“Organisations will have to normalise hybrid working in some form or other,” Sunitha Lal

Each year, Ather focuses on training its leaders and managers to have more meaningful conversations with their team members says Sunitha Lal, CHRO, Ather Energy


A big change in 2022

Given the current situation, and the unpredictability of the future, 2022 may not be all that different from 2021. In that way, it will be a year of not only learning, but a year to reflect on how we respond to crises and how we have improved on working through them. 2022 will also be a year where organisations normalise hybrid working in some form or other.

This requires us to build systems that are effective for such a model at large scale. At Ather, we would love to call our team members back to our offices as soon as possible, but not at the risk of creating more uncertainty or panic. After the last two years’ efforts, we now have the confidence that we will be able to pull off our OKRs (Objective & key results) regardless of work locations. Yes, there is fatigue from being at home around the clock, but we are staying focused in moving towards our orgnisation-level true North, given the rate at which we are growing.

Coaching or mentoring to become compassionate leaders

Coaching and mentoring are part of the basics that an effective organisation requires. There is a larger fear amongst people that empathy and compassion could mean being indecisive, which can hold us back from achieving our goals in time. But that’s not true; it’s important for a leader to be emotionally intelligent. The sign of good leaders is always their ability to foresee change, to be the catalyst for it, and not resist it. Each year, we focus our efforts to train our leaders and managers to have more meaningful conversations with their team members. Be it our performance management philosophy, Vector, or how we engage with our culture collective, Think as a Species (TAAS) – the cornerstone for all of it is conversation.

Although our leaders play a significant role in keeping the organisation moving towards its moonshots, we have empowered our team members to take decisions as subject matter experts through specialised training for first time managers, competency-based interviewing, and our swim lane way of working.

Marriage between IT & HR: the new power couple

In an organisation such as Ather where innovation and problem-solving are at such high levels, power cannot be centralised. We have known that for long, but with an advantage in the number of our team members, we have implemented change in order to empower cross functional teams with our agile way of working. Our IT and people operations teams work in tandem with the rest of the organisation thanks to this team structure.

Moving into remote working was not a natural shift for us, at the beginning of the pandemic. With the support of the IT and admin teams, and our team members, we are today working in a hybrid style, and it is notable that work has been going on in warp mode during the last year.

To be successful in this new world, the most successful organisations will have to have fantastic forward-looking people strategies, such as understanding and investing deeply in the talent and cultural capital that gives the organisation its unique identity. Ranging from the performance metrics that we closely track, to the analyses that help shape our culture, data fuels our processes and decision-making.

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