COVID-19 has inspired many business leaders and HR managers to rethink the role of the human resources function. In the fourth episode of the Parichay webinar series, HR leaders from diverse industries shared insights from their experience during and before the onset of the pandemic. In Part 3 of the blog series, Nivedita Nanda, CHRO, Kaya India, sheds light on the employee-friendly policies and benefits rolled out in her organization.
The reality of working from home was uncharted territory for many companies like Kaya.
Hence their HR managers had to think differently to transition to the remote work mode. Eventually, they made it happen. In-person teamwork shifted to the online collaboration mode. A confident Nivedita reveals that her work continues to evolve in response to COVID-19.
The pandemic has disrupted many organizations and made HR managers think about vital policy changes. In the first phase, Kaya’s accent was on acquiring the technology to help people work from home, increase productivity, and rethink employee happiness. The second was about business planning and people morale. In the current phase, the organization is doing whatever it takes to help employees.
Exciting Employee Policies
Nivedita and her management have accepted the current scenario as the new normal.
They are now trying to develop exciting policies to help the organization remain successful despite the odds. But the emphasis of all the initiatives will be on maintaining the employees’ morale, happiness, and health.
When the Middle East employees started falling sick, Kaya granted 15 days of
Covid Sick Leave for the first time. Nivedita’s team also realized that their young employees would require extra leave to take care of their old parents. So they introduced a leave policy called Care for Elders. Gift a Leave was another well-appreciated concept that allows employees to gift a leave that can be availed or encashed by needy colleagues.
Another innovative policy that Kaya rolled out was for young mothers. When daycare centers and crèches closed, women employees found it difficult to manage their kids. The Flexi Work Hours policy addressed this issue. It allowed employees to come to work for 4-5 hours (or more) and get paid for that.
Kaya, as an organization, was aware of the importance of employee engagement and invested in an LMS for the first time. Then they set mandatory hours of learning for all the employees. Even though the company had 93 products, the company forced its frontline staff to sell them.
It was always about suggestive selling. Nivedita’s team has now included training in their productivity/performance evaluation process.
Not every policy can be entirely favorable to all the employees of an organization. There is also the challenge of balancing employee wellbeing and organizational performance. Hence, communicating the policy in the right manner is a vital step. Nivedita rightly says that it is crucial to make employees understand the rationale behind every policy and win their acceptance.
How to convince the management to roll out an employee benefits policy? Nivedita feels that the management need not be ‘convinced’ since they know what it entails. SMEs, in particular, have now learned how to manage their overheads during a crisis. Moreover, when there’s effective communication, transparency, and honesty in dealing with employees, the task of building trust and loyalty becomes easy.