Trust is the new management mantra in the hybrid workplaces, affirm HR leaders

New Delhi: Hybrid workplaces are now a reality. As corporate India gears to come back to the office, Chorus Call, a global conferencing solutions provider, hosted an exclusive event, “Can Virtual Be A Virtue For Employee Engagement”, with some of the best brains in the HR fraternity to share their learnings and expectations from the new order.

Speaking at the virtual event, Mr. Shiv Shivakumar, Group Executive President – Corporate Strategy, Aditya Birla Group emphasised how employee engagement is a measure of the emotional commitment to an organization’s vision, values and goals and goes beyond the employee satisfaction surveys and salaries. Despite the transition to the new normal, regular and transparent communication, genuine appreciation and recognition, flexibility and safety at work continue to remain the foundation of employee engagement. Outlining the approach for the future, he elaborated upon how it would be critical for organizations to demonstrate trust in employees, help with goal alignment and career planning and development. In conclusion, he underscored that employee engagement as a topic is much broader after the pandemic and a lot more to be done in this arena.

In response to a question about what would be the biggest challenge if 70% of the employees were to actually work from home for an infinite future, Mr. Shiv Shivakumar highlighted three major challenges. The biggest challenge in his opinion was about orchestrating work amidst teams working from home and those from office, especially those working on a pitch or specific business challenge. Second was about understanding how the concept of team could be reinforced, wherein colleagues are able to build kinship, share their strengths and vulnerabilities. And lastly, he highlighted how building a system of learning in such a scenario would be critical as it would require an immense amount of coaching and mentoring from leaders. Furthermore, sharing his views on how to deal with non-performing employees under the work from home scenario. Mr. Shivakumar said, “We always talk about employees not being able to perform, one of the biggest challenges of the pandemic is that old school leaders are not able to perform. At least 25-35% of such leaders are not able to perform as they don’t have the physical infrastructure and assistance which they were used to.”

Commenting on the workforce returning fully to office, Rahul Pinjarkar, CHRO, Trent Hypermarket, said, “Putting a percentage number to the workforce that will continue to work from home is irrelevant, it is contextual. It’s okay to have the doers work from home. However, the managers need to work from the office to effectively manage their teams and brainstorm on growth opportunities and operational excellence which is difficult to achieve in the virtual world”. He further added, “Pandemic has left lessons for both businesses and people. There is abundant clarity on which business will continue and which will not. Likewise, for people, it has taught them how to come out of their comfort zones and build capabilities that will help them stay relevant and grow in the future.”

Sharing his perspective, Mr. V Krishnan, CHRO, Havells said, “There has been a paradigm shift in trusting colleagues. A request for work from home that used to meet raised eyebrows has become a norm. Managers have learned to trust and it changes the overall equation and work culture. The other significant change that has happened is the focus on employee wellness. The organizations were not ready to address the wellness quotient of employees but quickly geared up to address the challenges that the pandemic threw on us.”

As one of the largest managed video conferencing solutions providers, Chorus Call India works with over 2000 large enterprises in India, managing over 20 virtual meetings & events every day. In the last 18 months alone, the organization saw a 236% increase in the number of employee centric meetings such as CEO townhalls, reward and recognition ceremonies etc. which is a testament of how employee engagement is one of the key priorities for people-first organizations. Host and convener of the session, Mr. Jerry Bindra, MD, Chorus Call India said, “In the virtual and hybrid work set up, video conferencing has become a mainstay for all businesses in staying connected with their stakeholders. We have always believed in the power of video conferencing and therefore have built the technology to suit the requirements of our customers for all the meetings that really matter and cannot be left to any chance including CEO townhalls, reward and recognition ceremonies etc.”