We the People: Prashant Kaul, MD, PMG - South Asia
A proactive approach in preparedness will go a long way in predicting who will survive the longest in this battle writes Prashant Kaul, MD PMG - South Asia.
I am an eternal optimist. Hence, I firmly believe, this crisis will soon end. By this time next year, we will go back to the way we were living in the Pre Covid-era. But what do we have to do until we start “living” again. All we need to do is, “make sure we survive”!
I use the word “survive” not just for the physical survival of us Homo Sapiens (oh yes, the Flora and Fauna are doing just fine, without us!); but for our mental and emotional survival, as well as the survival of our businesses and economy.
The Pandemic Pandemonium
Until January 2020, Corona was a Mexican Beer that was consumed with a slice of lime. March 2020 changed all that. Corona became a virus and the most fearful word of the generation.
More than 80% of the news, in the last few months, is related to this Virus! Leading economists and IMF predict “the world is facing the worst economic downturn after the Great depression.” We don’t need the IMF to tell us this. We are all well aware of the facts! Sure we are in the midst of the largest lockdown the world has ever witnessed and it definitely has massive economic repercussions. Yes, the Events Industry has been one of the worst hit. But panic cannot be our answer!
The Firing Squad
As early as March, the firing squad was out and employees were being laid off by a number of firms in the events business.
If there is ever a time to retain staff, it is now. In this tough economic environment, it would be impossible for anyone to find a job. So where would the employees go! How would they support their family?
Am I implying that firms should not lay off employees and go bankrupt! Not for a moment am I suggesting that. Aren’t Companies looking at innovative ways of making money? Aren’t they venturing into verticals they have never even contemplated earlier? Of course they are. So why can’t they look at innovative ways of retaining employees?
We at PMG are doing precisely that. Till date, we haven’t laid off a single employee. In fact, every single employee went through the annual appraisal process this year and received increments for their performance as well. Not just that, the entire PMG team went to Goa in February to celebrate our Annual Offsite. PMG is an equal opportunity employer and hence every PMG employee went for this offsite, irrespective of whether she/he was an office boy, runner, manager or managing director!
During this time, all of us realize that job retention is the need of the hour, hence, as employees, we are open to “contributing” for our “comrades”. “If I look after my colleague, some colleague will be looking after me”. This is the PMG Way!
Does that mean that PMG will never lay off any staff? Well, if we ever end up doing that, it would be the last resort and only after every possible option has been exhausted.
Plan to Prosper
A proactive approach in preparedness will go a long way in predicting who will survive the longest in this battle. Succinctly, PMG Asia’s battle strategy is not just helping the organization to stay afloat but helping our employees’ economic and psychological well-being in a big way. A few employee-friendly decisions acted like a shot in the arm that dismissed the worst impacts of coronavirus (fear in the workforce).
By February, we started the office sanitization process and procured thermal scanners. By March, well before the government announced the lockdown, we announced work from home for employees who could function remotely.
Work from Home (WFH) was an easy transition for PMG since we have been promoting this ever since our inception 15 years ago.
We realize that the lockdown was sudden and would be harsh on people since a number of them are not from the Delhi and live by themselves. We were mindful that they might feel lonely. Hence, we introduced Heart-to-Heart Motivators. These were a set of motivators, handpicked from the leadership team, with whom our employees could anonymously share their problems and fears.
PMG provided salary advances to employees in early March and April to ensure no one was strapped for cash and could buy the essentials during the lockdown.
Using digital connectivity, employees were entertained with a live musical concert and quiz contests. We extended our physical Fun Fridays to virtual Fun Fridays. These activities ended up creating a semblance of normalcy for the employees.
Remember, the ones who will get the firm out of this crisis, are the employees. And when the Good Times come back (which they will), each one of them will remember!
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