Uncertain Times, Unique Experiences

Uncertain Times, Unique Experiences

As new industry paradigms will be set, the office space will be all about adjusting to the physical and virtual world. Human Resource will have a strategic role to re-shape and scale employee experience.


Successful organisations have prioritised employee experience as much as customer experience. The current crisis, as it lingers, prolongs the uncertainty while individuals and organisations are learning to deal with such times. The present situation has made it imperative for organisations to reinforce their core values, inculcate new practices wherever necessary while keeping employee well-being a top priority. Uncertain times like these can set in pessimism with prolonged social isolation further deteriorating the situation. Managing workforce experience during such times, thus, requires the organisation to engage with the employees proactively, albeit virtually, build trust through transparent communication and vest confidence with positivity.


With COVID-19 still round the corner, employee safety remains a priority. Employees need to feel secure at the workplace. This is all the more crucial for institutions providing essential services such as banks that have the responsibility of keeping the financial system up and running. Nevertheless, organisations need to keep hygienic working conditions, with all the safety ‘mantras’ followed in letter and spirit. Employees also need to be in constant touch with each other to know their well-being. In such critical times, being supportive always rallies around to ensure the wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Building empathy and a supportive environment should allay the fears and boost employee productivity.


Organisations should encourage every team member to become a leader with accountability, providing reassurance to each other.


The pandemic has cast a gloomy outlook on the economy and lives around. While a constant flow of negative information can make the employees anxious, it is crucial that the leadership ensures the sustainability of employment and realign the workforce to remain forward-focussed. It is during such challenging times that organisations need to show their mettle and demonstrate resilience. And this happens only when employees are motivated and derive social cohesion among themselves through a common purpose. A culture that streams through the leadership comes into play to instil commitment. Communicate, communicate and communicate – a vital cog in the organisational wheel.


We must also realise that while all of us are in it together, different life situations amongst employees would mean different financial, mental and social impact. Thus, organisations should develop flexibility in processes, open to flexible work timings, meeting schedules, leaves etc. As employees are likely to work remotely, establishing new communication mediums to maintain synergy across teams will emerge as a challenge. Digital mediums will be pivotal in aiding to overcome such challenges as they provide an interface to bridge the social gaps. Besides ensuring business continuity and operations, digital mediums will also provide an effective listening board for employees. Providing a listening board for employees through an internal communication channel to report what they are seeing or feeling will allow organisations to augment their communication efforts.


Drawing the learning from the initial few months, it is now upon the management to re-draw and permanently integrate digital communications into the process. As office spaces adjust to the needs of the pandemic, office designs that provide an interface between customers and organisations must find a balance. An organisation that shall display empathy, a leadership that takes accountability, is inspiring and supportive, will find their employees productive and loyal that will also spread positive word-of-mouth. As new industry paradigms will be set, the office space- at least till the vaccine arrives- will be about adjusting the physical and virtual world. Human Resource, will have a strategic role to re-shape and scale employee experience.


Sanjay Kao is Head-Human Resources, Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. He has previously worked with Lipton India Limited, Dunia Finance LLC, Citibank, NA and ABN AMRO Bank, NV. Sanjay holds Bachelor's degree in Technology (Chemical Engineering) from the Banaras Hindu University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.


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