How different is Ugam, an analytics company’s virtual onboarding

Ugam, a subsidiary of the Merkle Group, has continued with its hiring amidst lockdown: all employees to work from home till June

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Analytics company, Ugam, a subsidiary of the Merkle Group, has recently onboarded 47 employees as part of its global hiring process. It started its hiring process in mid-March and till last week has managed to hire people across locations — six in Bangalore, five in Coimbatore, 35 at the Mumbai headquarters and one in Australia. In the first week of March itself, the top management at Ugam got down to creating a war room and a COVID- response team to facilitate work from home (WFH) for the entire organisation.

The regulated hiring process at Ugam was spread over two weeks, allowing the employees buffer time to get acclimatised to the work and culture of the company.

The whole process is divided into the ‘pre-joining’ phase and the ‘post-joining’ phase. The first week, the pre-joining phase, is mostly about introductions and familiarisation for the new joinees. Each person is assigned a buddy from the HR department, who becomes the go-to person for any sort of issue they may face in the process. Each employee was also assigned a mentor— in addition to their manager— depending on the kind of projects they would be handling in their individual roles.  The second week or phase two, is dedicated to inducting the employees, which includes giving them an idea of the kind of work they would be doing, briefing them about their responsibilities and introducing them to their managers and team members and providing them with ample learning material.

Vaishali Mehta, SVP-Human Capital Management, Ugam

After the situation is in control, we may consider opening up in a phased manner. Until then, we do not plan on going back to office

During the lockdown, members of the administration and IT teams were given special passes by the Company, enabling them to deliver company-configured laptops and required equipment to the employees who were going to begin WFH. In cases where the lockdown restrictions did not allow movement in the area, the existing devices owned by the employees were remotely configured for them.

The second week is when the induction program for the employees begins after they join and they are gradually introduced to the kind of the work they will be taking on. They are given a curriculum and a schedule to get familiar with the culture and values of the company. They are introduced to their managers and team members and are briefed on their roles and responsibilities, the clients they will be working with and the kind of projects they will be handling. This helps them to get familiar with the system at a controlled pace and begin working with a clear picture of what to expect.

“While preparing for virtual onboarding and gearing up for the new normal, we wanted to provide the right experience for our employees, and therefore, getting the onboarding process right was important. Getting it right ensures that employees want to stay with you”, says Vaishali Mehta, SVP, human capital management, Ugam.

While the majority of Ugam’s 2,005 employees are working from home, few members of the IT support are still commuting to office to ensure critical support for the entire organisation. Across offices, 10 people in the IT department are currently commuting to work. The company provides transport facility for employees without a private vehicle to commute.

For Ugam, work from home began almost a week before lockdown. In the first week of March itself, the top management got down to creating a war room and a COVID response team to facilitate work from home for the entire organisation.

In the second week of the hiring process, employees are also given access to a host of learning materials. Ugam has a mix of content including its in-house platform called Learning Hub, which includes curated content for different roles and functions and access to other platforms, such as  LinkedIn learning, up-Grad and Coursera.

The Company does not plan to return to office anytime soon. Ugam has reinstated work from home till the end of June and may even continue the arrangement further. “After the situation is in control, we may consider opening up in a phased manner. Until then, we do not plan on going back to office”, concludes Mehta.

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