How Altran, part of Capgemini instills trust in employees amid the COVID-19 crisis
As India Inc returns to work in the midst of a pandemic, questions have inevitably emerged about the safety and health of employees at the workplace. The new normal calls for more reassurance and confidence-building measures to build trust with employees. Organizations across industries will have to go the extra mile to instill trust.
In fact, according to the recent Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report, 63 percent of people around the world believe that information regarding COVID-19 from employers is more credible when compared to other sources. Some of the other findings aptly illustrate the high degree of trust that organizations need to develop as part of the new normal:
“In eight of 10 countries surveyed, “my employer” is seen as better prepared for the virus than my country. This finding is confirmed by the high trust in “my employer” to respond effectively and responsibly (62 percent) to the virus.”
“Seventy-eight percent of respondents expect business to act to protect employees and the local community. Seventy-nine percent expect business to adapt its operations, including remote working, cancelling non-essential events, and business travel bans. Business is counted upon (73 percent) to adapt its HR policies, to give paid sick leave or prevent at-risk employees from coming to work, among other things.”
It is important therefore to assess the primary concerns of employees in terms of job security, health, and safety. Naturally, employees will expect the highest, globally adopted standards so that they feel secure inside at their workplace. After the phased removal of the pan-India lockdown, Altran, a Capgemini company has enabled our employees to work from office with a forward-thinking and strict need-based approach. Our SOPs for restart underline our deep commitment to employee safety and are aligned to the rules and recommendations made by local healthcare authorities.
The pandemic is a game-changer for HR. It has spurred us to reassess employee engagement channels and proactively address workplace challenges from an employee perspective.
At Altran, employee wellbeing is a top priority. The onset of the lockdown meant that we had to urgently reach out and verify the supply of basic necessities for our people who were living alone/ away from families in shared accommodations. Our dedicated task force was successful in providing essential supplies for employees who were facing challenging circumstances.
With the worldwide rise in Covid-19 cases, Altran’s Business Continuity Plan (BCP) was evoked in March ensured that 90% of our employees were able to work from home. The BCP taskforce made sure that all of them had access to laptops and desktops which in some cases were delivered to their homes. At the outset of the lockdown, we had achieved 90% of our business continuity targets which increased to 97% within 15 days of the lockdown announcement. Capgemini, our parent company, successfully transitioned to remote work globally in just one week, (95% work from home at peak) thanks to robust digital collaborative solutions.
Instant chat group/ Web Conferencing Tools that were specific to each function and business unit were created with an objective to provide 100% HR connect with each employee. In fact, online message groups have become one of the key communication channels for reliable support to employees. Thanks to the digital world.
Are your employees feeling heard?
Open forums for employees to voice their work and health-related anxieties are important now more than ever before. This is essential to cope with the emotional strain that can be caused by the lack of social interactions/ possible separation from families for a long time, and a prolonged lockdown. A survey by the Indian Psychiatric Society revealed that during the lockdown, mental health concerns increased by 20 percent.
Thus, it is crucial to avoid a culture of stonewalling and effectively address the new challenges that arose from the prolonged lockdown.
Our wellness programs were launched in parallel to the extended Work from Home (or rather anywhere-WFH) phase which was an unfamiliar experience for all employees. By empathizing with our people who are now in a new work environment, our HR Teams are able to relate to them better and understand their unique circumstances. Having identified the probable challenges, we have boosted our Employee Assistance Program to address specific issues related to mental health, parenting, and work-life balance. To help them better adjust to WFH, we organized timely Yoga and Ergonomics sessions that received a highly positive response. These virtual sessions by professional counsellors have proven to be effective in helping employees develop coping skills, make important decisions, or explore new avenues for change and growth.
Enhanced Employee Engagement at Home
While a majority of our teams are adapting to the new normal and working remotely, our high team spirit and camaraderie have remained unchanged. Despite the fact that employees cannot get together in a physical workplace, we have sustained our culture of celebrating big moments together.
In fact, we went a step further and invited our employees’ families to join us for a variety of engagements that ranged from cooking challenges to energetic performances with loved ones. All these programs were conducted through virtual platforms and witnessed overwhelming participation.
Hybrid Working Model
By now it is almost certain that we are not returning to the traditional office-based working model. Virtual collaboration and communication platforms are being adopted by employees across the board at a faster rate each day. Some of the many benefits include a reduction in business costs, travel time, and enhanced flexibility to work from anywhere. In the last few months, more and more employees have been empowered to work from the comfort of their homes, regardless of their distance from the workplace. A greater work-life balance created by this scenario cannot be ignored especially if productivity remains more or less unaffected.
This situation has also led to additional opportunities for women who are on leave or sabbaticals as they can restart or continue to work from their homes and remain available for their loved ones.
None of this would have been possible without technology that has enabled safe and seamless links between leaders, managers, employees, and customers. It has allowed organizations to adopt remote working within a short timespan and overcome the initial learning curve.
Four key steps to evolve towards a mature, agile and fully resilient Digital Workplace
- Redefine mobility and providing the means (i.e. tooling & equipment) to work from anywhere, anytime and with any device
- Break silos and empowering employees and teams with intuitive and user-centric tools
- Ensure adoption and the right use of tools and digital platforms
- Manage your cybersecurity risks to provide a secure workplace environment
In fact, higher investment in cyber-security has further consolidated customer confidence in the hybrid working model. We have undertaken additional awareness programs with regard to information security and augmented our cyber-security infrastructure in this regard.
According to a recent study by the Capgemini Research Institute, “the move to virtual working requires a deep change in behaviors and mindset for both leaders and employees.” The new normal also calls for placing trust in employees, being empathetic to their wellness, and fostering collaboration in remote workforces.
In the near future, health and wellness programs will also be very crucial to business functioning and HR practitioners must build new plans centered around an employee’s perspective to cope with hybrid working models.