Lavleen kaur kapoor

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In order to sensitize and orient the incoming batch of students towards the impact of COVID-19 at workplace, MICA, India’s premier management B-school in Strategic Marketing and Communication, hosted a panel discussion titled ‘Workplace after COVID19: Challenges and Opportunities’ where industry experts shared their insights on ‘The New Normal’ and how the students should prepare themselves for the challenges.

Experts advised the students to focus on social interaction in remote working scenarios to stay connected, how they need to learn to work in an unsupervised environment, how important it is to create content in alignment with the viewers and their language and how people with skills and talent will continue to be hired.

The panel discussion, held on the first day of the orientation for all the incoming students of the Post-Graduate Programme (PGP), Crafting Creative Communication (CCC) and the Fellow Programme in Management (FPM) batch had four panelists that included Ms. Maya John, Chief People Officer, Dailyhunt, Ms. Kranti Sarma, Head of Studio, MPC Film, Mr. Rama Kishore C., Head of People Operations, SOROCO and Mr. Rohit Bhargava, Vice President - Human Resources, Eros International PLC. The session was moderated by Professor Shubhra Gaur.

Sharing the insights on how our workplace has changed, from the panel Maya John, Chief People Officer, Dailyhunt said, “The focus has shifted from effort to output and the symbols of effort ‘office hours’ have become irrelevant. Physical human connect has been lost and it needs to be re-created and replicated. There will be a lot of effort but there is also a collective will to adapt and survive. There is absolutely no rulebook and you will be re-writing the verticals from scratch. Try listening and observe the market and your consumers more during the coming years as you go through your course.”

Adding further, Rama Kishore, Head of People Operations, SOROCO said, “COVID has fundamentally transformed every structural element - social, political, organizational. It has also proved all management philosophies wrong. Companies have realized that availability is no longer the only criteria to be productive. So, employees need to add more value and be responsible to the liberty and freedom they have got and need one to be a very strong collaborator.”

Sharing his observation, Rohit Bhargava, Vice President - Human Resources, Eros International PLC said, “The Business Continuity Plan (BCP) of companies overnight turned into business as usual. Communication have become very important, the tone of your emails had to have empathy. We were recently looking to hire someone with regional content, as we are now not just talking to India but to Bharat and we cannot miss out on our audience sitting in living rooms and consuming content. So the learning is on an everyday basis and we have to be agile in responding to changes.”

As per Kranti Sarma, Head of Studio, MPC Film, there has been a huge mind shift and the productivity has only got better as people are not bound to limited working hours.

On job opportunities and roles, Maya said, “Digital is the future and in digital, content is king. As a marketer, understanding consumer and user sentiment and behavior will help you stand apart. You will have to do more with less, and since everything is fusing now, as creative folks, you will have to also think about various parameters like the reach, scale, interactivity and monetization capability of your creative work.

Urging students to add on a regional language as a skill, Maya said, “More than 75% of Bharat accesses the internet in their regional language. Adding on regional language to your skill sets will stand you apart and help you reach your digital audience. Indian language certainly is a twist and even more prominent now. By the time you graduate, vocal for local will be the norm. You should all look for good Indian companies and
startups as a wish list to work at.”

Speaking of the gig economy, she said, “We are also seeing a notion of gigs and projects evolving. You have 2-3 years to observe. It is a luxury to just pause and think as once you are in the industry, it will be difficult to pause. Crisis brings out the best in leaders and companies.”

Citing a McKinsey report, Rama shared, “The report states that 45 million jobs will be redeployed in India alone. In terms of predictions, today, every forecast is beaten by COVID and everyone is taking by for a month or a quarter, no one is looking beyond that. We will need to delegate decision making at various levels and we need to figure out how we can be agile, collaborate and at the same time have synergies between our own people. As far as skills are concerned, being tech savvy, collaborative and fast in adapting to the change will be the key.”

Encouraging the incoming students, Kranti said, “Nothing has changed in the job market, things have gone on a standstill as organizations are rejigging their requirements. Try and acquire more skills that make you employable. Millennials have a lot of characteristics that are needed in the new normal. This group is a multi-tasker, tech savvy, and curious bunch of people who need instant gratification, and all of this is being provided with work from home set up. No one will come and nudge you, hence self-discipline, time management, taking care of mental health and upskilling yourself with industry news is very important.”

On a concluding note, Rohit said, “This is the best time to get your education while the world is figuring out how to deal with the crisis. Learn how to log your work, supervise and be organized as this is the way forward.

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