June

CSS Corp unveils Cognitive Customer Experience Platform

In a bid to up the ante on customer experience, US-headquartered CSS Corp has launched the Cognitive Customer Experience Platform, an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven platform. Cognitive Customer Experience Platform integrates with all customer channels like voice, email, chat, and website across devices.

“Cognitive Customer Experience Platform is designed to offer personalized and context-driven support, with a human-like interaction. It aims at resolving your customer’s needs at first interaction by using natural language processing (NLP), AI, machine learning and deep learning techniques,” said Vasudevan Sundarababu, vice-president, digital, CSS Corp.

As consumers use multiple channels to voice concerns or seek customer support, offering an omnichannel support experience has become imperative for corporates. A study by consulting giant McKinsey found that for companies that excel with digital customer care, customer satisfaction can go up by 33%, while generating savings of 25-30%, due to reduced call center volumes.

The AI platform can constantly learn from a customer’s interactions and build on its knowledge base.

 “The virtual assistant understands your customers’ intent and responds to their queries in real time. Cognitive Customer Experience Platform remembers facts, learns from previous conversations and can access online information by integrating with enterprise systems,” he said.

A SaaS-based solution, Cognitive Customer Experience Platform can be used as a standalone support interface or as a platform integrated with Amazon Echo, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Now.

With delivery centers across the globe, the company has deeply invested in digital and analytics. CSS Corp’s digital practice has 45 customers totally, which primarily handles analytics, mobile, AI, application modernization, machine learning, and virtual assistance.
Preview: Times of India

Covid: India Inc adds mental health of employees on their priority list

As the ongoing second wave of the pandemic exacerbates the pressure on teams and individuals, more Indian companies are making mental health an urgent priority for businesses. Live meditation, mental health sessions with specific focus on vulnerable groups, extended weekends, special holidays, free subscription to wellbeing apps and 24×7 counselling helplines —companies are running a series of initiatives to help stressed-out employees, with senior leaders playing increasingly active roles in the process.

At Genpact, the CEO and senior leaders communicate often through various channels across all levels of the organisation, EY’s leadership team does regular virtual connects. The Edelweiss Group has regular outreach programmes and townhalls by the leadership to express solidarity and support with employees.

“Our leaders hold a pivotal role in the recovery — they are the company-wide anchors to help ease concerns and rally teams,” said Piyush Mehta, Genpact’s chief HR officer.

“We have initiated small sessions, by business, with no agenda — so people can just talk about what is on their mind, and the support they need. We built an AI chatbot (Amber) to check in with our employees to capture immediate concerns and needs so we can support them better,” he added.

To ensure that employees do not feel isolated, EY has recently introduced EY Social — its inhouse platform of hobby clubs. The India leadership team has been conducting regular virtual connects with teams through forums like counselling family, regular team huddles, virtual townhalls, etc.

Companies such as ICICI Lombard, Snapdeal, MakemyTrip, Diageo and Publicis Sapient are also focused on mental health and wellbeing.

“We have been organising emotional counselling sessions, yoga and meditation sessions and collaborated with therapists and experts from the field of stress and anxiety management for consultations,” said Yuvaraj Srivastava, Group CHRO, MakeMyTrip.

Diageo has an employee assistance programme to provide counselling services. They are also conducting mental wellness sessions: the ones for employees cover effective stress management, avoiding digital burn-out among other issues, while those for line managers focus mostly on how to manage teams in terms of mental wellness.

Snapdeal is providing its employees and family members access to licensed counsellors, organising meditation and breathwork classes; Publicis Sapienthas mental health first aiders and sessions with specific focus on women, people facing domestic violence, etc.

Adobe India has company-wide day o􀂃s every third Friday as well as free access to meditation and wellbeing applications like Headspace and LifeDojo.ICICI Lombard has introduced flexible working — no meetings prior to 9amand after 7pm and no weekend/holiday meetings. L’Oreal will be hosting sessions for people managers leading teams to train them to better manage productivity with empathy.

“HR teams are in constant touch with the employees to build psychological morale and extend support to access quality and affordable healthcare. I speak with every Covid-impacted employee to offer support and guidance, which helped me understand the ground-level challenges they face,” said Satyanarayanan Visvanathan, Head of HR (global) and corporate quality, CSSCorp.

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Winning Stroke: Interview with Sunil Mittal, CMO of CSS CORP

“I get hyper-focused and forget to take a break. Whether it’s a client that I know we can serve really well or teaching my daughter to ride her bike”

1. If not in the current profession, you would be?

Growing up, my family had a business and I had always planned to join them. When I graduated University, I took a job in the IT services industry to gain experience – and I loved it. And I never looked back. But if I wasn’t doing this, I think that is where I would be.

2. One tune you always hum.

There are actually two. One is “Jab Koi Baat Bigad Jaye” and the other is “Dream Big” by Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand.

3. One book to read when you want to motivate yourselves.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. The author writes about the situation where the conventional wisdom fails you. It’s the ability to “spot the next move” during those times that makes a great leader.

4. One dialogue of a movie that motivates you or you like the most.

I like the movie, The Pursuit of Hapiness because it shows how hard work and vision are unstoppable. There is a passage where Chris Gardner tells his son, “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you, you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period. All right?” That has always resonated with me.

5. The place you never been to and always want to go?

French Polynesia. In the past, at one of my client locations, my view out of the window included a billboard advertising Bora Bora, with the sun setting behind Mt. Otemanu. We’ve been waiting for my daughters to be old enough to scuba with us. I view it as an opportunity to work on my patience!

 

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International Women in Engineering Day: What’s there for women in the male-dominated field?

“Retaining women at mid-management levels is challenging. It is observed that in organisations where many senior leadership positions are held by women, they are more likely to get equal pay, feel higher job satisfaction and stay longer with the company,” said Prashanti Bodugum, Vice President – Enterprise Business Services and Chennai Centre Head, Walmart Global Tech India.

ETHRWorld interacted with industry leaders on the occasion of ‘International Women in Engineering Day.’ The leaders talked about the current situation of women in engineering, challenges the women face and how to address them.

Prashanti Bodugum, Vice President – Enterprise Business Services and Chennai Centre Head, Walmart Global Tech India, who is an engineer herself, said, “Retaining women at mid-management levels is challenging. It is observed that in organisations where many senior leadership positions are held by women, they are more likely to get equal pay, feel higher job satisfaction and stay longer with the company.”

What the pandemic has changed for women in the sector

Jharna Thammaiah K, Director and India Site People and Places Leader, Intuit, said, “The pandemic has certainly created a greater demand for tech roles and has also created new opportunities in an otherwise challenging job market. I would believe this has paved the way for more women to join the tech industry.”

According to Jharna Thammaiah K, currently, there is a demand for women to lead and mentor, as the need for more empathetic decision making sees a rise.

Noting the challenges of work from home mode, Balvinder Khurana, Technology Principal and Global Data Community Lead, ThoughtWorks, mentioned that while everything is moving on to remote mode, it becomes easier for women to participate equally in work-related activities.

On the other hand, Khurana added that in the current scenario, the home front is witnessing an increased burden of workload on women as well as other family members due to the shutting down of educational institutions, which are also operating remotely, and the absence of the house help.

Explaining the positive aspects of the situation, Sashikala Viswanathan, Director – Corporate Quality, CSS Corp, said, “The technology industry is evolving rapidly and is one of the spaces where women can explore many opportunities to expand their horizons and succeed in their careers.”

Viswanathan stated that the initiatives and support offered by technology companies through mentorship programmes, peer training, reskilling, and upskilling courses or sessions provide women in tech a platform to hone and nurture their abilities further and grow within their roles.

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CSS Corp sees a bright spot with Manish Tandon

“CSS Corp sees a bright spot with Manish Tandon 

CSS Corp, majority owned by PE firm Partners Group, said it is seeing a turnaround with a larger deal pipeline for the next few years. The IT services company said it has reported nearly 11% growth in revenue end of financial year 2017-18 to $158 million.

This has brought the company back on growth track ever since former InfosysNSE 3.18 % executive vicepresident Manish Tandon took over as the chief executive officer in August 2016. Tandon left Infosys as one of the leaders in healthcare, life sciences, insurance and HiTech business segments.

“Last year we had reported better than industry growth at (nearly) 11% and we had inherited declining revenue when I came in six quarters ago.

There has been a turnaround in our services business. We have added 20 new logos (customers) in the history of CSS including some marquee names in technology (sector),” said Tandon in an interview. He said CSS Corp has a deal pipeline worth $400 million in total contract value spread over next few years and seeing large deals vary between $8-10 m “We get two or three such (large) deals in a year and one in a quarter is good. Normally our average deal size is $1 to 2 million,” added Tandon.

CSS Corp, which gets 90% business from the US market, is focusing on outcome-based projects. The company said it has significantly brought in automation and artificial intelligence in services delivery.

Tandon said that the focus on outcome-based projects have created a level-playing field for the industry. “We compete on outcome and our win rate has been 50-55%.” In fact, he pointed out, a CSS Corp often sees companies like Tech MahindraNSE 1.89 % to a boutique technology service player as competition in certain deals .

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International Women in Engineering Day: We’ve come a long way, but have a long way to go

On this International Women in Engineering Day, industry leaders reflect on what has changed for women, and what needs to be changed
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, and making sure that impact lasts in your absence,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook. While most people agree that this is what leadership means, and it has nothing to do with gender, we are yet to see more women in roles that command authority. Although unlike the distant past, wherein women were hardly ever entrusted with figurehead roles, things have been changed by women entrepreneurs and leaders who have been vocal on the need for gender diversity, especially in leadership. That said, a lot more needs to be changed. This International Women in Engineering Day, Dataquest spoke to notable women in leadership roles who say that this change needs to be initiated through a lot more women being encouraged to take up STEM education.

What has changed for women in the field of technology
Ankita Sinha, software engineer, Intuit Futures team, Intuit India says that during her father’s time, the field of technology was largely considered to be a man’s career path and not many women were seen pursuing engineering courses. However, this diversity gap has drastically reduced with more women taking on computer science and other tech careers.

“What is different now is that there is a level of awareness and understanding about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the importance of accurately representing the diversity of our customers that we’re solving for. Women are changing the narrative across every industry and leading from the forefront with their dynamic and disruptive outlook and practices. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, as we embark on the journey towards realizing a future where women thrive in equity,” she says.

Sinha opines that there are a number of programs and initiatives that are being undertaken in the industry to address the myriad of challenges that still exist. Beginning with something fundamental – how girls are taught science and how we can enable them to develop a love for STEM. “When it comes to women in leadership positions, I feel now more than ever, there is a demand for women to lead and mentor, as the need for more empathetic decision making sees a rise. The pandemic has forced us to move to a fully digital world or towards a more hybrid work from home or office setup. This has made the work environment flexible, opening up the opportunity to work remotely. In times like these, women who are in leadership positions can be inspiring role models and torchbearers, inspiring the younger generation to DREAM BIG and Work HARD,” she adds.

What organisations can do to reduce the gap and encourage women techies in leadership roles
When it comes to women in leadership roles, the onus also lies on organisations to reduce the gap and encourage women techies in leadership roles. While it is true that a woman has added responsibilities, it can be overcome if a little flexibility is offered by organisation. The ongoing pandemic has provided an opportunity to women to prove that says Sashikala Viswanathan, director – corporate quality, CSS Corp. “The pandemic has changed our overall approach towards work and life at large. Women professionals are managing their work remotely and at the same time attending to their personal life needs. Sometimes it can be exhausting and affect their wellness. But if we look at the positive side, this has opened many opportunities for women to work from home, grow, and build careers. Organisations offering a range of flexible arrangements to help women achieve work/life balance, providing innovative communication and collaboration tools to help increase productivity, efficiency, and flexibility – adds to the company’s overall success,” she says.

Viswanathan further comments that we need diversity in our working culture. “Most technology companies that integrate workplace diversity at the core of their organisational value bring positive change. Conscious effort and commitment to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace culture results in better business outcomes as organisations get different perspectives bringing innovation and creativity to the forefront,” she adds.

She further goes on to says that the technology industry is evolving rapidly and is one of the spaces where a woman can explore many opportunities to expand their horizons and succeed in their careers. “The initiatives and support offered by technology companies through mentorship programs, peer training, reskilling, and upskilling courses/sessions provide women in tech a platform to hone and nurture their abilities further and develop/grow within their roles. Today, women professionals are transforming the tech field with their innovative practices and disruptive thinking. Attracting and developing more women in leadership roles requires company-wide change, driven from the top. Organisations need to invest in equipping women with the skill sets and knowledge to take charge of their careers,” comments Viswanathan

Biggest challenges in the role of women leaders
As mentioned before, there are several challenges that women leaders do face due to added responsibilities. Nonetheless, Prashanti Bodugum, vice president, Enterprise Business Services and Chennai Center Head, Walmart Global Tech India, feels that these are challenges that can be overcome. “In today’s dynamic corporate environment, closing the gender gap is an essential factor for competitiveness and growth of any organisation. However, there are some challenges to holistic assimilation of women leaders in many industries. The first aspect is doing an assessment of priorities and an acceptance of a lifestyle change before we accept a leadership position. The second lies in forming an informal network, which requires making choices that will help advance our career for instance choosing between attending a networking event or going back home to family. This is particularly challenging at mid-management levels when one is being pulled in all directions – on one hand managing a team at office and on the other, managing children as they are growing up. Thirdly, the institutional barrier that can still at times be extremely limiting which says that there are certain roles fit for men and certain roles fit for women.”

“That said, there are ways in which these barriers can be overcome. Organisations need to accept that women leaders face these challenges and are constantly forced to make choices between their work and their family. In addition to this, strong mentorships, support for education and most importantly women leaders themselves accepting that they are role models for thousands of women looking up to them are paving stones towards gender parity,” she says.

How organisations are promoting women in STEM
Organisations, of late, have been realising the importance of being gender diverse. Therefore, various measures are being undertaken to encourage participation from women. Balvinder Khurana – technology principal andglobal data community lead, ThoughtWorks India, said: “Organisations have to promote budding talent with consistent support from leadership, the creation of unbiased, open and safe teams. The organization should ensure an inclusive environment and support their employees with proactive conversations about growth and opportunities. Employees should be encouraged to explore new roles and challenge themselves. They should have access to training programs – internally and externally developed skill building resources, meaningful role models and networking opportunities.”

“I would love to see more women come out of their shell and have more confidence in themselves. One study says that women only ask for a promotion if they believe they are already performing at 100% of the next role, while men are comfortable seeking a promotion when they are performing at 60% of the next role’s requirements. More women should recognize that rather than focusing on a failure, they should have the capability to learn from mistakes and proactively ask for more opportunities to do interesting work. I also highly value the role of a mentor or coach in a woman’s career journey. These folks can be effective sounding boards and help women cultivate the mindset and confidence required when making transitions in their career. Finally, I would also recommend that young women technologists start succession-planning, even before they move to leadership roles as it helps alleviate the cyclical issue of women leaving the workforce and younger women not seeing themselves being represented in organizations.”

Flexibility is Key
In conclusion, Jaxa Gohil – senior director, HR and Communications, Falabella, India, says that flexible hours with the aid of technology can help women progress despite all the hurdles they face in life. “Working from home has become so normal now! It has its pros and cons, but technology has evolved the way we think. Can we do different hours? Shorter hours? Shorter weeks? 26 years ago, when my nephew was born, my sister started doing a 4-day week in the UK, working from home for 3 days and 1 day in the office. How do we make this kind of flexibility happen and not be frowned upon?” she asks.

Gohil goes on to comment that women have a lot to offer to organisations, and adds “Be a woman! We bring so much to the table. We are different, stay different! I love that I am emotional and actually I tell people. I have cried in front of each of my managers once, some handle well and some don’t! As leaders we all need to be equipped to handle all kinds of emotions.”

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ETCIO Wall – CIO of the week

1, I like being a CIO because….

In todays world where technology has become an essential part of how businesses function, the CIOs role has become more multidimensional in terms of business, technology and innovation. I like this role as it allows me to work with people from multiple business functions across the organisation to innovate on new technologies and identify newer ways to create impactful business outcomes. Simply put, I view a CIO as the transformation agent who walks a tight rope between business and technology and is constantly seeking winning strategies without any fears.

2) An ‘Aha ‘ leadership moment in your professional career.

Since the CISO function also reports to me, I proposed a plan to reduce the decision-making layers in our cyber response team where end users can escalate any potential attack directly to the IT/Infosec owners. For this, we equipped our staff with cyberattack (e.g. phishing) training where they could experience simulated cyber-attacks with real-life scenarios. We also educated them on response practices. This eventually came in handy when a real phishing attack was noticed by our end user and the training that was provided kicked in. The end user reached out to our Cyber Threat response team and we were able to kill the attack in its early stages.

The decision to invest in training and improving our teams response time had paid off when a real attack took place. This reinforced my belief that some complex issues can be handled with a solution as simple as reducing response time and training. The moment I made that decision was an Aha moment for me

3) As a CIO what was the toughest decision you made?

The cultural transformation within the organisation led to some tough decisions from my end. We were engaged in revamping the firms strategic agenda which required a complete digital transformation and new age technological adoption from employees, whom I had hoped to take along during the journey as active participants. Unfortunately, not everyone in the IT function could ride the transformation wave, leading to some churn.

4) What’s the ‘next big thing’ in your industry vertical?

With technology developing every day, the next big thing is constantly transforming. For now, from a modern economic infrastructure standpoint, 5G, Cloud and Edge seem to be in focus. These technologies have opened endless possibilities to help organisations realise ideas which were not possible earlier. Similarly, artificial intelligence and machine learning have fuelled new possibilities in ambient computing. It is also worth noting that stackable technologies have the potential to supercharge the entire digitization efforts. Apart from this, I also hope that Quantum computing, though in early stages, will take us beyond supercomputers in the future.

5) One thing that IT departments should do better.

While we have developed multiple technologies and solutions, IT service should be pragmatic in using them wisely basis clear understanding of problems that are being addressed. Adoption of too many platforms and tools that work in silos will eventually be counterproductive. Rather, IT departments must innovate and invest in developing platforms that are built with independent technologies but work as a single unit. It should be collaborative and serve with a common purpose to yield maximum benefits.

Analytics Insight celebrates the International Women in Engineering Day 2021

Celebrate the International Women in Engineering Day on June 23, 2021, with Analytics Insight.

The field of Engineering is celebrating International Women in Engineering Day annually, for the last eight years on June 23, 2021. This day is dedicated to all inspiring women who choose to pursue their careers in Engineering by fighting against the patriarchal society. These milestones are showing women’s empowerment in this 21st century where women can demonstrate their intelligence and powers in an open forum. Gender equality and equal pay in all workspaces are required to encourage more women to break societal norms and drive success in the nearby future. There are immense contributions to the world from these empowering women leaders in multiple tech companies. They are revolutionizing the workspace by utilizing their incredible traits efficiently and effectively. They are focused to bring diversity, integrity, equal pay, equal opportunities, and a well-communicated team to organizations.

Analytics Insight is celebrating International Women in Engineering Day, by speaking to some amazing women who have hands-on experience in the transformation of the diverse workplace in these recent years— Nidhi Gopal, Director of Product Engineering, Intuit India; Sashikala Viswanathan, Director, Corporate Quality, CSS Corp and Jaxa Gohil, Senior Director, HR and Communications, Falabella, India.

Women Leaders Confronting Challenges-

Nidhi Gopal: Women in the workforce face some unique challenges such as a lower level of confidence, lesser role models and mentors for a career growth discussion and many more. There is a huge demand for women to lead and mentor because women are more empathetic and can be inspiring role models to other women colleagues who come forward for necessary help in navigating life situations, without having to leave the workforce.

Sashikala Viswanathan: Women have already managed to balance their professional-personal life at home in the pandemic. It is overwhelming but the positive side shows that there are a plethora of opportunities for women to work from home to drive success in their careers. There a range of flexible arrangements in multiple organizations to help women achieve the balance through innovative communication and collaboration tools. Women leaders can help in enhancing productivity, efficiency, and flexibility to add to the company’s overall success. Women require diversity in the working culture through conscious effort and commitment at the core of organizational value.

Jaxa Gohil: The world has seen many successful women in technology and leadership roles in these recent years. Yet, it is a long pathway to cover for women to become established and successful to completely transform the mindset of society. It starts with providing education to girls and recruiting women in the workforce for better productivity.

Initiatives for Women in Tech-

Nidhi Gopal: Women are changing the narrative across each industry and leading from the forefront with dynamic and disruptive outlooks and practices. Women need to embark on the journey towards a future, where women thrive in equity. There is a level of awareness and understanding about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through several programs and initiatives in organizations. The fundamental step begins with teaching girls about science to develop a love for STEM as well as celebrate the achievements of multiple women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The workplace is now focused on conscious investment in building, growing, and retaining women leaders. Tech Women @ Intuit focuses on the growth of the women technologists’ community including sponsorship by leaders, development workshops such as negotiation, executive presence, speaking skills, mentoring, and site events.

Sashikala Viswanathan: Women can explore multiple opportunities, be successful in their careers through initiatives and support offered by tech companies such as mentorship programs, peer training, reskilling, upskilling courses, or sessions. CSS Corp provides comfortable, flexible, transparent, equal pay, and approachable working environment for women to make the optimum use of opportunities to drive success in their lives.

Jaxa Gohil: The gender ratio has not changed much for the last thirty years when a computer science degree had only 25 women out of 125 students. There are discussions about how to attract women towards technology through a campus program, scholarships, mentors, and internship programs. These initiatives provide an opportunity to work with Falabella and gain knowledge of organizational impacts through technical know-how.

Providing Exposure to Encourage Women Techies-

Nidhi Gopal: The journey of a woman techie commences from the love for technology at a young age through coding events, corporate events, focus groups where the girls can engage early with STEM graduates. These opportunities will provide sufficient exposure to cutting-edge technologies through sponsoring them in conferences like Grace Hopper Conference, AWS Re-Invent, and many more. This will enable women to build networks and experience the feeling of being a woman in Engineering. Intuit practices Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) while maintaining a dashboard to keep track. The company is focused on providing pay equity also fair and equal workspace to all employees across the globe. Intuit also trains leaders, managers, and employees to create and nurture an inclusive environment with the Leading Inclusively Learning Programme.

Sashikala Viswanathan: Organisations are required to invest in equipping women with the skill sets and knowledge to provide sufficient exposure. CSS Corp challenges the status quo by retention, succession, addressing the skill gaps as well as committing to inclusion. The company celebrated its silver jubilee and celebrated Women’s Day to introduce Women 25 (W25) ON March 8. It is an initiative to bring aspiring women leaders from different parts of the world for a mentorship program. The mentorship program hones their skills and builds the leadership qualities required to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Jaxa Gohil: Organisations have to walk the talk! When there is a 10-membered team in an organization with only one woman, the woman gets multiple looks while talking or getting emotional. The organizations are required to have a mandate50:50 gender ratio to provide more exposure to women and eliminate the looks from their counterparts.

Survival Tips for Aspiring Women Leaders
Nidhi Gopal: Women leaders always need to speak up and ask without assuming that everyone will understand the situation. The outcome will be fulfilling if one must speak up and ask for grabbing multiple opportunities. The leaders must own their growth by understanding the strengths and opportunities. There will be blind spots at the time of self-reflect. It is better to seek mentors who can be the critique. It is important to continue to learn and compete with oneself to be the better version every single year. One must continue the perseverance to focus on the fruitful outcome. The growth is directly proportional to the exposure in the workspace environment. Training and coaching at Intuit provide sufficient exposure to learn from the leaders through their success stories, insights into current business trends, and applying the trends to the current role. Massive exposure to a wider perspective of the organization enables aspiring women leaders to understand the big picture in the nearby future.

Jaxa Gohil: Be a woman instead of a man! Different women bring so much to the table in different ways. Aspiring women leaders must be equipped to manage all kinds of emotions at the workplace. Some managers handle emotional scenarios in different ways. When any leadership position is opened, it is necessary to make it a gender conversation without shying away. Women are always doing the right thing for the long-term success of the team. Falabella looks forward, to engaging with tech leaders for an unofficial meet and greet.

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CSS Corp wins “Digital Company of the Year 2019” at BTVI Business Leader of Year Awards

CSS Corp, a new age IT services and technology support company, announced it has won the ‘Digital Company of the Year 2019’ at the recently concluded BTVI Business Leader of the Year Awards.

The company was recognized for its innovation in digital customer experience and IT operations leveraging cognitive technologies that enable brands to deliver agility, speed, and control across customer interactions and diverse IT ecosystems.

CSS Corp’s digital solutions are built to simplify customer interactions and business operations through the implementation of AI capabilities and advanced statistical models. In a customer support ecosystem, the cognitive CX platform helps reorient organizations to adopt agile and contextual strategies that proactively assess conditions, analyze problems, and recommend solutions to drive omnichannel customer engagement.

In an IT operations ecosystem, CSS Corp’s intelligent automation solutions help in dynamically and proactively monitor and manage IT infrastructure, maximizing up time. CSS Corp also helps organizations modernize their legacy applications leveraging cloud technologies. It provides a unique services value proposition that blends digital technologies with services to drive outcomes for its customers.

“Our deep-rooted customer-centric approach has helped us build a progressive and agile solution portfolio that elevates the customer experience. Our cognitive capabilities have been instrumental in transforming CX and IT operations for organizations across industries. We are delighted to be recognized for our innovation and are committed to maintaining our investments towards building a nimble delivery ecosystem that leverages best-in-class people, digitally mature processes and next-generation technologies that mobilize organizations to deliver stellar customer experiences”, said Manish Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, CSS Corp.

Here’s how companies are trying to keep employee morale up amid COVID-19 pandemic

Just as India was limping back to normalcy after the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, we were hit by a second, more severe wave in 2021 that not only saw people scrambling for beds and oxygen, but also recorded more deaths.

India’s workforce was forced to remain indoors yet again, and prolonged work from home that has blurred the lines between personal and professional lives has led to increased burnout and exhaustion.
However, companies across industries have started recognising the same, looking at unique ways that can help employees cope with stress, distress and burnout.

Taking time off

Dating app Bumble, for instance, recently announced that all employees – in India and across the globe – will have a paid, fully offline one-week vacation in June. “Like everyone, our global team has had a very challenging time during this pandemic. We wanted to give our teams around the world an opportunity to shut off and focus on themselves for a week,” a Bumble spokesperson said.
Similarly, Cosmetics and personal care company L’Oréal India is offering employees a ‘Healing Day’ off, an extended weekend for self-care, as well as a ‘Healing Week’, which the company said is designed to lift employee spirits and to provide constructive support on coping in difficult times through various learning programmes.

Several companies have also announced an unlimited leave policy. Khatabook has an unlimited leave policy, which CEO & co-founder Ravish Naresh said gives employees the mindspace to focus completely on the recovery of health of their loved ones and themselves.
Other companies such as OYO, Myntra (Unlimited Wellness Leaves) and Grant Thorton too have introduced unlimited leave policies.

Engaging employees

To ensure employees are not blurring lines between their professional and personal lives, mattress maker Duroflex has put in place a rule no work messages are to be sent before 9 am and after 9 pm. This is in addition to organising fun contests, talent shows, among others.
“Our meetings start with ‘What’s the good news?’ just to boost morale and team spirit. Workshops for yoga, etc. are organized during working hours so that employees take a break from work and stretch a little,” Ritu Moitra, Chief Human Resources Officer, Duroflex said.
Godrej & Boyce launched a company-wide COVID Support Group under the initiative called #TogetherWeCan where the company has been organising mental and physical wellbeing workshops for employees. Under the initiative, it also conducts activities such as Yoga Day session, Family Day, cooking workshops, window photography contests and more.

Real estate developer Embassy Group has launched the ‘Embassy cares wellness portal’, where the company engages with employees on wellness with puzzles, trivia, online fitness sessions, among others. This is in addition to the COVID-19 related support, online doctor and nutrition consultation and pharmacy at discounted prices that the portal offers.

“We also introduced an e-learning portal for all employees, initiating a ‘Learn, Grow and Connect’ series that provided master skills with in-depth learning. The monthly challenge on e-learning has enabled employees with key skills on cultivating joy, mindful moments, empowering women along with others. There is constant communication with individual teams at the group level, by connecting and highlighting individual efforts with all team members as regularly as possible,” Maria Rajesh, CHRO, Embassy Group said.

The Souled Store has been organizing several fun and engagement sessions like a stand-up act by a comedian, a therapeutic art session, a magic show event as well. This is in addition to its employee assistance programmes designed to drive home the importance of attending to mental health and arranged for professional counselling sessions through a confidential helpline number.

Seniority, a company that runs a portal for the elderly, too has been organising interactive events like Antakshari, Tambola, Seniority Premier League, Seniority Talent Hunt, etc. to keep employees motivated.

“Besides, we have collaborated with Juno Clinic, Cleartax, Marsh etc. to conduct various online webinars and industry interaction programmes covering various aspects of physical, mental and financial wellness for our employees,” Tapan Mishra, Founder – Seniority and Evergreen Club said.

Ensuring Mental wellbeing
Most companies have also started offering online counselling sessions for employees to be able to talk about and cope with the pandemic situation.

Retail chain METRO Cash and Carry India organises yoga sessions and pep talk sessions from the top management from time to time in addition to regular webinars on physical & mental health wellbeing.
At Budget airline AIR ASIA, the Chief Medical Officer has regular interactions with employees to keep them updated with essential care tips. The company also said that it has manager-lead processes to ensure employees have the right amount of breaks, activities, learning and wellness in place.

“Our much-awaited Coffee with CEO sessions involve heart-to-heart conversations, alongside our daily virtual meets, peer-to-peer counselling, focused group discussions with HR teams and live online sessions which strive to create open and safe spaces for communication and engagement,” Anjali Chatterjee, Head – People and Culture, AirAsia India said.
IT services company CSS Corp has in place a ‘CHEER framework’, developed for COVID times to help drive empathetic employee engagement and positivity “‘C’ stands for Communicating with employees; ‘H’ for Highlighting their accomplishments; ‘E’ for Energising them; ‘E’ for Engaging with them; and ‘R’ for Recognising and Rewarding them,” the company said.
In addition to this, the company also has initiatives in place to offer 247 counselling line supporting employees’ emotional and mental health.

Bharat Bhatia, Vice President HR at fine jewellery brand Melorra, said that the company’s HR team ensures that there is an environment where people in Melorra can approach their managers or the HR team in case they are overly stressed without any fear of being judged. Employees are also encouraged to take leaves as and when needed to ensure that they break the routine when needed.
“As the HR team, we try to do activities frequently to enable people to have fun at work and to break the daily routine. We have also launched a 24X7 professional counselling service for all our employees to seek professional help when needed,” Bhatia added.
Healthtech startup HealthCube also has regular discussions on mental and physical wellness between the employees and the HR team.

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