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.
In this episode of The Shape of Work podcast, we interacted with Srishti Jain Kawatra, Co-Founder and Director of Feeding India (Zomato)- the largest non-profit working on a mission to ensure zero hunger. They have served over 126 million meals across 188 cities till date.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the guest: Srishti Jain Kawatra
What she does: Co-Founder and Director of Feeding India (Zomato)
Find her on LinkedIn.
Get Smart: “The lines between a for-profit and a not-for-profit world need to be really blurred.”
In this episode, you will get valuable insights into:
- The biggest challenge companies are facing in the new normal.
- Differences in HR initiatives across the globe.
- The recognitions Srishti received for her work.
- How can startups face the challenges due to the pandemic?
- Aiming towards more social initiatives.
The biggest challenge companies are facing in the new normal:
There is no handbook to figure out how organizations can face the challenges that the pandemic has brought along. The biggest challenge that the people in an organization are facing is to balance their mental health and discontinue learning. The news around covid destroyed work-life balance to a certain extent. Moreover, a lack of social connection has the possibility of reducing productivity in work. Srishti feels that working online, taking care of employee well-being, and ensuring that employees are learning are still some challenges prevailing in the organizations.
At an organizational level, hobby groups should be created. Learning sessions, mental health sessions, yoga sessions, and other such ideas can be conducted for ensuring productivity and wellness. These steps can support the organizations as well as the employees.
Communication is the key to it. Organizations should try to virtually recreate the otherwise casual interactions.
Differences in HR initiatives across the globe:
Srishti has been working across different nations and observed the role of HR in different companies in fostering culture. There are two observations that she made through her experience:
- People in other countries, specifically in Europe and America, are more vulnerable to getting more feedback. They are open to sharing their experiences with that vulnerability and it makes them continuous learners.
- To create a meaningful relationship with their employees, a culture needs to be fostered by HR. They need to create a culture where making mistakes and giving feedback to the boss is okay. However, India has a more strict culture with very little flexibility. Recently, a few organizations are trying to build that openness and culture. Srishti feels that people should be treated in a more humanized manner. HR initiatives can build this culture, giving the employees the opportunities to pursue more things.
How does it feel to be an achiever?
Srishti humbly responds by saying that she still wants to create more impact than she already has. She adds that the recognition she has received motivates her to work harder. It gives her the courage to tackle all the difficulties coming in her mission’s way.
How can startups sustain challenges due to the pandemic?
Plenty of organizations have seen drastic changes due to the pandemic. But organizations that can make it through and have a strong system design can grow in the long run. She talks about the importance of a self-driven system design. According to Srishti, adding too many complexities within an organization in very little time is not always beneficial. After the onset of the pandemic, her organization could not conduct any on-ground activities and had little control over the food supply. Srishti feels the organizations need to use their strengths to pivot at times of challenges and uncertainty. It is only possible when the overall system design is very agile and flexible.
Aiming towards more social initiatives:
Srishti says that the pandemic has changed the perspective of a lot of people. They have become more empathetic. The hunger prevailing in the country was always talked about but never experienced before. It has awakened people and made them more kind and helpful. An organization’s main aim should not only be profit but also contribute to the social good. If all organizations start viewing it from this perspective, they would inherently have an angle to make a social impact. Issues of income disparity, gender inequality, illiteracy, etc., will automatically be less severe.