The Shape of Work

#33: On adapting during a pandemic and focusing on employee engagement and well-being, with Kaustubh Sonalkar

July 13, 2021 Springworks Season 1 Episode 33
The Shape of Work
#33: On adapting during a pandemic and focusing on employee engagement and well-being, with Kaustubh Sonalkar
Show Notes

In this episode of The Shape of Work podcast, our guest, Kaustubh Sonalkar throws light on the significance of employee engagement and employee well-being in a remote workspace.

Having abundant knowledge about Organization Development, Leadership, Change Management, and other areas, Kaustubh talks about doors open to growth and investments during the pandemic.

Kaustubh is the Director of HCM, Communications, CSR, and General Affairs at Welspun Group. He has also authored Fetch Your Own Coffee, a national best-seller.


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. He credits his own learning to Bollywood, transgender people, advertisements, and cricket.
He calls his book an ‘accident.’ 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, which is being managed 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. He further 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. 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. The MSME sector has received a push and more people are encouraged 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.

Follow Kaustubh Sonalkar on LinkedIn

Produced by: Priya Bhatt
Podcast host: Junius Dsilva