An Agile Mindset Will Be The Norm In Future: Head HR, Sennheiser India

BW People in the interaction with Praveen Chandola, HR Business Partner, APAC Region & Head HR, Sennheiser India while HRs are in the rapid action mode during this recent disruption Chandola have mentioned about the measure they are taking to keep the workforces engaged.


Praveen Chandola, HR Business Partner, APAC Region & Head HR, Sennheiser India

COVID-19 Crisis resulted in business instability and loss. In these low times how are you efficiently motivating the top tier manager, team leaders to stay hopeful?

The times that we live in are highly uncertain, hence we need to think about engagement and motivation in the context of the current happenings of the world. Here are a few tips that are helpful in motivating the top tier management and team leaders:

· Empathy: Show empathy towards accommodating employees’ needs to show that you care as they juggle between work and household chores. Asking them about how they would like to communicate and encouraging them to open up about their other concerns can help in solving work-related issues.

· Short term and long-term goals: Encouraging teams to have a short-term goal will set the priorities straight. The deliverables should be easy to achieve to boost employee’s morale. Having an eye on long-term goals is important. Asking them about the learnings, areas of improvement, etc can lead to painting a positive picture

· Trust: In today’s dynamic ecosystem, trust is not restrained to the four walls of companies. Times are gone when people believed/trusted that work was happening only when someone was chained to one’s desk. Now that everyone has to necessarily work from home, the very basic rules for building trust remain the same-

Instead of micro-managing, managers need to provide clear direction, goal, and set expectations; Employees need to show reliability and credibility by delivering expected results.

HRs have been in the rapid action mode these days. On which factors are you focusing and ensuring the most amid this remote working?

At Sennheiser, our first priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees across the country and maintain business continuity. We started partial work from home from 2nd March onwards and went on complete work from home from 16th March.

With the government’s permission, we will resume the partial operation of our Head Office in Gurgaon from 17th May. We have ensured that the offices are deep cleaned and sanitized. All employees will be trained with guidelines to follow. We have procured masks for all employees, automatic (touch-free) hand sanitization & temperature check machine, and PKK Kit for those involved in sanitizing the entire workplace. Our warehouse operations across India have been shut since the lockdown started and we resumed the operations in the warehouse from 4th May onwards with full safety and precautions.

What are the practices are you following at Sennheiser in order to maximize employee engagement?

Across all departments, managers & HOD’s along with their teams are coming up with creative solutions by presenting their ideas and viewpoints to bounce back stronger post-COVID-19. As a company, we are encouraging and guiding our employees to focus on self-development and learning new skills by taking up online courses leading to adding value in employees’ productivity, and preparing ourselves for the future. Teams are arranging video-based technical & product training for the sales team, partners, and customers. Product training and webinars did by our product & business experts for our employees, partners & customers had the highest participation and engagement rate.

It is interesting to note that the response rate between employees and efficiency increased to a great extent. Locally, we have been running fun engagement activities such as quarantine looks, talking about picking up new hobbies, etc, and sharing their learnings by participating in online courses.

As the lockdown has been extended, what are your three major strategies to keep the business and work going on?

As business leaders implement new strategies and processes to operate in times of uncertainty and crisis, effective communication is critical to support employees. Here are a few strategies that HRs can implement to keep the business and work going:

· Implement a performance process: HRs should encourage for constant feedback process for employees. When managers spend more time talking about future development instead of reviewing past results, employee performance increases. And continually focusing on development will drive tangible business results while enhancing your organization’s overall potential for growth.

· Help managers become better managers: People managers play an outsized role in motivating their employees, improving overall workforce performance, and retaining top talent. And the more senior the leader, the more their job typically becomes about using the skills and experience of their team to generate results.

· Upskilling: Investing in employees’ learning and upskilling in the field they are currently working in, especially with the technology/automation tools such as AI, etc will motivate them to apply their learnings and grow in the profession.

Do you think that this lockdown period would redefine the conventional way of doing business?

This extended lockdown has enabled organizations to relook at their approach and business practices.

Companies must embrace virtual collaboration tools and practices to ensure seamless collaboration in the future. Those companies that have previously embraced future-of-work practices are well-positioned to bounce back and respond quickly to the demands while navigating through COVID-19.

The future of the workplace will be a holistic mix of both the virtual and the physical environments. Moreover, technological tools and platforms will support dynamic work locations and increase virtual collaboration. An agile mindset will be the norm and organizations will value adaptability over procedure and the need for automation using technology will take a faster pace of adaption.

What is the one major positive change in the organization that you’ve noticed during disruption?

The one big positive change that was seen during this disruption is the ability to deal with agility and adaption. We have learned to work effectively in a different setup such as work from home, virtual working, and meeting process. This will shape up the workforce to adapt to different working setups much faster in the future. Other positive changes are the increase in ownership, employee efficiency, and the response rate of communication. The use of e-learning platforms has increased and employees’ productivity also improved since they have stated that they are working harder from home.

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