HR Leadership Has To Reinvent Itself: Director HR, L’Oréal India

BW People in interaction with Roshni Wadhwa, Director – Human Resources, L’Oréal India discussing the ways and strategies for keeping the morale high of their employees in these low times.


In this pandemic hit situation, HR leaders are in action playing critical roles. How effective are you in keeping the morale high of the employees?

While we are grappling with a crisis that the world has not seen before, the HR leadership has to reinvent itself. This pandemic has clearly shown us the importance of leaders who can lead through a crisis with a balanced approach and ensure the focus is always on the employees in addition to business needs. With the business environment becoming very unpredictable and challenging, the big challenge for HR leaders is to come up with a strategy to manage People cost on one side and drive effective engagement with employees on the other hand.

With 100% WFH situation, we at L’Oréal are leveraging technology, all our employees are enabled to continue to perform their job remotely. Through our #LearningNeverStops initiative, employees are invited to enroll for various online programs and use this time productively to upskill themselves. Health and wellness are other big areas to engage with our employees meaningfully. Online fitness classes, webinars on wellness topics, Employee Assistant programs, and interactive sessions are been curated to support employees fight anxiety and distress.

Socializing is an important part of our lives. With social distancing in practice, teams are creatively organizing virtual parties, virtual gatherings, group calls, etc. to stay connected.

Adapting to virtual platforms and remote working is setting a ‘new normal’ way of working.

HR leaders must take advantage of this crisis to re-engineer the workplace and workforce to drive cost efficiency. Most of our high-cost programs and events are now been reset into the virtual format.

COVID-19 introduced disruption in the ways of execution in the industries. What is the way have you changed in the organization?

The hiring of summer interns and management trainees is one of the key Talent Acquisition strategies for building the talent pipeline for the future. This year, our Summer internship program has been converted 100% into WFH projects. After an extensive virtual onboarding program, all interns are assigned projects in which they can work remotely. Project guides are assigned to mentor and handhold them through this journey. Various touchpoints have been created to ensure there is no compromise in the quality of the output and learning for our summer interns. HR and business teams are demonstrating great agility in adapting to these new ways of working which eventually can turn out to be ‘new normal’ in the future.

Teams are latching onto digitization opportunities and changing the ways of working.

Are there any particular programs where you extend your support to your employees and their families? Digital wellness challenge to address the health, fitness, financial, and emotional wellness of the employees? How would you rule this out?

Fear of the pandemic, an inability to meet family and friends can result in a feeling of anxiety, anger, and frustration. Looking after the emotional wellness of our employees at a time like this is extremely crucial. Through our ‘Employee Assistant Program’, we provide free and confidential counseling for our employees and their family members. Employees can reach out to experts to see advice on any topic and seek resolution. The L’Oréal ‘Share and Care’ social benefits program, addresses the essential needs of employees in four areas: health, welfare, parenthood, and quality of life at work. Its

wellness component called ‘Wheel of Wellness’ focuses on – Physical, financial, Emotional, and Nutritional wellness. We have organized virtual programs such as online fitness classes, wellness webinars by expert speakers, mindfulness sessions under each stream to keep employees motivated and engaged.

We also check in on our employees on a daily basis via SMS & emails, asking them to respond if they need help. The HR teams speak to everyone who requests for help, often it is people who need a sympathetic ear to talk to. This gesture by the company has really been appreciating by employees.

We also ensure we recognize the successes of people and celebrate them under our Together Apart initiative. During our calls / virtual meetings, we encourage employees to introduce their family members while working from home to build a sense of togetherness and bonding.

Do you think that this is the right time to upskill? Are you holding training in your organization?

Upskilling our people is an ongoing priority. However, the current crisis situation has led us to reinvent the way we upskill our people. We continue to hold training programs but on virtual platforms. Employees are quickly adapting to this format of learning. Post-crisis, we plan to change our mix of offline and online training programs which much focus shifting to converting offline programs into online training programs.


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