By Prachi Raturi Misra
COVID-19’s second wave has thrown life off gear and it is not easy to keep employees engaged and motivated.
Some organisations are however going that extra mile to make sure the emotional and physical wellbeing of it’s their employees is taken care of. Wiley, a global education, research and learning giant offering a host of education and technology solutions in India, has taken some innovative steps to keep employees healthy, engaged and motivated.
Mr Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley India, talks to Prachi Raturi Misra about Wiley India’s initiatives for fighting the Covid-19 fight and helping its employees stay motivated.
What does employee well-being mean for the organisation Wiley in such tough and trying times?
The brand Wiley has been in the global market for over 200 years and in India, we have spent over two decades. For Wiley, employee well-being has always been at the heart of its operations. When we say well-being, we mean the overall well-being in a true holistic aspect, entailing both physical and mental wellness.
In such unprecedented times, especially amid the virulent second wave of Covid-19 in India, it has become more critical than ever to focus on health and wellness. As a global education, learning and research organization, we stand committed to our people and their needs. At Wiley, our employees have been our greatest asset and we want to truly help them stay safe, healthy and protected.
What are the employee well-being initiatives that you have taken in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in India?
To help our employees in India navigate through the crisis at hand, we have been taking several employee well-being initiatives at Wiley.
The Company believes that the current situation calls for a well-deserved time for employees to focus on themselves and their families. All employees are, therefore, being encouraged to take paid time off for themselves and their family in case they are sick or if they have family members who need their immediate care and support.
We believe that it is also the time to re-align and re-calibrate employee initiatives to help people cope with the distress. The Company has therefore introduced ‘Happy Fridays’. Employees can take paid half-day on Fridays and utilize this time completely to rest and recharge, invest in self-development, master a new skill, or simply volunteer in community initiatives.
Apart from this, Wiley has provided ‘Headspace Meditation App’ subscription to all its employees so that they continuously focus on their mental well-being and do not let it go for a toss. We have also been hosting health and wellness sessions monthly to consistently engage and inform our employees on the importance of holistic health and wellness.
With the virulent second wave of Covid-19 in India getting more rampant, how is Wiley supporting its employees?
At Wiley, employees’ safety and protection has always been an utmost priority. Realising the need of the hour, we have made several arrangements to provide quick support and assistance to our people in need. These include well-being allowance, emergency task force, and a three-tier protection kit, each designed to provide requisite relief and assistance to our employees.
The Company is helping its employees with a Covid-19 well-being allowance. This allowance is being given to support employees and their families to cover daily expenses such as local pharmacy needs, ordering food, or transportation to or from medical facilities.
Additionally, Wiley India has implemented telemedicine support for employees and their families with the care that they need. An extended COVID insurance is also being provided to the employees, consisting of COVID home-quarantine expenses as well as vaccination for employees, their spouses, and two dependents, at no cost.
To further help employees, we are providing confidential support and counseling 24/7 via our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Our Company’s HR is reaching out to the employees on a proactive basis to help them with the required support & assistance.
We are working round the clock to ensure maximum support to our colleagues for necessary medical equipment, a demand which is only increasing under the impact of the pandemic.
The Company has deployed an emergency task force for colleagues and their families who are to be contacted in case a need arises for oxygen concentrators and cylinders. A three-tier employee care and protection kits are being managed by the Company. At the first stage, all employees are being provided with general care and safety kits. At the second and third stage, oxygen concentrators of different capacities are being placed by the Company for its offices in major locations.
Some emergency measures have also been set in place for our colleagues as per their respective needs and requirements. We believe that together, we are stronger, and we will definitely sail through it.
Any community welfare and support initiative by Wiley to support India’s relief efforts?
Taking cognizance of the present situation, we are encouraging our able employees to contribute and volunteer for community welfare and support by making a personal donation directly to any registered charity that is supporting India’s relief efforts.
As community support, the global firm Wiley will match colleague donations up to a total of $20,000 and make a corporate donation split across the three non-profitable organizations- Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), Americares & American India Foundation who are sending aid and working on-ground to help India and its people navigate the Covid-19 crisis.
Today, we are seeing corporates and organisations rising to the occasion, what do you think about it?
These are unprecedented times which require all of us to work in tandem and support each other. It is heartening to see the collective power of humanity. I would like to take this moment to sincerely appreciate each person and organisation who is coming forward and lending a helping hand to the people in need.
(The author is an independent journalist and author. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online. She can be reached at: [email protected])