COVER STORY – How Companies and Employees Can Honor Their Vows during the Pandemic 0

How Companies and Employees Can Honor Their Vows during the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic put employer and employee relationships under severe test. While companies must support employees emotionally and financially during tough times, the latter is expected to offer unwavering support and take responsibility for monitoring their efforts. The article explores how companies and people can support each other through tough times.

The year 2020 was the start of something great. Two decades into the millennium, rapid digital transformation all around, and a powerful workforce of Gen-Z at the cusp of starting their careers about to bring the much-needed freshness with their innovative, curious minds. All came to a screeching halt due to a small virus taking its hold over the world, starting with major world economies and then moving onto other parts.

Globally, there was a wave of massive lay-offs as COVID forced countries to impose restrictions on movement. Closer home, the impact was not a pleasant sight, as India observed one of the most severe and longest lockdowns in the world.

But one of the few industries that found the silver lining during these unprecedented times was: The IT industry. Restriction on movements had a direct multiplier effect on demand in technologies that could enable remote working. Smooth video calls, a massive requirement for VPNs, increased dependency on cloud servers, an urgent need for online security, online team management tools, and secure remote working platforms; went from being a want to need.

How Companies and Employees Can Honor Their Vows during the Pandemic 2

The tech industry always had a great fellowship with its people. However, the pandemic put their relationship under severe test. While companies must support employees financially during tough times, the latter is expected to offer unwavering support and take responsibility for monitoring their efforts.

HR managers came up with a variety of ideas and plan to provide comfort amidst uncertainty and to make the remote working experience fun, easy and stress-free. Here’s a brief perspective into what steps companies and people can take to support each other through tough times.

Traditional HR managers and leadership opined that silence is the best way to kill the murmurs. Not anymore. Today, the company must come ahead and be upfront about how good or bad their present business model working is and if there is a need for some restructuring or reshuffling.

For the Company

Basing the ethos we follow at Sarvika Technologies, a company has the following obligations, and when fulfilled, they leave a huge positive impact on camaraderie with the human resource.

Financial Security

  • During uncertain times, a human being’s basic needs come under danger. The most concerning question on their minds is: Is my job safe? Financial security is of prime importance. The speculation that the company must address is around attrition. Traditional HR managers and leadership opined that silence is the best way to kill the murmurs. Not anymore. Today, the company must come ahead and be upfront about how good or bad their present business model is working and if there is a need for some restructuring or reshuffling.
  • Next comes the appraisal or bonus cycle. The pandemic turned into a nightmare for many industries (like travel and tourism), whereas it was a boon for some (like eCommerce, fintech, edutech). It is their moral responsibility to share profits and not hold back in the name of global adversity. We, at Sarvika Technologies, kept the appraisal cycle open because our software development and eCommerce expertise witnessed a huge surge in demand. It was obvious to pass on the benefit to our team.

Health Security

Work from home is the new normal. But for how many companies? Companies with 200 or more employees come under scrutiny but what about the small-sized ones, those employing less than 100 people? There are millions of small organizations registered country-wide, providing jobs to tens of millions in total. It all comes down to how the management treats their team: as workforce or as family.

  • Trust your team and keep the WFH option open. The government-mandated lockdown left companies, irrespective of size, with no choice but to provide the work-from-home option. But today, even if the nation has transcended into complete unlock, the pandemic phase is still not over. Provide teams with a partial WFH option, if the complete remote working situation is not feasible. At Sarvika Technologies, we introduced the roster concept, which capped the number of people working from the office and gave every team member mandatory two-day work from home.

For many, the workplace is a home away from home, and remote working adversely impacted the interpersonal bonding between team members. In the new normal, where video calls have become a boon, there is a need to provide fertile ground for team building.

  • Medical assistance is the need of the hour because many have not opted for a medical or a health insurance policy. In such scenarios, group health insurance policies by companies often prove to be a blessing in disguise. Also, companies should openly and frequently communicate that employees are welcome to ask for any medical assistance. These policies forge a bond of trust and comfort between the organization and its employees.
  • Provide COVID precaution facilities at the premises and introduce necessary policies to keep the team safe. When the pandemic information came to widespread knowledge in Feb 2020, we stopped gatherings like team lunches, potlucks, etc., made hand sanitisers available at the premises, and recommended the use of masks. As a result, people felt safe and comfortable coming to the office.
Also Read:  Measuring Performance is Passé

Emotional Security

It is since the last few years that India Inc. started to consider the emotional happiness of the employees as a prime factor in business growth. The pandemic brought this tangent to the forefront when the lines between personal and professional lives started to blur due to the neverending work from home cycle.

  • Control expectations. Working for twelve hours is good when it happens once in a blue moon but is a problem when it becomes a daily practice. Companies operating under complete remote working mode have communicated to employees to not work beyond regular hours unless extremely necessary. The idea is to sail through tough times as smoothly as possible.
  • Do not freeze the weekends. The concept of five days a week working was introduced in the early 20th century by Henry Ford; due to the then six days a week working, all work and no play caught up with the workers which led to a loss in productivity. Almost a century later, the situation became the same when people started working over the weekends to catch up with lost work. At Sarvika Tech, we asked the managers and teams to avoid work burnout and enjoy their weekends with family. It helped people to keep work fatigue at bay and enjoy the WFH phase.
Provide teams with a partial WFH option, if the complete remote working situation is not feasible. Click To Tweet

Happiness Security

For many, the workplace is a home away from home, and remote working adversely impacted the interpersonal bonding between team members. In the new normal, where video calls have become a boon, there is a need to provide fertile ground for team building.

  • Introduce fun, engaging activities like quizzes, trivia, discussions that consume minimum time and steer the conversation away from usual work-related communication. The activities can be conducted in a virtual environment thus ensuring maximum participation.
  • Encourage team members to interact with each other and/ or in small groups; the topics of discussion can be anything but not related to work. Similarly, schedule online team introduction sessions for new team members to interact and mingle with their peers. For example, monthly open house events are one way we enable company-wide interaction. The event includes discussions and games; a few of which were organized online during the lockdown period.
Also Read:  The Analytics Of Culture

For the People

Support is a two-way street. It is the moral obligation of employees to help the company sail through unprecedented times with the least hiccups. The following points can help achieve the desired outcome.

For the people

  • Stay connected with industry trends. The pandemic was and is the best time for people to learn about new technologies, take up online classes, add to their knowledge stack, etc.
  • Take care of themselves. It is the employee’s responsibility to focus on their health and safety. At the same time, follow the company laid norms and suggestions diligently.
  • Maintain trust. Remote working calls for a high degree of self-monitoring efforts because losing track of time with the family around is very easy. Also, adapt to flexible work timings.
  • Appreciate the company’s efforts. Many organizations have gone out of their way to ease the remote working phase for their employees: financial support to set up a workstation at home, providing necessary hardware and software, medical assistance, etc.

Whatever we do, it is implemented after considering the impact on the team. A company cannot function without its happy employees, hence all our policies are defined in a way to ensure maximum benefits and growth opportunities for the team.

#CultureAtSarvika

We follow what we preach. All that’s discussed above are followed word to word and line to line at Sarvika Technologies. To people standing on the outside, we are a software development and an IT consulting company like any other organization belonging to the same industry. For the insiders, they know that it is the culture we promote: our working style and the way of thinking make us unique from everyone else. Here are a few things worth knowing about the #CultureAtSarvika.

  • The employee-first culture. Whatever we do, it is implemented after considering the impact on the team. A company cannot function without happy employees, hence all our policies are defined in a way to ensure maximum benefits and growth opportunities for the team.
  • Shaping leaders of the future. Proactivity is the most crucial trait in every Sarvikan (that’s what we call our people). They are encouraged to share, discuss, take ownership and lead the change in their area of work, they deem is necessary. Making them better at leading and decision making, with every passing day.
  • Making career development a priority. It is a fact that no company can survive the transformation wave of today if they’re unable to adapt themselves to it. The ability to change comes from its core: the people. Policies like partial reimbursement of degree/ certificate expenses are in place to encourage constant knowledge up-gradation.
  • The transparency fosters trust. Over the years, we’ve built a workplace where open communication is encouraged, honest opinions and feedback are welcomed because trust only prevails when there are no hidden agendas.
  • A place where work and fun are two sides of the same coin. When one is a part of the fast-paced IT industry, being self-motivated all the time is important. Hustle-with-fun and constant learning culture help us in pumping innovative energy into the team.

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

We share newer articles, exclusive interviews, event updates, eBooks & lots more from the world of HR straight to your inbox.

Previous ArticleNext Article
Kriti Sobti is the Head-Human Resource at Sarvika Technologies. She has 10+ years of experience in helping organizations build an exceptional team and outlining industry-standard HR policies. A sought-after HR professional, Kriti has worked with industry giants like GE Money, Oracle, AON Hewitt, and more. Before joining Sarvika Technologies, Kriti headed the HR department of a cloud-services company based in Jaipur and was responsible for segments like recruitment, employee engagement, grievance management, payroll management, statutory compliances, and more. Over the decade-long professional journey, she has been often recognized as the Best People’s Person by previous employers.

Leave a Reply