon how we communicate with our people, how we are able to cross skill them and how to make the best of their time and skill.
One thing that is often neglected is the importance of continuous engagement with the employees. Having a strong communication model in place will ensure that the productivity will not drop.

Mr. Atma Godara

HR Lead at OYO

We are all very clear that these are unprecedented times and we all acknowledge across the industries. We live in an ecosystem, where everything is affected by each other. Now it’s important how we sustain this period and how we are going to change once the Covid is over. 

I have 5 key pointers in my mind:

When we say productivity – an important factor is learning and engagement. For online training, audio and video are already in place, so the key thing is engaging the learners.

Modus operandi of business will change. So it’s important to think on how we move our current traditional process to a complete digital one. 

To come out shining from this Covid 19 situation, we have to go to the first principle approach, ‘You don’t follow an analogy and start thinking from scratch’.

In post Covid World, the ratio of physical to digital will be the opposite. You will not be able to survive without digital presence. 

‘Out of Sight Out of Mind’ will have to change. Your employees are working remotely. How will you keep them engaged?

Mr. Sathish Menon

DGM – HR Transformation at The Hindu Publishing Group

How do we transform our workplace into a digital workplace, what all challenges would come up during this change?  How can the mindset of senior age staff be changed via employee engagement?

Employee engagement has now changed to multiple parameters, focusing on how employees can contribute to the organization.

Organization needs to invest more in digital transformation and give better learning and development experience to all its employees. 

Apart from that, most of the employees are aware of today’s pandemic. ESS, FAQs, digital knowledge base, are helping them to get all the knowledge that they need without having to run to places.

Questions

Ms. Kriti Makhija – Chief Financial & Compliance Officer (Genesis BCW Pvt. Ltd.) Question:
Industry collaboration and best practices

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

One of the things that such times teach us is, you have to customize the practices to your firm. If you cut copy paste something that has been designed by company
A into company B that might not at all work.

There could be broad trends that could be common across all industries, like technology adoption or
remote working, e-learning.

Individual companies should consider how these
trends can be applicable to them.

Mr. Utkarsh Mishra shared his POV in the chat box:
Not a question but a thought around the topic. In the current Covid -19 situation within HR we have drastically moved to the digital world with Online trainings being a daily practice for employees, so we need to now focus more on the content we are making available to them, how it’s going to link with their work and benefit them in long run etc.

Mr. Atma Godara

While content is the king, context is the kingdom.
In this scenario, we are taking away the kingdom, so the king cannot do much. The king in this case is the trainer or the moderator. 

While we are moving the training and meetings remotely, how do we manage the interactivity like ice-breaking sessions?

We need to think on how to make these sessions more humane.  

When we completely move online in terms of training, the trainer wants to know how much impact they will have, and again there we would require innovations.

Mr. Sathish Menon

Most of the IT companies have a mandate of 40 hours of training.

Each company needs to customize this based on their business needs, and post that they can move to the
next step in the ladder.

Ms. Tina Charkabarti

When we had to design the L&D programs we heavily relied on discussions with the teams. Now when everyone is scattered, the interview process for designing the L&D plan needs to be much more thorough.

Second is learning through simulations. Effective L&D organizations will heavily invest in simulation training.

Case studies will also become the common chord for
the participants to be able to relate to the trainer.

Mr. Sameer Malik – Senior Manager – Operations (B2C Network)
Question:
Post Lockdown effects on Business

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Effect would be varied. Like for some industries it
would be driven by lockdown. Manufacturing per say, can be sorted in a couple of weeks post the lockdown. 

Travel tourism and entertainment are the worst
affected industries. Recovery here will happen in phases.

This is the time to create a sustainable business model.

Mr. Sudipto Mandal – CHRO (Star Cement) Question:
Isn’t this a time to remind us of focusing on basics, forget jargons, do only what is important, show empathy and care, bring out the real character of an organisation in terms of how you care for employees and customers and how you stand behind them and for them? Looking for some insight from the panelists. Thanks

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

We need to have empathy. This is the time to have a simple and effective business plan, where employees can communicate, work seamlessly, raise concerns and get on with their life. We need to think outside the cocoon in which we operate. Make sure that
employees are engaged using activities like huddle calls.

Question:
How do you measure productivity when you have remote working and what are the ways we could keep the team aligned with the business?

Mr. Ravi Kikan

Important thing that you need to do when your team is
remote working is trust them. If you don’t, then you will
always have doubt on their productivity. 

Mr. Atma Godara

People are not working from home, they are over working. So it’s more important to focus on their wellbeing. Employees are managing their homes and work without domestic help. We need to switch our focus from numbers and productivity to wellbeing.

Mr. Subhash Panicker – Vice President (Newgen Knowledge Works)
Question:

How business continuity plans are being put in place by Peer Companies ?

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

There are critical and non-critical activities that are mapped out in every industry.

In this pandemic, most of the admin, logistics and HR team are trying to expand their BCP plans to include
the corona situation into it. In all industries 4 standard practices have been implemented:

Employees are given remote connectivity.

Large data are made available to them online.

MIS employees have been given large RAMS.

Autonomy has been given to people to access a wide range of data.

Mr. Sathish Menon

As far as the media industry is concerned, everything is happening. Right from the people who are supposed to deliver to the delivery point and pick up from the pick-up point is on track. However, the end result of getting
it delivered to the customer is not happening. Ecommerce is stuck, but the internal productivity is still on.

Mr. Ashwani Singhvi – Head – Human Resources (Supermax Personal Care P Ltd.) Question:

Present Scenario of Salary & Wage payment in industries across and legal validity.

Dr. D Prasanth Nair and Mr. Sathish Menon:

Please follow the government rules and regulations.


Mr. Hariharan Seetharaman – General Manager (HCL) Question:

WFH productivity techniques.

Mr. Sathish Menon

Trust the employee and see the productivity. Remotely connect with your employees over collaboration platforms. Give them sufficient infrastructure.

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Work has intruded home. We need to understand that. Discuss with employees clarity of his role and objectives.

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

We had done our homework on how many hours of work is required from different roles to get the required outcome. This was done when people were still working from offices. Based on this, the extrapolation model has been designed to see how many calls it requires to get a viable lead, or convert a sale. This benchmark is there with us. All data is made available to employees on fingertips.

Mr. Vaibhav Naikade – Finance (Kotak Mahindra Education) Question:
What will be impact on GDP growth and economy financial crisis after covid?

Mr. Ravi Kikan

We do not know how long the lockdown or bouncing back of sectors will happen. There will be certain sectors that will bounce back and certain that will go down. 

So if there is crust at one sector there will be trough at another. 

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

It’s pure conjecture at this point in time. IMF itself is not sure of it at this time. In India, another factor that will affect us is monsoon as India’s GDP is heavily dependent on agriculture. But India is one of the few economies which probably will be above zero.

Mr. Eswar -Manager , HR (AJinomoto India Private Limited) Question:
Digitalization of which functions will help the manufacturing sector at the time of crisis where more physical presence is required?

Dr. D Prasanth Nair

Ideally all, more importantly, highly important functions. Rather than looking at functions, the manufacturing sector needs to look at processes. Relevance of functions might go away. It might move to processes in tomorrow’s world.

Question:
Mr. Ramanan –
During the work from home period, the blue collared salesmen are unable to deliver goods and take orders from kirana shops, while on probation period. What is the statutory/legal position on extending the probation by short falling days (not related to poor performance)?

Mr. Sathish Menon

For blue collar workers, we have statutory compliance norms from ESI. Apart from blue collars, for other workers, it depends on the task and target that has been assigned to them, it needs to be checked and discussed with the CEO and then can be redefined.

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

It’s a subjective question. The standard HR reply would be, the current situation is out of scope so the probation can be extended. But for how long will be organization be able to carry this person with them owing to manpower costs, will there be openings post Covid, all these answers depends on annual operational plan of the organization which will get modified due to Covid.

Ms. Sunita Tauro- Head, HR ( IPRSHow ) Question:
How do you measure productivity when you have remote working and what are the ways we could keep the team aligned with the business?

Mr. Atma Godara

Moving to basics, trust the employee. Refer to the first principle approach, ‘You don’t follow an analogy and start thinking from scratch’

Question:
Mr. Bhupesh Dinger – Director (Enrich) Question:
How will employee Emotional Health be handled remotely in future?

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti

I’m a certified coach. Don’t wait for the employee to come up to you and say, I don’t know why I’m not able to perform my job. It is required to have daily communication with any person to understand their mental health. It is reflected in the kind of communication the person is having at work, what kind of numbers are coming in, and what type of social media activity is happening. 

Structure needs to be in place for this.

HR teams need to be psychometrically up-skilled to handle emotional health of employees remotely.

Dr. D. Prasanth Nair

Corporates need to go an extra mile during these times, to show empathy and compassion towards well being of the employees.

Spirituality and meditation can help in managing your mental balance.

Mr. Atma Godara

We need certified people to understand mental health and its repercussions. Another approach is to start talking normally about the subject and not make it a taboo.


Mr. Ravi Kikan
Growth and Marketing Head at ZingHR

There are certain questions on how onboarding is managed, payroll is managed, leave and attendance. 

Snehal Kharkar – HR Manager (Abbott India) Question: Managing Onboarding at workplace during covid.

Chandrasekar Ranganathan – Head – Digital Transformation (JK Fenner India Limited) Question: How Zing HR is enabling employees to work remotely. 

Gunjan Gupta Head -HR (Diligent Global) Question: Leaves management during lockdown and how is everyone coping from appraisal perspective.

We posted BCP link in chat for same. https://www.zinghr.com/landing-page/covid19/zing-covid19- php.php”

Closing Notes

Ms. Tina Chakrabarti
Head- HR My Money Mantra

Innovation will become a part of life
Empower your people, and believe that they can take decisions.

Be compassionate in this time, its important to communicate and respect people’s timelines since they are working 24 hours from home.

Be a business partner and do not work in silos.

Mr. Atma Godara
HR- Lead OYO

These are very interesting times and please consider them as opportunities. If you’re a team leader, please communicate, communicate and communicate. Think towards the brighter side, like Japan did after bombing.

Finally, I would like to quote 2 of my favorite quotes ‘Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do to it’

‘And remember when you walked out of the storm you are not the same person’. .

Mr. Sathish Menon
DGM – HR
The Hindu Group of Publishing

As a leader invest on your employees and team. Have open communication and take care of your employees well being.

Thanks to ZingHR, after 140 years, we have digitally onboarded the employees and the management as well as employees are very happy.

Dr. D Prasanth Nair
Advisory Board Member at ZingHR

‘Nothing in life to be feared, it’s to be understood’ This is the time to understand more, so that we fear less. Help people, help organizations to understand more. Be compassionate, fear less. I have a feeling and I really hope and pray that 2020 after Corona will be India’s golden time in the globe. We all need to make it happen.

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