In Conversation with Anupal Banerjee Chief Human Resources Officer and Company Ethics Counsellor, Tata Technologies on Employee Life Experience
Anupal Banerjee is the Chief Human Resources Officer and Company Ethics Counsellor at TATA Technologies. He leads the company’s human resources strategy and worldwide HR activities in support of the overall business growth, with a particular focus on organizational design and effectiveness, learning and organizational development, technology-led HR processes, and most recently, building out a global technical university. Along with the HR function, Anupal also oversees the Global IT and Global Facilities function at Tata Technologies.
Earlier at Viacom18, he was responsible for the following HR functions: Performance Management, Organization Effectiveness, HR Technology, Total Rewards, Talent Acquisition, and HR Ops. He also has held leadership roles at global technology and professional services firms Capgemini, WNS, and Infosys.
Anupal also serves on the Board of Governors of IIIT Ranchi and is also a part of the Global Executive Council of Workplace@Facebook, Palo Alto, California.
Q- What are the key challenges that you’re facing as an HR Leader when it comes to Employee Experience amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of HR and HR Tech in organizations across industries. Tata Technologies is a large and diverse organization with over 8,500 employees spread across 17 delivery centres around the world.
As an organization, we had to move with agility when lockdowns started being enforced globally. It was important for us to quickly align our actions with location-specific requirements. We were clear that a single-stroke “one-size-fits-all” approach was not the way to go.
As an engineering services organization, WFH for us did not involve employees simply taking their laptops home (or anywhere else) and continuing from where they left off. It required a more holistic approach which involved employees working with IT, HR & Admin Teams to move entire workstations from the workplace to other locations.
In terms of Employee Experience, offering flexibility is key. We had employees moving back to their hometowns and we worked with them to ensure their workstations could also be shifted to their present locations to ensure business continuity as much as possible.
The actions we have undertaken have majorly been in line with what most major organizations have done. There may be some differences according to the unique requirements of each industry, but our actions have been largely congruent with what I understand other organizations have done.
The point of differentiation has been our approach towards executing these actions, ensuring a constant flow of open and transparent communication, and building a level of trust with employees that we are in this together
Q- What are your plans at Tata Technologies to meet employees’ most pressing needs such as safety, health, and wellness in current times?
At Tata Technologies, we recognized that the need to build trust with employees through support was of paramount importance in the new normal. In this respect, we have followed a clear journey of moving from health insurance to wellness to wellbeing. Initiatives such as Unlock Down Let’s Talk, Covid Response Team, Employee Well-being, etc. are important to break out of pre-existing silos and make work more collaborative while focusing on BAU.
It is important to work closely with employees to understand their most pressing needs and to find ways to meet those needs. We have recently made some changes to our benefits policies in an effort to extend support and assistance to families that have suffered loss in these difficult times. These initiatives are:
- Financial Assistance over and above Group Term-Life Policy: Currently, the group term life insurance cover enables a total amount of two years annual fixed salary to be paid out to the families of departed colleagues. As an immediate step for the rest of the fiscal year (till 31 March 2022), we will be topping up the sum insured with one more year of total annual fixed salary as an employer contribution to ease the burden on affected families. Families of departed colleagues will hence receive a total of three years’ annual fixed salary. This will also cover the families of recently departed colleagues.
- Immediate pay-out of variable pay to families of departed colleagues: Families of affected colleagues will receive an immediate pro-rata payment of 100% of their eligible Variable Pay.
- Extended medical cover for core family: As an organization, we are extending and sponsoring the medical cover for families of affected colleagues for the next 10 years or till their children reach the age of 18, whichever comes later. Premium towards the same would be paid by the Company
- Employee Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI): In addition to the above, the families of these colleagues will also receive payments under the Employee Deposit Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme which applies to all employees who contribute to PF. This scheme provides a total lump sum payment of INR 702,000 to the beneficiary.
- COVID Relief Fund where employees can contribute to support the employees and families impacted by COVID-19. The contribution has been overwhelming.
Q- What helps you to earn employees’ trust at the workplace during the COVID-19 crisis?
In my previous answers, I have spoken in depth about the actions we have taken as an organization to support our employees. What makes the difference in terms of employee trust is executing these actions well and ensuring that there is a consistent flow of open and transparent communication with our employees which helps to build resilience for the long term.
As we look towards the future, we are continuously redesigning initiatives – creating a Work from Anywhere policy that is comprehensive and adaptive to our unique circumstances, understanding aspects of Mental Well-being better to be able to provide customized support solutions, building adaptive leadership, and bringing in agility to day-to-day operations.
Q- What are your hiring plans for Tata Technologies in 2021-2022?
We are focused on developing a hiring strategy that is in perfect tandem with our business growth plans while securing our position as the top brand of choice for aspirants. We are viewing hiring or resource augmentation from two lenses – what we can build and what we need to acquire.
Consequently, we have set up a global, full-fledged digital technical university that would drive our build plan. I also believe that hiring from the lateral market would get increasingly competitive with compensation levels reaching unmanageable levels.
Q- Any concluding remarks?
As an organization, we have been blessed to have a wonderful set of stakeholders. The pandemic is still far from over, but we have combated this crisis with resilience and patience.
We were able to seamlessly adapt to the challenges and continue our business operations with minimal impact. We could not have done this without the support and cooperation of our clients who worked with us at every step and helped the organization navigate the situation with agility, integrity, and empathy.