Combating COVID-19 at Anviti
“Never let a good crisis go to waste” Churchill said this towards the end of the 2nd world war when he was forging an alliance with unlikely partners Stalin and Roosevelt to form the United Nations.
For organizations during this trying and difficult period of COVID-19 lockdown, this applies to thinking through ways and means of continuing to create the right kind of atmosphere, providing meaningful support and guidance, and ensuring as much of normalcy as possible, within the practical realities of this period. It also applies to rising to the occasion to think of innovative and differentiated ways to ensure employees are connected to the organizational purpose, feel motivated, and wake up each day with a zeal to perform.
At Anviti, it has always been normal to choose to work-from-home on some days even pre-COVID-19. With a multi-geography, decentralised team structure, we have had to make telecommuting the standard way of working at Anviti, and during this lockdown, the benefits of that approach are truly emerging for us.
Hence, work is taking place at a similar pace and rhythm as before. What had to be solved for, was the growing feeling of isolation, detachment, anxiety, and concern.
Some of the key pillars of our approach during these trying times have been as follows:
- Communicate, even over-communicate - There is no better alternative to letting people know what they need to know. Starting from January 2020, the BCP (Business Continuity Plan) team at Anviti has been constantly sharing information with people along with guidelines, guidance and support on handling the growing spread of the COVID-19 situation. Some of the communication is direct and some are indirect but still impactful. For e.g. the fact that we continue to onboard new joiners, stay true to our commitment on all our job offers made so far, and provide new joiners with a warm welcome to the organization, including simulated office walkthroughs using WhatsApp, goes a long way in creating a sense of reassurance in the minds of our people.
- Recognising the problem early - COVID-19 did not catch us napping. Anviti had already moved to a Team A/Team B rotation based working model before the lockdown was announced, and hence transitioning to a full company WFH was the natural next step for us. A few emails and message exchanges seamlessly transitioned all Anviti to WFH with minimal to no challenges.
- A compassionate approach – Concern for our colleagues has been at the forefront of all our decisions and somewhere, that is felt by our colleagues. A small example is a reimbursement that was provided by the organization to colleagues to compensate for additional expenses towards work from home, including but not limited to sanitisers, tea, coffee, broadband expenses, etc.
- Mitigating this feeling of being alone – Work-related conversations take place all through the day for all of us. However, what is missing usually during these transactional conversations is that human touch – that care and concern- which colleagues usually receive when in office, during their small breaks and catchups with others. Anviti initiated Gupshup sessions to help colleagues interact in small group sessions with leaders, to highlight their lockdown moments- their worries and concerns, their high points, the new skills they have learned (we have too many Master Chef’s at Anviti now!), and generally have a moment away from work, to simply connect and unload.
- Adding value – Our approach has also been to take this as an opportunity to focus on the overall wellbeing of our colleagues – with this in mind, we have created opportunities for them to interact and learn with some well-known experts in the fields of Health and Wellbeing.
- Appreciation – Our ongoing rewards and recognition program of constantly recognising those who embody Anviti Values or make extraordinary contribution at work, ensures that even during these times, people continue to feel appreciated and recognised for their efforts at work.
- Opportunity to shine – Anvitians are an extremely talented bunch of people, and love being entertained as well as being entertainers! We have launched Anviti’s Got Talent as a participative talent hunt where colleagues can come forward to showcase their special talents – whether it is singing, or dancing, or painting, or cracking jokes. Our nominations ticker is still on and we are excitedly awaiting the showcasing of the amazingly talented people we have at Anviti!
Hearing back from people – Some organizations may say this is probably not the best time to hear back from your people. We say this is probably the most appropriate time to hear back from our people- and Anviti conducted its first employee engagement survey with 90% participation within one week, during this lockdown period. Our colleagues are our most important asset, and hearing what they have to say for Anviti, is extremely important, and we did not allow the lockdown to take us away from our purpose
To summarize, I think the key to letting your organization determine how to handle the COVID-19 situation is to think from the long term perspective, determine what would your organization wish to establish as the most critical aspects of ensuring sustainability and focus on those.
Senior Vice President – People, Performance and Culture
Sonali has over 16+ years of experience. She has been instrumental in shaping the people philosophy and practices at Anviti keeping in mind emerging business priorities. Prior to Anviti she has spent 11 years as a Talent management Consultant engaging with corporates and clients at different stages of the organizational lifecycle. Organizations she has worked with include Salto Dee Fe Consulting, Aon Hewitt, Max Life Insurance, Tata Chemicals. She holds an MBA from IMT Ghaziabad and B.A. (Hons) in Economics from Delhi University.