Due to the impact of the pandemic in the manufacturing sector, majors such as DCM Shriram have gone ahead and held back increments, which were due in the month of June-July.
While the organisation is gearing up to battle the crisis triggered by the pandemic, Sushil Baveja, director – HR, DCM Shriram, spoke to HRKatha and unveiled some of the plans that lie ahead in the kitty.
“Our increments usually happen around June-July and we are still in the process of taking a standard view on it. Currently, we are holding back salary increments and whenever we give out, it may not be the same level as earlier,” Baveja adds.
The management has not decided a particular timeline for the decision-making on increments yet. However, Baveja clearly mentioned that the Company has not laid off any employee and salaries were disbursed on time.
“Covid has been an opportunity for organisations to rediscover their hidden potential. We suddenly realised that we can manage things at work with lesser resources and leverage technology to a great extent.”
While the manufacturing giant has deferred increments, it has managed to undertake the appraisal process successfully during the lockdown. “As compared to pre-covid, instead of face-to-face interactions, the process was undertaken virtually through zoom calls.
Currently, if you pick any sector, almost every organisation is being very cautious when it comes to hiring. Likewise, DCM Shriram is going slow with hiring. However, it has not frozen the process. During the lockdown, the Company honoured almost 90+ offers made before the lockdown, and onboarded the new joinees.
According to Baveja, “As an organisation, we are trying to analyse how urgent a particular requirement is and whether it can be deferred or pushed back. Therefore, we are only focused on need-based hiring at the moment.
While most organisations have been adapting to the work-from-home life, this transition has been challenging for employees trying to balance official work, household chores, health and family. Naturally, many have been feeling a little demotivated and helpless, given the current scenario.
For Baveja, the biggest challenge during lockdown was managing the morale, motivation and engagement of the employees and at the same time, ensuring business continuity as well.
DCM Shriram introduced several initiatives for employee wellbeing. It extended the ‘Employee Wellbeing Assistance Programme’ to all its employees during this crisis.
A session on ‘Managing COVID-19: Anxiety & Alleviation’ was conducted, wherein useful tips on preventive measures at home and while working at office were given; and ways of dealing with anxiety supported by scientific information were shared.
A live webinar was conducted on ‘Practising emotional wellbeing’. The session helped participants understand the importance of emotional and mental health, ways of dealing with negative emotions and hence coping with anxious and stressful situations.
Another session was focused on the ‘Importance of health insurance’, wherein basic types of insurance plans and the decision inputs for taking a particular type of plan were discussed.
To help employees keep healthy and fit, online fitness and yoga classes were organised on all days of the week. These classes not only engaged employees at all levels, but their families and kids as well.
“People have learnt to be innovative and creative. The awareness about mental wellness has gone up. It’s a big realisation that apart from technical and functional skills, one needs to possess emotional skills as well,”Baveja shares.
As they say, the more the merrier, so when it comes to celebrations, DCM Shriram has gone way beyond to connect with its employees and their family members, in particular.
The Founders Day, which falls on April 27, and is called the ‘Shriram Jayanti’, was celebrated this year too, with the usual pomp and splendour, even though employees could not be physically present with each other. Over 4000 employees and families of DCM Shriram got together virtually across locations, to be inspired and guided by the values of their founding father, Sir Shri Ram. This is the first time that the Company celebrated this important milestone virtually. Each business location also had its own individual virtual events.
DCM Shriram took care to add all the usual elements to the virtual celebration, which the Company normally does for the annual Shriram Jayanti function. It included a message from the managing directors of DCM Shriram, who talked about the values of their founding father, and how he overcame many challenges throughout his life.
The Long Service Awardees were also acknowledged and celebrated. Employees and families from all locations had put together a cultural medley to celebrate this community milestone.
Initially, it was challenging but the Company managed to ramp things up, in terms of production activities and usual business processes. It also ensured that the right communication went to all the employees.
“It wasn’t just the HR that was connected, but even the line managers were in constant touch with the employees for the work to continue uninterrupted,” he adds.
Talking about another major concern, Baveja mentions how the organisation has managed to provide healthcare support to not just the employees but also their families.
DCM Shriram has its own clinic in Delhi and Kota, the manufacturing hub. The teams along with the doctors have been providing medical support round the clock.
“The biggest concern people usually face in a crisis is about healthcare, and the kind of support they can look forward to. The clinic takes care of the employees, their families and their medical needs.”
Located at Jhandewalan in New Delhi, the Company also has an ‘employee shop’, a departmental store that offers all the basic necessities, such as groceries and appliances to the employees.
“During the lockdown, there was a surge in online deliveries and this facility was availed mostly by the families than the employees themselves. We were able to give the families of our staff a first-hand experience of our commitment towards their welfare,” claims Baveja.
With an employee strength of more than 5000, currently, the Company is operating with just 60-70 per cent of its staff in the manufacturing plants and around 10 per cent in the corporate office, in Aerocity.
In Baveja’s words, “Covid has been an opportunity for organisations to rediscover their hidden potential. We suddenly realised that we can manage things at work with lesser resources and leverage technology to a great extent.”