The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the lockdown has broken the backs of economies worldwide and crippled even the most stable companies.
“At the time of this crisis, our company was doing its bit to sustain the lives and livelihoods of as many people as possible. The effort was directed at retaining our employees, even if it meant taking a hit to our bottom line.”
A multinational consumer electronics company of Japanese origin, Panasonic India has been weathering these tough times through a sustained effort, and claims to have managed with zero layoffs and pay cuts.
Adarsh Mitra, director and CHRO, Panasonic India, says, “Panasonic, which is now over 100 years old, believes in giving back to the society as much as it cares about the top and bottom lines.”
Panasonic thought of its employees first before anything and anyone else. After all, ‘charity begins at home’.
Mishra says, “At the time of this crisis, our company was doing its bit to sustain the lives and livelihoods of as many people as possible. The effort was directed at retaining our employees, even if it meant taking a hit to our bottom line.”
Mishra shares that, apart from the fact that Panasonic has strong financial fundamentals — which is why it was able to withstand the hit — it was also its judicious management of finances, which resulted in reduced operational expenses (opex).
While revenues have been badly hit in this pandemic, on the flip side, opex came down drastically during the lockdown. The Company was able to save huge amounts due to no travel expense and cancellation of certain marketing campaigns and suspension of many similar activities.
Mishra opines that the biggest challenge for the team was to keep the team motivated amidst the negativity. “At Panasonic, employee engagement is one of our biggest priorities and it is our endeavour to create a culture and an atmosphere, where our employees are highly committed to and passionate about their jobs,” says Mishra.
Before the lockdown, Panasonic India was all set to substantially increase manpower. However, it decided to put the plan on hold and rely more on the existing workforce. The Company believes that new professionals would only have worked for money, but the old employees would work to earn and grow together.
It is not that the Company has totally frozen its hiring. Rather, it has honoured all the offers that were made earlier and is also making some fresh recruitments in various divisions and departments.
The Company’s factory in Jhajjar, Haryana, is up and running. “We are following all the Government guidelines and maintaining proper hygiene and social distancing within our factory premises. While our production has not yet hit pre-COVID levels, the product demand has picked up and I expect the production levels to return to what they were at the start of the year,” says Mishra.