This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.
For today’s episode of “The Shape of Work,” we welcome Kaustabh Sonalkar, an HR professional who has been contributing to this field for more than 15 years. With the diversity of experiences he has- from judging the Miss India Contest, being a music composer, to writing a book- he can definitely be called an all-rounder.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the Guest: Kaustabh Sonalkar
What he does: Group Director- HCM, Comms, CSR, and General Affairs, Welspun Group
Find him on LinkedIn.
Get Smart: “Textbooks always give you knowledge. But wisdom comes from experiences.”
In this summary, you will get valuable information regarding:
- The significance of books in personal development.
- Organizational reinventions during the pandemic.
- Ways to ensure the mental well-being of employees.
- Importance of good communication.
- New opportunities for India with the shift in manufacturing industries.
- The benefits of remote working.
The significance of books in personal development:
Kaustabh’s book, “Fetch your Own Coffee,” was recently identified as the National Best Seller. However, Kaustabh, himself, is a more practical-oriented person. He feels that books do not really teach you much.
He elaborates on the fact that you can learn more from a practitioner rather than an educationalist. Management doesn’t always come from books. Moreover, he credits his own learning to Bollywood, transgender people, advertisements, and cricket.
Kaustabh calls his book an ‘accident.’ He was approached by Penguin Random House LLC for the purpose of compiling his blogs into a book. He is currently working on a few more books as well.
Organizational reinventions during the pandemic:
According to Kaustabh, last year was a period of challenge only from the pandemic perspective. From an organizational perspective, it has given a few companies an opportunity to reinvent themselves. The pandemic led to the organizations increasing their adaptability. They adapted to modern technology and are managing seamlessly now. Moreover, no organization would have thought about remote work before the pandemic.
Kaustabh worked in two different organizations in the past one year. Both the organizations were young but had their processes structured. He talks about excessive discipline that came in through online meetings. Unnecessary communication is avoided.
Focus on topics like productivity, engagement, the mental health of the employees, and Corporate Social Responsibility gained significant attention. The number of people coming in to help everyone was unexpected. Furthermore, he talks about the ‘work from anywhere’ policy and the new engagement patterns his company follows. He also throws significant light on their attempts to bring in the value of diversity.
Ways to ensure the mental well-being of employees:
Their company involved several ways to ensure the mental well-being of their employees. They conducted Yoga and Zumba sessions and got their families involved as well. Additionally, entertainment programs like circus, theatre, photography, and singing sessions were organized.
Online doctors and counselors consultations were also offered to their employees. Their main purpose was to tell the employees that their organization is here to support them.
Importance of good communication:
To ensure zero risks for the blue-collar workforce, they arranged colonies where they could stay.
“Communication is the key. Make it exciting.”
They conducted awareness and educational sessions regarding the pandemic through innovative ways like theatre, street plays, and radio.
New opportunities for India with the shift in manufacturing industries:
With the shift of manufacturing industries from China to India, we have a great opportunity lying in front of us. As a result, it has pushed the MSME sector and encouraged more people to work on new ideas.
Kaustabh talks about the digital advancements in rural India. The usage of the internet in these areas rose to 33% from 7%. Educational opportunities have increased.
The benefits of remote working:
Kaustabh feels that remote work has brought the world closer. A single call can allow you to interact with people across the world. The world is going for a hybrid environment allowing flexibility for everyone.