By Debjani Ghosh
The second wave of Covid-19 will go down in history for the devastating impact it had on India. The depth of suffering and loss is something most of us have never experienced until now. He also shed light on the power of humanity and kindness. It was truly inspiring to see communities of selfless volunteers coming together to support families in need of urgent help and do whatever they can to help strangers. Strangely, our collective grief brought strangers together like never before and demonstrated the true power of compassion and kindness across India.
The tech industry in India has always been known for its cutting edge innovation and global success. However, over the past few months he was championing one thing above all: his employees and the resounding message from almost every CEO was that we must do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and their families. . It was the first job.
And as a result, began a marathon effort to provide 24/7 support to employees – testing, information, doctors on call, isolation centers, oxygen concentrators, insurance, mental wellness, partnering with health care providers and vaccination campaigns. Leadership in a crisis is all about resilience and agility and I’ve seen another key trait overlap with that: empathy and flexibility.
Around the same time last year, when cases in India had just started to increase and strict lockdowns were imposed, the industry had quickly shifted to a remote-working model while keeping the workers safe. employees as its top priority. Over the past 14 months, the industry has continuously invested in strengthening the remote working model. Almost everything is virtual: hiring, onboarding, sales, collaboration, delivery and even mergers and acquisitions. The industry has implemented world-class remote working practices and the current bottlenecks have not resulted in any difficulty. Businesses were 90% working from home in March 2021 and have quickly grown to 98% working from home. The model is extremely fungible and there is constant investment in technology and process infrastructure. When you think of a distributed working model, you normally don’t consider a distributed model over 150+ cities and towns in India and many other parts of the world, but it has been the model of the tech industry since then. ‘last year.
A question that comes up sometimes: does the focus on people have an impact on businesses? As employees take time off for medical reasons, is this impacting global customers who run critical processes in India? I firmly believe he is doing the exact opposite. We are a knowledge industry and talent is our greatest competitive advantage. Our employees build our differentiation vis-à-vis the competition. Therefore, focusing on the well-being of our people has always helped us to emerge from a crisis stronger than before. Our customers understand this too and they have supported us every step of the way. On the contrary, I would say that the trust and partnership between Indian companies and their global customers or parent organizations has only grown stronger during the crisis.
I believe everyone understands that the second wave of Covid is not an Indian phenomenon – United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Brazil, South Africa, several countries have faced this pandemic and the lockdowns are a measure necessary to break the chain. Second, as data from these countries show, this phase is temporary, cases will peak and start to decline as we are already seeing in parts of the country, although we cannot let our guard down and must follow the Covid protocols. Third, Indian companies have invested in sophisticated business continuity plans and risk management practices to deal with such scenarios, and have been very willing to proactively discuss the situation with clients who have all asked companies to prioritize the health and safety of employees. Where appropriate, a redefinition of work priorities is carried out, a reassignment of employees is undertaken for critical projects and new hires are accelerated. Covid has been the ultimate stress test for industry business continuity plans. Strong BCPs, sustained transparent communication and strong partnerships are the way to weather the crisis.
What is encouraging is that the demand environment for technology and digital continues to be very healthy. As the quarterly results of the top companies have shown, the deal pipeline is very strong and the pandemic is only accelerating the need for every company to be a technology company. Investor interest in Indian tech startups is at an all time high and more Indian companies are building their model online + offline. The demand for digital technologies and talent continues to outstrip supply and industry’s rapid recycling efforts in India are helping to address this shortage.
Empathy, resilience, agility and adaptability are what continue to define the tech industry in India and the lessons from this phase only connect the industry closer to its most important asset: its employees.
I close by saying that I am really proud to be part of an industry that truly cares about its people and the country. With a foundation built on empathy, trust and resilience, I firmly believe that we have the right elements to build back stronger and better. Each crisis forces us to rethink who we are and what we value. I believe the pandemic has brought to light one of our industry’s greatest strengths – the power of empathy and compassion. And I hope this becomes a badge that we will always wear with pride.
(Debjani Ghosh is the President of NASSCOM. The views expressed are those of the author.)