Five HR managers from different segments came together to contemplate on vital topic – HR Partnership for Enhanced Value Creation and Improved Experience in Healthcare Business at the second edition of the Healthcare Transformation Summit.
Initiating and moderating the discussion, Runa Maitra – Founder & Director, People Talent International, said, ” Globally the HR industry is ever-evolving, especially pharma domain. In this panel, the HR heads from the pharma and healthcare segments share their best practice, and there immense learning in the healthcare business during the pandemic.”
Giving the pharma industry point of view Farhat Umar, Sr VP – Group HR Head, Mankind, said, “This year was definitely very challenging for the pharmaceuticals company because of the pandemic crisis. At the same time, we learned a lot — Mankind comprising 30 plants in India with huge manpower working in the therapeutic area, with R&D Centres over 1000 scientists working expanding to USA market this pandemic has given the new direction on how to lead during a crisis. Though we faced challenges and we kept our plants operational every day throughout the lockdown. Till now not even a single day our plants was stopped which is a great achievement for the company continuously served our customers like doctors, hospitals, etc.”
“The pandemic has taught us many lessons and made us realize the scope of Indian pharmaceutical companies. It has also given a lot of mileage & leverages for the pharma companies to have more manufacturing plants in API to tackle this problem. On the people front, I would say it’s a great opportunity for the HR leaders to showcase how they can take care of their employees and also keep the business continuity going on. As far as the HR process is concerned it has taken a new direction.
Adding his views, Vardharajan Jagannathan, Sr. Director HR, Biocon, said, “Initially it was not clear on how to handle this pandemic. As an HR we had to boost the confidence and support our employees. With the limited resource right from people those who are coming to the company or the infrastructure available on the shop floor. We had to prioritize our products, which product is important to the market and how we ensure that our patients are getting the medicines without affecting the supply and prioritize the product, people, process and internally we had to give confidence to the employees those who are coming to the facility that they will be protected, they will be given the proper equipment, support to perform better. Giving confidence to the family members of the employees was crucial.”
He also added that the employees adapted to the requirements of the business process changes and they followed all the protocols.
Detailing about the challenges the pandemic brought in Jagannathan, said, “New changes cost a lot, right from the way we operated to a few new technology changes. Especially in the manufacturing setup, we had to identify which department can work from home, what kind of infrastructure, security system, access to the database needs to be provided. Questions on how do they create the content especially in the pharma industry we have a setup and standard operating procedure and something like data creators, reviewers and make a checkup process and we had to work on all other processes because when somebody is working from home how do they get into SAP access, how do they clear the entry, how do they factor into our standard operating procedures is vital. On one side we have to work on the procedures, policy aspect, process, products, and in a very dynamic scenario that too within a very short time. Though the government gave us the opportunity to work a lack of clarity existed. It was a great opportunity for us to see how best we can use and optimize resources. By resources, I mean how we can create the infrastructure for the people and how we can try to make sure that they have been connected to the business.”
Informing that pandemic has brought in a lot of opportunities, Dr. Bhupendra Kaushal, Head Manufacturing (HR), Zydus Wellness Limited said,” Pandemic is a great opportunity given to us to revisit our mindset, revisit our thought process. We are into plants and manufacturing, not even for a single day our operation was stopped. All the support staff whether HR, finance, purchase, and store all were working from home. The IT team gave good support to every indirect staff. However the plant is concerned we took permission from the DM and enabled our bus service there was no stoppage in between and created immediate infrastructure within the company that without proper sanitization no vehicles will be allowed, other protocols of the mask and social distancing strictly adhered. No salary was deducted even if the employee was not able to come. We gave oximeters to our employees, we distributed Vitamins C and tablets, we also distributed Kada to our employees. For those who tested positive we gave them 14 days’ leave and full salary.
Giving his view on the topic, Mohit Gupta, Head HR, Narendra Mohan Hospital, “Pandemic was really a big challenge for us. This is a very crucial time for the healthcare industry because when we stand to deliver the services of the COVID-19 being a communicable disease it was difficult to retain some of the healthcare staff. Many in the healthcare industry left the job for their safety as many were frontline workers and direct communicators with the disease. Many colleagues were hesitant about how to go about it, why should I go there, who will be responsible for my life, there were so many questions. Also, parents were continuously calling and asking to relieve their children from the job because their life is at the risk.”
Further adding to it Gupta said, ” In the month of April, only 15 nurses were with us and all the others left their jobs because we didn’t have proper transportation facilities, borders were sealed, doctors were not able to reach us. We had a shortage of staff, doctors, and technical staff. This was the stage where we had to stand with each other and played multiple roles and motivated them. Our staffs were not interested in payment but they were more concerned about the safety of their life because there was no protocol. There was a question of who will be responsible for their life. We personally went to pick up nurses because only certain amounts of passes were given. The other challenge was wearing a PPE Kit because it was not easy to wear it, there was no easy way to take oxygen, you can’t properly sit or walk in a PPE kit. It was a very crucial time for us. We were continuously approaching the manufacturers to deliver the kits but the prices were too high. With mounting challenges, we are still giving our support and best to the hospital employees. In seven months of this pandemic, healthcare is providing better services. In the current situation, the HR role which is support and motivation is vital, particularly for the healthcare industry.”