Pharmaceutical major, Lupin, is currently restructuring its compensation and benefits. The process will lead the Indian multinational towards a ‘Total Rewards’ system, which will go beyond just the financial benefits.
“We ensure that employees understand and appreciate the value of their association with Lupin and can clearly see a link between their contribution, performance and rewards – monetary as well as non-monetary,” says Yashwant Mahadik, president – global head- HR, Lupin.
“Not just organisations, even employees are no longer focused only on compensation and benefits. They are more excited by their own contribution, social status and the recognition that the work offers them. This trend will continue, and therefore, we will see more individualisation in our offerings,” points out Mahadik
Mahadik believes that like it happens in IT, banking and other technology-driven sectors, the pharmaceutical industry is also catching up with the simple, agile and highly engaging ‘Total Rewards’ system.
At Lupin, Mahadik continues, “We are putting employee experience at the core of our HR processes. We have been on an HR transformation journey that has a simple aim — to make information available to employees, managers and leaders when they need it the most.”
Managing the rising employee benefits cost
The coronavirus pandemic has many organisations questioning what the total impact will be on their overall costs. Indeed a challenge for businesses and HR, organisations such as Lupin have identified this early on, and acted upon it.
“We are putting employee experience at the core of our HR processes. We ensure that employees understand and appreciate the value of their association with Lupin and can clearly see a link between their contribution, performance and rewards – monetary as well as non-monetary.”
“As employee well-being and safety are our priority, we have always proactively managed the employee benefits cost through our benefits partner and employee education. Given the high rate of medical inflation in India, we have an internal taskforce that reviews this regularly, and they have done an outstanding job so far. We are focusing on empowering our employees with the right information, supportive processes and by building deeper connections with our partners,” claims Mahadik.
This has helped the pharma player immensely to manage the cost escalation challenge. In fact, during COVID19, Lupin proactively increased its medical benefits and life insurance cover for employees because it was critical for their safety, assurance and business continuity.
“The increase in cost far outweighs the benefits of employee morale, assurance and their safety, both physical and psychological,” explains Mahadik.
As economies around the world are suffering from the impact of Covid-19, businesses are experiencing losses, workers are without jobs, and many face the challenge of a complete upheaval of lifestyle. It will be unfair to state that the pharmaceutical industry has not felt the heat of the pandemic.
As the lockdown began, there were certain challenges that most organisations faced. For Lupin, the biggest challenge was to keep its factories, R&D and clinical-trial operations running through the lockdown.
“Being in the ‘essentials’ segment, we were not allowed to shut and continued our operations even during the lockdown. It was not only the migrant workers who went back to their hometown, the situation was similar with the permanent workers as well. So, we faced a shortage of labour at that time,” reveals Mahadik.
Migration of workers started in mid April. The Company sponsored buses and trains for its employees. Meanwhile, the ones who stayed back, preferred to stay near the factories and avoid commuting. The Company had booked hotels and service apartments for these employees and provided them meals from the factory cafeterias. Isolation centres were created, and thermal scanning and proper sanitisation were ensured at the workplace.
When asked about continuing business with a minimum workforce, Mahadik says, “Employees who stayed back worked for longer hours, which was also beneficial for them as they were given more money. Therefore, factory employees working for longer shifts helped us tide over this crisis in the absence of the majority of the workforce.”
Laptops were provided for employees working from home, along with secured connectivity for remote-working devices.
Mahadik believes, “The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of certain tech platforms and databases, especially those meant for remote working, customer engagement, networking, education, learning and meetings. Technology has certainly played a significant role in the quick response to the crisis and in ensuring business continuity.
Although productivity and work-life balance have gone up due to remote working, Mahadik highlights a major challenge hiding behind the curtains.
“Not everybody is equipped to work from home in a hassle-free manner. There are employees who live in one-bedroom apartments and can barely manage to work without any disturbance. As organisations, while we can help such employees with an extra chair and table, we cannot get them an extra room at their home. People with high capita income can afford an extra room for work, while the others cannot,” he adds.