Nurturing a Culture of Carehood in the workplace
Tuesday November 30, 2021, By Dr. Divya Kumar
During the pandemic, corporate houses partnered with public and private institutions to support employees and family members by procuring medicines, ventilators, arranging medical facilities, supplying grocery and basic amenities for those quarantined, apart from conducting vaccination drives. Caring for employees is now a shared value. Organizations are embracing, rather aggressively, the culture of carehood since last year by building empathy, creating a psychologically safe culture for their employees beyond their rule books. In the 2021 Best Practices of the 100 Best Conference by Avtar and Working Mother, DEI leaders shared their experiences and the journey of embedding a culture of carehood in their organization in the session titled ‘Nurturing a Culture of Carehood’.
Akanksha Sane, Senior HR Director – India, PTC Software, stated, “it is important that we allow employees to be authentic. As an organization, we addressed loneliness and extended flexibility to our employees.” She added that when the situation became grim with more cases, PTC focussed on the psychological safety of their employees. It started right from the top; leaders demonstrated that aspects like vulnerability and weakness are acceptable, she pointed out.
Tooba Modassir, South Asia Talent, Learning & Diversity Head, Citi, seconded Akanksha and added that organizations need to acknowledge all aspects of employees’ personal and professional fronts.
Affinity or network groups play a huge role in a great avenue or culture to speak out. Counseling sessions or one-on-one support were extended by organizations with confidentiality. Sonal Jain, Enterprise Head HR & Head HR Consumer Health, Johnson & Johnson Pvt Ltd, stated, “Sensitization and accountability were extended from the managerial level at J&J. Even individual contributors adopted J&J’s DEI goals on their own.”
Jayanthi Vaidyanathan, CHRO, PayPal, shared how they took employees surveys to understand critical aspects. As a result, PayPal extended supportive care beyond employees covering the family members, offering domestic abuse support. Jayanthi added, “We need to be open to learning and to be affirmative. But it has to be the leaders who drive and role model the agenda.”
Every crisis or challenge always brings out the best solutions. In the backdrop of the pandemic, DEI became more actionable and meaningful in the organizations by embedding the 3C’s – concern, compassion, and care– in their ecosystem.
Manager – Research, Avtar
A passionate researcher with an avid interest in social science, Divya is a PhD awardee in Organisational Behaviour from the University of Madras. She has authored and presented papers in both National and International Conferences including IIM-K and IIT Madras on topics related to employees at the workplace. An associate of Avtar’s DEI research team, she has penned newsletters and blog articles on DEI and women professionals career enablement.