Interview With Swarna Sudha Selvaraj

Interview With Swarna Sudha Selvaraj

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, every organisation is experiencing its own set of unique challenges. How do you see the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the IT/ITeS sector?


In the current situation, placing more focus on moving forward would be beneficial to people and businesses alike. I see this as an opportunity and would like to highlight four main silver lining areas:


  New Engagement Models


 New Business Opportunities


 Reimagination of Sustainability Initiatives


◆ Expansion of Community Initiatives to Global Communities



What, according to you, are the biggest opportunities that the COVID-19 has brought forth for your sector?


COVID-19 has thrown several opportunities to the IT Sector. I have already highlighted them in four categories. I expand upon them a little bit here.


The TCS trademarked “Secure Borderless Work Space” (SBWSTM) is a point of pride, in which we have been able to onboard more than 95% of about 450000 of our employees across the globe.

Even though customers in some of the sectors like travel, tourism, and education are right now struggling with the situation, there is a lot of scope for cross-pollination of industries, and coming together collaboratively to create newer business opportunities.


The ongoing crisis also turns out to be a great opportunity for sustainability initiatives with a lot of learning from current environmental changes.


There is a larger focus laid by organisations on community initiatives, mainly in the education sector, where organisations are providing learning opportunities for people not only within their communities but to global communities now in the digital mode.


The breadth, depth, and scale of the novel challenges being experienced by HR Managers are indeed astounding. According to you, what are the biggest pain points for the IT industry? How do the same need to be tackled by an HR Manager?


The primary focus area has been the health and safety of employees and supporting business continuity of customers. The actual challenge was to get both done in parallel seamlessly. Currently, we can be confident in stating that the most difficult phase has passed.


The challenge right now at the hands of HR managers is employee engagement. Because of the change in the work model, there are huge opportunities to redefine employee engagement. This includes the experience of employees in learning, career, well-being, welfare, to name a few.


For instance, in the next week, if 100 employees are to join the organisation across the globe in different countries, in different roles across different experience levels, can HR guarantee seamless employee experience? What would be the experience of the existing employees in integrating these newer employees into the global workforce? This could prove to be a meaningful pilot for defining the experience of the future, and what all can be done contactless as part of these employee experiences.


What has COVID-19 changed the most for HR professionals? What are the areas of concern that employers might be called upon to address going forward?


Ethical stalking related concerns are on the rise. Organisations might have to work on revisiting their policies to balance regulations, business requirements, and employee safety.

Changes in travel policies, internet related policies, health insurance policies, leave policies and many others that would have linkages to compensation and benefit are likely to come into play.


Clear communication and getting rid of ambiguity would be essential to retaining the trust of employees and keeping up their morale.


When it comes to addressing key concerns such as changing business needs and boosting employee morale, what are the vital points that function as an imperative for an organisation in the IT sector?


Retaining the trust of existing employees and gaining the trust of newer employees would depend heavily on HR practices, policies and procedures.


Some of the low-hanging fruits could be:


Enabling Employees: An employee is most productive when they are enabled. With all the flexibility that is already available, it is now time to add on the aspect of infrastructure or any other support that would enable the employees to be at their best.


Empowering Managers: The nearest touchpoint for an employee is their manager. The more empowered the managers are, the faster the need of the employee is met.


Non-Stop Exhaustive Learning Opportunities: Providing a variety of learning opportunities to enable employees to stay relevant would be one of the critical priorities of HR. This is essential more than ever, and it is an important role of HR to inspire associates to take as many learning opportunities as possible, per the business requirements and aspirations.


Clarity in Communication: Performance management, increments, promotions and related decisions must be communicated upfront with justifications to cut off any ambiguity that could arise out of them. Travel policies that need changes and processes around those with FAQs could provide clarity to frequent travellers in organisations. There are several other policy and process changes that could be thought of and communicated clearly for employees’ consumption.


Celebrating Moments: Bringing teams together and keeping connections intact between employees with events that highlight positive memories could become a key differentiator in keeping employees bonded.

With 5+ years of experience, Ankita has performed diverse roles across the entire spectrum of corporate HR - from hire to retire. She is currently Deputy Editor at Human Capital.


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