As we move into an increasingly VUCA environment and adopt this as our new normal, the need for fostering people-first culture and prioritising employee well-being has never been greater. The popular broadcaster offers mandatory leaves and downtime, free-of-cost tests and home delivers gifts for employees. The aim? To both ensure employee well-being and to cheer them on in the new normal.
For Hima Rai (name changed), Tuesday morning began with a call from her deliveryman stating that a package had arrived from work. She was overjoyed to find a brand-new pair of headphones and a personalized thank you note from the CEO to her family for their constant support in these times. Ecstatic, she quickly clicked a snap of her goodies before posting it online.
This is one of many initiatives under ACE, an ambitious move by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) to foster wellbeing and meaning at work in the new normal. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt and upend all things familiar and traditional, fostering people-first culture and prioritising employee wellbeing can help organisations to create inroads in building happy, healthy workplaces and remain an “employer of choice”.
Keeping these objectives in mind, SPN’s umbrella employee wellbeing brand, ACE: Act. Care. Engage. was born. It is built exclusively by tapping into data insights, employee voice and leadership connect.
The unprecedented COVID situation has thrown all of us out of sync – it has created unpredictable work conditions that can accentuate the personal and professional stress level of employees already experiencing anxiety about work, childcare responsibilities, finances, low morale and feelings of isolation. Employee pulse surveys consistently revealed that employees felt disconnected in the new normal and dabbled with stretched working hours. With the M&E industry being challenged due to production initially screeching to a halt, SPN devised innovative live show formats and promoted library content to cater to increasing content uptake. Amid all this, the burgeoning demand for their revamped OTT platform, SonyLIV 2.0, catering to post-production deadlines, among other things took a toll on physical and mental wellbeing. Employees demanded solutions for seamless connectivity, a respite from the reality of working stretched hours and felt that they missed out on the rapport they felt with their leadership.
To address these concerns, a slew of initiatives were launched keeping employee-centricity, customization and agility at the fore. At times like this, it becomes more crucial than ever to operate from a ‘people first’ stance.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt and upend all things familiar and traditional, fostering people-first culture and prioritising employee wellbeing can help organisations to create inroads in building happy, healthy workplaces and remain an “employer of choice.
Let us understand how SPN’s wellness brand is tackling issues concerning employee wellbeing and work-life imbalance.
Right from the get-go, employees undergo Compass Connects: digital touchpoints with key stakeholders to integrate them with SPN’s way of life. On-time bonus payments with doubled pay-outs on account of organisation performance and quarterly recognition awards across the network are served to cheer employees who have excelled in the new normal.
Now, employees have access to revised benefits and policies that are well suited to the current scenario. To tackle issues such as stretched working hours and work-life imbalances, Mandies was introduced, a quarterly mandatory leave policy. Additionally, scheduled downtime scattered throughout and after fixed working hours, known as Zero Hours, help employees to cross-collaborate more efficiently, while securing time for focused tasks. SPN has also increased broadband and mobile reimbursement limits and gifted headsets for employees across the network, to allow seamless working from home. In the words of an elated employee, “More than the headset itself, the personalized message addressing family members sent made it more special. This merits a special thank you to all the people involved in this decision process!”
To ensure physical and mental wellbeing, SPN partnered with reputed healthcare providers and diagnostic centres across the country. Employees now can avail free COVID-19 tests from reputed centres across India, even from the comfort of their homes. This is supplemented by SPN’s multitude of mental wellbeing resources, workshops, team-centric seminars and the EAP platform under its “Mind-Aid” initiative.
In a true act of being an ally of the people, SPN’s leaders have consistently utilised internal channels to loop everyone in on tips and tricks to maintain a work-life balance. This evolved into a full-fledged Leadership Engagement Program, called LEAP (Leadership Engagement Amplification Program), which serves as the company’s official two-way street of continuous dialogue through unique engagement initiatives.
The current situation has made businesses rethink the way we work. As the line between work and life blurs, it’s clearer than ever that work is an activity, not a place. This has dramatically expanded the definition of wellness to include a range of programs aimed at not only protecting employee health, but actively boosting performance as well as physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. In this new normal, with well-being programs becoming a corporate responsibility and a strategy to drive employee productivity, engagement, and retention, SPN has tried to hit the right buttons by creating a sustainable business that holds employee wellbeing at its heart. Whilst trying to maintain inclusion and agility on the go, SPN aims to align people, purpose, passion, and profits to help its people unleash their full potential and tell stories beyond the ordinary.