11 Aug 2020 17:23 IST

IIM Amritsar HR Conclave explores the emotional impact of Covid

Industry experts discussed ways to improve work-life balance and employee engagement

Indian Institute of Management Amritsar successfully conducted the second day of its fifth annual HR Conclave — Yukti’ 20. The theme for the second panel discussion was 'Employee wellbeing: A necessity in challenging times,' focusing on the need to assess the emotional impact of the pandemic, along with the obvious physical health ramifications.

Bhavya Misra, HR Director, PepsiCo; Arun Kumar Krishnamurthy, Head HR, Barclays, Deepa Verma, Chief HR Management, Tata Steel; Santosh Phulpagar, Head of Talent Acquisition and Development, CG Power and Industrial Solutions; Suchismita Burman, Chief Human Resource Officer, ITC Infotech, were the panellists for the event.

Prof Nagarajan Ramamoorthy, Director, IIM Amritsar, welcomed the panelists and began his address by throwing light on the various milestones achieved by the institute over the years. With an overall increase in the batch strength for the MBA program this year, he mentioned the inception of the PhD programme too.

Improving morale

Students initiated the discussion by distinguishing well-being and wellness. Wellness pertains to only the benefits of physical health, while well-being is an overall determinant of financial, physical, emotional, and social, state of being.

Setting the context for the discussion, they mentioned how nearly 69 per cent of the employees are experiencing the most stressful period of their lives owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. As a way forward, devising policies aimed at bridging the communication gap, mitigating the skewed work-life balance, and addressing the looming fear of unemployment, would help in fortifying the morale of the employees.


Finding balance

Arun K Krishnamurthy, moderator for the second panel discussion, asserted how the pandemic has impacted the well-being of employees in diverse ways. He stated that there is a fine line between employee enablement and employee entitlement. Krishnamurthy also drew an analogy between finding a work-life balance and having the right ingredients in the right proportions for a good diet. The proper balance of both, personal and professional life, leads to favourable outcomes, he added.

PepsiCo’s Bhavya Misra began with defining the term well-being as a state of being comfortable, happy, and healthy in all spheres of life. She insisted on looking at the positives emerging out of the pandemic situation, such as, the ability to transcend the geographical borders and save time, thereby truly realising the term ‘location-free employee.’ The authenticity and vulnerability showcased by today’s leaders in terms of highlighting their struggles and challenges would pave the way ahead, she explained.

Tata Steel’s Deepa Verma furthered her point by extending the concept of well-being to everyone involved, including the stakeholders, employees, and the whole community overall.


Employee engagement

Phulpagar added a valuable insight by introducing the three-prong approach of reaching out to employees. It includes assuring them that we are in this together, providing clarity by setting expectations, and improving employee engagement. He also emphasised on using the three most essential elements for a company judiciously — cost, cash and growth.

Suchismita Burman stated that well-being is a way of life. She stressed upon the idea that accomplishments aren’t the only things that define a person, and we must look beyond our individual success to find solutions to global problems with a growth mindset.

(BusinessLine on Campus (BLoC) is IIM-Amritsar’s Digital Media Partner for the Yukti event.)