The new waves of the pandemic led many companies to double down on their efforts on wellness. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Shilpa Kabra Maheshwari, Executive Vice President & Head, Human Resources (HR) at Siemens Limited spoke about the impact on the job market, the role of technology in enabling change and the company’s talent priorities for the future.
From an industry perspective, given the extent of damage that the second wave has done to the economy – including the state level lockdown measures, what is its impact on the job market?
While the organized sector remains unaffected however the job market has been adversely impacted mainly in the unorganized sector with major job cuts. There is an interesting trend of hiring we see in the IT industry which has picked up pace and there is tremendous scope on account of the demand in the current times. Cross geography hiring of talent is now possible and this opens opportunity for organizations to hire the best talent irrespective of location.
What was the role of technology in meeting your workforce needs, and in supporting your employees in their day to day work?
We have already established mobile working as core component of the “new normal”. The new normal working model fits seamlessly into our concept for the future of work. We’re using this model to pursue the goal of developing new ways of working together on a mobile, digital basis. We trust our employees and empower them to achieve the best possible results. Our innovative cloud-based IT infrastructure has been instrumental in this entire transition.
- IT tools adoption like MS teams (and Circuit in the initial transition phase), Online collaboration tools (e.g.Conceptboard, One note, Planner etc.)
- Our shift to digital processes (in HR or even other areas)
- Initiatives like MLW (My Learning World), other online learning initiatives to keep employees up-to-date on technology
What are your top talent priorities in the near future and how are you looking at talent priorities amidst a number of competing business priorities?
- Build digital capabilities to be a future ready organization.
- Have a robust talent pipeline and proactively work on development measures
- We need to move from hierarchies to ecosystems, and this transformation requires a new understanding of leadership
- Empower & enable our talents – Practice self-nomination to promote all interested employees to apply
- Creating impact by driving strategic re-skilling & new leadership via our Siemens Leadership Excellence (SLE) programs for our top leaders and succession candidates
- Actively investing in highly diverse leadership teams that apply an approach based on strengths
What steps are you taking to ensure that you are fostering an engaging and diverse workforce?
We have an open work environment for all of our employees, regardless of cultural background, ethnicity, origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity, expression, or characteristics. We aim to create possibilities for diverse experiences and interactions, with the overall goal of achieving a diversity of mindsets throughout the company. To help our employees optimally develop their talents, we offer numerous development opportunities in a modern working environment.
There have been several organization wide employee engagement initiatives across the organization. Following are some examples: Connect sessions like Dil Se, Digitalization Pathshala, SI Café, Physical & Mental wellbeing programs, Leadership Connect sessions, No Agenda meetings, Knowledge sharing sessions etc.
What are some measures/ priorities on employee health and wellness that are going to shape your business in the future?
To support families of employees, who have lost their lives to COVID-19, Siemens announced lumpsum financial assistance of Rs. 25 lakh in addition to one year’s salary of the employee. Furthermore, support towards school fees and continued medical insurance for immediate family members will be given. Siemens will grant supplemental leave for colleagues recovering from COVID-19 and additional 10 days of Wellness Leave for every employee.
The above measures are in addition to the Vaccination Camps being organized in a phased manner across the country for all employees and their immediate family members based on eligibility criteria defined by the Government of India. The Vaccination Drive is a priority for the Company and implemented for the safety, health, and well-being of our employees and their families.
A medical helpline facility is available for all employees and their families 24*7 to seek advice from competent & highly skilled medical professionals & consultants on any health concerns, testing centers, and precautions for Covid-19. In addition, a 24-hour Counselling helpline on mental well-being and stress-related issues is available for employees and their families.
Fitness & Well Being Initiatives
Further, keeping in mind the importance of fitness, a Healthy-Break exercise module is uploaded on our intranet and other internal digital networks. The module includes different exercises on breathing, stretching, and yoga. Employees can also access modules on Relaxation and Meditation via a mobile app. An employee self-assessment tool to indicate levels of stress, manager sensitization program & informal connect sessions with counselors + doctors are various other initiatives that are being planned in this direction.
We will continue to support every employee and their family at this very difficult time. The organization is doing everything possible to ensure that every employee feels safe and cared for.
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