2020 ushered us into a new way of working. Organizations are now moving to investing and setting up infrastructures to provide a superior work experience to their people– Hybrid 2.0. SAP organized the SAP HR Connect 2021 to throw some much-needed light on how we can design employee experiences for the hybrid 2.0 world that are holistic, progressive, agile, technology-driven, and most importantly, more human!
The pandemic revealed the best and the worst in organizations. While the worst is not yet over but with the best elements in place, employers can rebuild resilient brands, cultures, and experiences for a diverse, human, hybrid world. Yashwant Mahadik, President – Global Human Resources & Co-Lead Business Transformation Office, Lupin Global, shared some incredible insights as part of his case study on how resilience has transformed their organization from within.
Over the last two years, the best employer brands have rewired themselves, placing human employee experience at the core and rebounded with resilience. As we reimagine our world in a hybrid way, organizations need to put resilience at the center of their EX strategy. To do this most efficiently, we need to review the situation we are in and identify “what have we learned” and “what we can do differently”.
One of the first things that this pandemic has taught us is that there are more types and kinds of disaster scenarios than we are prepared for. While most organizations had some sort of disaster planning in place to ensure business continuity, not many even imagined the kind of scenario we are currently in. When companies prepare for disasters, they mostly consider – electrical grid situations, floods, nuclear plant leaks, hurricanes, etc. as disasters that can disrupt businesses. Not many had painted a disaster scenario of a pandemic where the whole world would shut down.
When the pandemic started it affected every industry differently. Certain industries like airlines, hotels, tourism were affected more than others as they shut down overnight. From week one, these industries had to worry about cash conservation. On the other hand, some industries were under a different kind of stress. Industries like healthcare, pharma, and other essential commodities had to keep operations running continuously, without even a single day off.
HR leaders have been confronted with challenges of business continuity from day one. The biggest issue for most has been the jobs that cannot be performed from home, such as manufacturing, hospitality, etc.
The learnings we have gathered are probably as diverse as the problems we have faced during these challenging times. We as organizations have learned numerous new ways of engaging with our talent through technology. While processes like assessing talent and recruiting were easier to adopt virtually – but the step of onboarding proved to be one of the first challenges in HR. Over time many similar processes had to go through some massive transformations for HR to seamlessly transition onto a more virtual world.
We also learned that simply being sensitive to our people’s needs is not enough. We need to genuinely care and show assurance towards our talent and others within the community. Most companies did exceedingly well on this front. However, this also resulted in the suffering of business results for some. As costs for many companies shot up considerably. For example, at Lupin Global, we doubled our insurance for our people. The cost of doing this outweighed any savings we had made over time. These small steps to assure your commitment to your talent’s well-being are critical. It makes them feel assured about working for the right company and leaders -who have their hearts in the right place.
On the other hand, there have been companies who have had the intent but lacked the resources to provide any extra support to their people. At the other end of this spectrum are organizations that had to lay off employees barely 6 months into the pandemic and file for bankruptcy. Imagine the kind of stress and impact this dynamic created on the talent market.
Adapting to these scenarios meant that the talent had to recalibrate itself. And we as an organization needed to find new ways to connect with our talent. To better understand the ground reality of our employees, yearly engagement surveys were not enough anymore. We needed to conduct pulse and dipstick surveys on a quarterly and sometimes even a monthly basis.
Priorities of the talent have also changed with the changing times. Ongoing trends suggest that most employees want to move out from the big cities and go back to the smaller cities. To live with their parents and care for them while working from home. There are so many similar situations that one had to learn and become sensitive to while taking care of the talent.
On the other hand, we also realized that our productivity per person did not suffer. People ended up working more and were able to turn out more when at home. Mostly because they saved a lot of time due to the elimination of travel time, and also people genuinely cared enough to give their best – which was amazing to see.
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