Abhijit is a software professional and founder of Aapna Infotech, a company engaged in IT projects in India and the US. He is experienced and adept at managing people and projects, across different platforms and countries. Abhijit is also committed to help organizations and concept start up’s to leverage technology. He is passionate about building powerful relationships and his current focus is to work with the social sector to make a positive impact on the society. The early stages of his work career with a mid-sized software company in India & subsequently a large financial institution in the US has helped him to develop his forte – bringing out the best in people. And that is what he focuses on at Aapna Infotech.
Here are his key experiences in the industry in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic and WFH situation.
What is the impact on employee performance in the pandemic situation?
There is very limited impact on the Employee Performance because we are basically an IT company so the nature of the work we do has always been remote in nature. Although our team was sitting in Delhi we were doing the work for our clients in the US. So, the managers and the clients have always been remote and we have been working remotely except that we have all been sitting on one floor, whereas now we are all sitting at our home. If anything I would say that the performance has gone up because people have a little more time on their hands because there is no travel or stress of travel so there is more getting done.
Have you taken any proactive measures to maintain employee performance?
Not performance but to maintain and monitor the attendance of team members, we introduced monitoring software on our laptops, which monitors working time, and records activities on the laptop. This way, not only do we ensure that people are completing their office work time, but can also monitor any misuse of the office infrastructure. This ensures basic discipline, and we found the teams to appreciate the same.
Will there be any changes to existing appraisal methods? Process & Frequency?
No. But in general we are a growing organization and this year we have taken up a journey of modifying and upgrading our appraisal process. We used to have an annual appraisal process but now we are moving to a quarterly appraisal process. Now everybody is remote and they have more time in their hand so we should be able to achieve that.
Do you think formalizing feedback and/or regular performance check-ins will make a difference?
I think HR has been hyper active ever since we went into lock down. HR has a very key role to play in performance anyway. But now like I said the advantage is you save the time of travel and the stress of travel .And the disadvantage is that you are always sitting at home. So there is scope for lack of engagement. In the office, you meet people in the corridor, in the break room, while getting a cup of coffee or having your lunch. These kinds of breaks are missing in the WFH scenario. To offset this, our HR is actively working towards finding replacement activities like short games, coffee breaks, team breaks, weekend activities, and various such stress busters. Further, we have also started sending motivational pieces to homes of team members. We have introduced Fundoo Friday, where we play, anything from a quiz, to Tambola, Treasure hunt and various types of games to keep the team engaged and meeting each other. We have also undertaken the journey to build a gaming platform to take this initiative to an entirely new level.
With employees and managers all away from each other, what steps are being taken to ensure clarity on work objectives/goals and their priorities?
We already have a monthly and a quarterly feedback system. Every manager already gives weekly feedback and every month we receive feedback from our clients for every team member. So it’s not anything new and it’s a key parameter in our KRA. So It’s already been there, it’s not because of Covid.
In managing performance, how has HR roles changed in the current situation?
Like I have already said we have been doing this for a long period of time. Not as a result of Covid but we have a system in place called Teamworks. It’s a software, which provides both time tracking and project management. Every time we start a project we break it down into multiple tasks. All those tasks are listed in the teamwork software and every task is assigned to a team member. So, every person has a list of tasks with an estimate of effort. Then on a daily basis team members put an update of what work they did during the day along with the time taken for doing it. Every team meets daily to review the projects tasks, and whereas we were meeting face to face earlier, now those meetings are on WebEx. There is a very limited change in the way we are doing our work.
Whereas, the COVID situation will take quite some time to completely go away, at AAPNA we have decided to make some of these adoptions permanent, and we are introducing changes which will be in place even POST-COVID. So, in a way, COVID has helped us change for the better, and finding a new way of doing things. I strongly believe we are a better company now.