How Yokohama Off-Highway Tires restructured HR-employee connect & engagement

Learning from its past experiences and experiments, Yokohama has introduced four levers for business continuity

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At a time when many organisations are still struggling to manage collaboration at workplaces amidst the hybrid work model, YOHT has come up with four levers which can ensure collaboration, connectivity, wellbeing and engagement. These are, HR Connect, Managers Connect, Wellbeing Connect and Learning Connect.

This will now restructure the connect between the employees and the HR. The Company has streamlined HR and managed to carve out a well-planned and structured way of communicating and engaging with its employees.

HR Connect

The Company has formulated a plan wherein the HRBPs will connect with their respective functional teams every fortnight, to discuss and deliberate on business matters. This is being followed by employees working in the corporate offices. Else, there is also a wellness team at Yokohama which regularly stays in touch with each and every employee to check on their health and also the wellbeing of their family members. These individual connects are established every day. If employees require anything or if there is a distress call due to COVID, the COVID Task Force reached out immediately to provide further assistance.

“Earlier, it was a little unstructured and responsibilities were overlapping, which posed a problem for business continuity. Our communications were not forceful and we believed that every employee was following the discipline. But now, everything is well planned and structured. Everyone knows what they have to do and are expected to do. The meetings are fruitful and precise and the frequency of collaboration is also well planned.”

Rajeev Singh, CHRO, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires

Managers Connect

The head office and other corporate offices follow a structured way to connect with each other to ensure business continuity. The managers are given a free hand to chart out how and when they wish to connect with their teams — daily, weekly or monthly. At the shop floor, by and large every worker is coming daily but there are some support functions, such as HR and finance that are not required to visit the plant every day. They are following a hybrid model of work, so they have to connect with other team members. They are also following this structured plan to connect.

Wellness Connect

A COVID task force has been formed, which comprises the HR, admin and in-house medical staff team, which provides assistance to employees who need help or medical attention for COVID cases. Also, the Company has a 24×7 helpline number, where employees can reach out to in case they need any assistance. For the employees who are home quarantined, the Company is providing homemade meals through their task force.

Learning Connect

Yokohama believes that learning should never stop at any point. Therefore, the Company has started various initiatives, which are in accordance with the needs of the Company and the skills required in today’s time.

A module in the learning programme of Yokohama is aimed at training managers to manage virtual teams.

As explained by Rajeev Singh, CHRO, Yokohama Off-Highway Tires, the fundamentals of managing a virtual team almost remain the same as managing any other team. However, a few elements have been added pertaining to the techniques of connecting with the team virtually. The second most important skill is listening. “Nowadays, many people are going through struggles. Therefore, it is very important for a manager to listen to the team, empathise and then formulate strategies,” says Singh.

During the lockdown, the Company realised that long learning sessions do not work with employees when they are working remotely. So it came up with short, 180-min long Power Learning sessions.

As per Singh, during the previous year’s lockdown, the Company had struggled to connect and collaborate internally. Despite several experiments, success was not achieved.

“Earlier, it was a little unstructured and responsibilities were overlapping, which posed a problem for business continuity. Our communications were not forceful and we believed that every employee was following the discipline. But now, everything is well planned and structured. Everyone knows what they have to do and are expected to do. The meetings are fruitful and precise and the frequency of collaboration is also well planned,” explains a satisfied Singh.

The four levers, Singh says, “have allowed us to keep a people first strategy” and served as “oiling for smooth business continuity during these challenging times. Now we have a centralised monitoring body which give us better control.”

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