The pandemic has upended the way we work in obvious as well as subtle ways, and many organisations have reevaluated their approaches to talent acquisition, employee engagement, and well-being. As the corporate world begins to incorporate the learnings of that unprecedented experience, it’s evident that the future of work will look vastly different than it did before Covid-19. While businesses have shifted their focus from survival to growth now, they know they must also prioritise the needs and expectations of their employees.
Take the example of the global health information technology company, CitiusTech. As 100% of CitiusTech’s business comes from the healthcare industry, the pandemic had a strong impact on customer engagement. As the firm moved towards a remote sales and consulting model, it had to ensure that the change did not compromise the high-touch and high-involvement approach that is key to its success. “We also had significantly large unutilised engineering capacities during the pandemic. We created an organisation-wide programme called ‘Innovation for Accelerated Growth’ (IAG), focused on identifying and utilising the best minds across the organisation to build path-breaking healthcare technology solutions. This became one of our most successful innovation stories and was recognised as an industry best practice,” shares Anupam S, senior vice president and head of talent management, offering an example of one positive that emerged from the pandemic.
The opportunity to improve
The pandemic also created an opportunity for CitiusTech to further improve its remote employee engagement in ways that would not be needed in a normal situation. While positive employee experiences have always been deemed critical to the organisation’s success – CitiusTech’s Enterprise Employee Value Proposition (CTE-EVP) has always been an important part of its strategy, which is aimed at becoming a global leader in healthcare digital transformation – the firm went all out to ensure this aspect received due attention. “We have very vibrant employee engagement programmes and a sharp focus on improving Employee Satisfaction (E-SAT) scores,” says Anupam, as he shares that the firm set up a comprehensive EAP to maintain and even improve employee engagement in remote / WFH scenarios through the pandemic.
Key elements of the EAP put into place then included:
- Regular team check-ins—‘fun hours’—to improve and facilitate team bonding, and ice-breakers for hires made during the pandemic to mimic the engagement that employees would have otherwise had in the office
- Frequent employee surveys, called ‘Pulse Surveys’, were used to gather feedback and ask for suggestions around topics like wellness, upskilling needs, infrastructure issues, policy clarity, work-life balance, and so on.
- Managers checked on employees on a regular basis, to understand if they were experiencing fatigue due to the WFH situation, and what levels of fatigue they were experiencing so that they could proactively help employees to make their remote working experience smoother.
- A special ‘engagement team’ was set up to reach out to employees and leads. Their feedback was communicated to relevant stakeholders and addressed on a priority basis.
- When it was time to come back to the office, CitiusTech organised initiatives to motivate people to work from the office so that they could better collaborate with teams and experience the brand; this was especially important for new hires.
“Steps were taken to reduce the span of interaction for each Reporting Head so that they could establish deeper connections with a smaller number of team members,” Anupam shares, adding that the HR team also reaches out to employees on a regular basis and shares findings with market leads.
Many of the organisation’s leadership development initiatives have also been upgraded to meet the new challenges of leading and motivating teams in a remote work scenario. Anupam offers the following examples:
“The ‘Empower’ training programme was launched a few months before the pandemic. It was designed to distribute ownership and management to teams to a larger set of employees who were called Operational Reporting Heads (ORHs). This became an automatic need during the pandemic, and the programme was scaled to include a new set of employees.” CitiusTech’s Empower programme has now been effectively converted into a virtual programme, without losing its hi-touch nature. Another such programme was the IAG that’s been touched upon earlier in this article. In addition to the pathbreaking solutions it yielded, at the height of the pandemic, the Innovation for Accelerated Growth (IAG) programme, additionally, helped high-value employees upskill and stay engaged during a brief period of business uncertainty.
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Skill management and the upskilling of employees gained significance through this time. “We called our initiative ‘LEAP’, and it involved creating a seamless ecosystem of technology tools, including skill capture platforms, learning management systems, HRMS, resource management tools and AI tools to build personalised learning paths for employees,” says Anupam.
Naturally, the entire new employee induction process must also be moved online. This required a significant shift in approach – including paperless onboarding, digital engagement and skill management. For all organisations across the world, these changes that were required across the board accelerated the reliance on technological tools. HR Tech evolved rapidly to address the needs of organisations and today HR tech platforms and tools are available to address every part of the talent management process.
The ‘Empower’ training programme was launched a few months before the pandemic. It was designed to distribute ownership and management to teams to a larger set of employees who were called Operational Reporting Heads (ORHs). This became an automatic need during the pandemic, and the programme was scaled to include a new set of employees
Age of automation
“The key is to use the right set of tools and platforms in an integrated fashion to help businesses become more predictable and proactive in terms of talent,” says Anupam. “HR professionals require a strong focus on data and analytics-driven solutions that impact decision making not only at an organisational level but also at a team and individual level. For example, being able to gauge hiring and training needs of the organisation based on business data, attrition data, existing skill levels, etc., which gives better predictability and control over business outcomes.”
HR tech allows organisations to not just be more scalable, but also become more personalised in the way they engage with employees and even talent that is external to the organisation. But implementing these tools is one part. “The key challenge for HR teams is to actively move from the existing process-driven approach to a more data and analytics-based operating model,” says Anupam, pointing out that HR professionals would thus be required to build new competencies around data and analytics, persona-driven engagement models, skill management systems, learning paths, experience management platforms, social media tools, and so on.
As organisations will continue to make smart investments in technology and analytics to bring more predictability to their hiring and people management processes, for candidates, it is necessary to focus on upskilling and being able to demonstrate specialised capabilities that are aligned with industry trends. This is even more important to counter the uncertainties of a turbulent economy. “You need to take every chance to upskill and strengthen your knowledge base, especially in a difficult market,” says Anupam.
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Measuring the success of these initiatives is a critical first step as it encourages meaningful action aimed at actually effecting positive change. CitiusTech relies on Employee Satisfaction (E-SAT) and Customer Satisfaction (C-SAT) metrics to gauge the efficacy of its employee engagement initiatives. “We observed that even in the WFH situation, C-SAT continued to be extremely high, indicating that employee productivity and responsiveness levels were extremely strong. We continued to rate highly on E-SAT parameters too. We also partnered with an external consultant to collect feedback from employees about their well-being and satisfaction levels and about the support needed from CitiusTech. This feedback has validated and reinforced our internal understanding of employee practices,” Anupam shares.
He adds: “Covid has taught us to become a digital-first organisation – across HR, recruitment, candidate engagement, team collaboration, learning and development. CitiusTech invests in significant learning and development for employees. Our knowledge management platform, UniverCT, is one of the largest healthcare IT training platforms globally – it includes over 200 healthcare IT courses and videos, and over 350 practice documents.”
UniverCT works seamlessly with SkillPrism, an AI-based skill specialisation platform that lets employees design personalised learning paths. Today, 100% of CitiusTech’s training is being done online.
Year of Incorporation: 2005
Number of Employees: 8500
– Rizwan Koita
– Jagdish Moorjani
– Rajan Kohli – CEO,
– Atul Soneja – COO,
– Prashant Mahagaonkar, Senior Vice President & CFO,
– Sowmya Santhosh, Senior Vice President & CHRO
Business Line: CitiusTech Healthcare Technology Pvt. Ltd. is a leading provider of digital technology and consulting services to payers, providers, medical technology, and life sciences companies.
Key Investors: Bain Capital Private Equity and BPEA EQT