Working Romania | Crina Ilie (Genpact): The scale of the transformations due to COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented

Aurel Constantin 08/05/2020 | 13:20

The world is going through amazing changes, but we are already calm and we can have a relaxed discussion about it. The way we manage to adapt to new situations is incredible, as Crina Ilie, People Function Leader at Genpact Europe said at Business Review’s Working Romania event.

”It is incredible how much has changed in the last 6-7 weeks, but how relaxed we are talking about this present, which is being built under our eyes. For me, not much has changed, I work a lot from home and with colleagues from other countries, but for some of my colleagues it was a challenge. So, the main concern was to make sure our colleagues felt safe and able to relate to familiar landmarks,” said Ilie.

The changes we experience are similar to a journey. We feel as if we are embarking on a ship and going for a journey of discovery to find new things at the end of the road.

Genpact has over 100,000 employees globally and a very large center in China. ”We were somehow better prepared for what would come due to the experience of our Chinese colleagues. However, we did not expect things to be so large,” explains Ilie, saying that the company focused on delivering 3 messages to all the colleagues.

”The first is that the scale and speed of the transformations are of unprecedented magnitude and come with challenges that we have never encountered before. What this means: we often do not realize that we are not prepared to absorb so many changes in such a short time. Different colleagues or teams adapt with different speed or face a different level of challenges. That’s why empathy has become the most used word lately. We don’t even realize that although we are far from each other, we are closer than ever. We enter in our colleagues homes, their families, the boundary between professional and personal becomes very blurred,” says Crina Ilie.

”The second message is somewhat shocking to us: the digitization and the speed with which it happens. We, at Genpact, were going through a digitization process anyway, but it was a five-year plan. But now everything is happening online. A concrete example is that, through an application with a smart chatbot, we decided to do a survey among employees, a survey that normally lasted up to three months for all over 100,000 colleagues. We decided to cover them in three days. And it’s amazing what can come back from colleagues in just three days,” says Ilie.

”The third message is the invitation to bring our colleagues to an area where we can create the future together. There is certainly anxiety and insecurity, but there is also opportunity. We have now dedicated teams for developing a future of working, teams made with employees from all over the region. A concrete example is that of the return-to-office project, which is coordinated by a mixed team, with colleagues from all over the region and from different departments,” says Ilie.

It is important for everybody to remain open to others, to listen with the desire to understand. And we should also end the quarantine with at least one new thing learned.

The experience of the Chinese was crucial for Genpact Romania in the beginning. ”Since the beginning of February, we were among the first to take the temperature of the employees, to restrict the access of the visitors and to stop almost entirely the international trips. We did different simulations and exercises, which helped us to be more prepared and less anxious after the crisis started in our country as well,” explains Crina Ilie.

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