Editor’s note: At the time of interview Lipi was employed by Lynk Global as its VPHR but has since moved on to a senior HR role at AIA Hong Kong.
When interviewed in November 2020, Lipi Srivastava was vice president for human resources at Lynk – a company that intelligently connects knowledge partners with businesses.
Throughout the myriad hurdles tossed up by 2020, keeping up employee morale was very much front of mind for the HR team. To this end, the company’s people managers amped things up with a sure-fire hit among staff: the Lynk’s Got Talent club.
“We were able to create an in-house Lynk anthem video where management and employees sang and their recordings were compiled to create the video,” says Srivastava.
It proved to be a novel way to engender employee engagement and enable colleagues to connect – even as many were working from home. A number of more serious initiatives were also deployed.
“In those locations where people transitioned to working from home for an extended time due to lockdown, company provided them with work-from- home reimbursements – to buy office equipment and hardware required to carry on their work duties easily,” she added.
“We extended the medical insurance coverage to the interns to take care of their health-related needs.”
Srivastava adds that the HR team has also encouraged employees to participate in Pink Steps virtual challenge, to increase breast cancer awareness and raised funds for the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation. In tough times that can put a strain on an individual’s wellbeing, being proactive for the benefit of others is therapy in itself.
As the year unfolded and it became increasingly difficult to be physically present for communication, then Lynk HR team found ways to keep in touch.
“Initially when we went completely to remote working in February and March, we ensured we were constantly communicating with employees through Slack, emails and regular catch-ups on Hangout and Zoom,” explains Srivastava.
“There were communications from HR that shared links on various ‘do-at-home’ activities like cooking and baking, home gym, music streaming, and art and craft – to keep people pepped up during their lunch and free time.
“We even shared the must-watch weekend movie list on Netflix,” she adds.
To keep attuned to the mental health of the workforce, the HR team at Lynk conducted a one-to-one check-in with every employee on a monthly basis enquiring about their physical health and well being.
Live and learn
In terms of employee development and onboarding, Lynk has continued to upskill employees and welcome new hires despite the pandemic.
“A month-long, structured induction and functional training – includes self reading, online sessions and mock practice – is conducted for all new hires. Every new hire is assigned a mentor/buddy to ensure on-the-job training.
“In our sector, employee development is a continuous process. To keep employees abreast of the latest information, we have specific Slack channels where management post the latest trends, studies and market-related information on different sectors,” she says.
The company also launched the ‘Lynk Speaker Sessions’ early this year. These webinars are to open to the public and employees – aimed at giving them a more rounded view of the world. Industry experts conduct sessions on the latest topics ranging from politics, the economy, the US presidential election, emerging investment opportunities in Japan and even deglobalisation.
In terms of employee management during times of crisis, Srivastava espouses this course of action – what can loosely be dubbed the five ‘C’s.
Connect with employees at a deeper, more personal 1-0-1 level
Collaborate with the different functions to seamlessly transition to new ways of working
Communicate with all frequently on policies, ways of working and expectations
Counsel & comfort employees and ensure their mental and physical well being. Listen.
“Essentially it’s all about being there for them,” she says.