upGrad redesigns people policies, as headcount grows from 500 to 2000 during the pandemic
With Work From Home extending till June 2021, the edtech major focuses on a healthier work-life balance and holistic well-being for maintaining employee morale in its blitzscale phase.
To accelerate the growth momentum upGrad is experiencing since covid, the edtech major increased its employee headcount four-fold to reach 2000 within a short period of 8 months. The scaling necessitated the company to relook and restructure its people’s policies, as employees prepare to continue working remotely till June 2021.
Preempting the need for a rounded approach to monitor and meet the psychosocial needs, upGrad’s employee assistance partner with its 1000+ counsellors has been made available 24x7 on online chat, voice calls or video sessions.
Preeti Kaul, Head - HR, upGrad said, “Given youth is a majority in our talent, we rightly expected most to move back to their hometowns. We were cognizant that missing the office environment, and interpersonal interactions will have a huge interplay with the current state of living in joint families, with perhaps a lack of personal space, minimal physical & social activities, coupled with the anxiety of the pandemic. Thus, the holistic well-being of our employees, in addition to their physical safety, became the front and center of our people's practices.”
While upGrad improved the gamut of employee benefits by allowing covid leaves, add-on features in insurance policies, ex-gratia payouts to tide over dire medical emergencies, as well as invigorated remote employee engagement activities like fitness challenges, yoga classes, informal talk shows with senior leaders, and virtual stand-up comedies; what employees found most de-stressing is the one-on-one expert counselling sessions, where they opened up and uninhibitedly spoke about problems in relationship to self-improvement to sexual health concerns.
"Counsellor helped me analyze my situation. He gave me a clear distinction between decision making and tackling problems that might arise after taking a decision. The session, on the whole, was very helpful to me as it got me closer to understanding my emotions and myself better,” said an employee post a counselling call. Over 30% of employees who availed counselling have gained value and came back for 3 or more repeat sessions, reinstating the need for promoting healthier work-life balance.
“He (father) clicked a picture of the gifts and shared in all his WhatsApp groups saying "Beti itni badi ho gayi hain ki uske office se ab humein gifts aa rahe hain (my daughter has grown up and today we're receiving gifts on her account),” emailed another employee to the founder's team, whose parents received their Diwali gift in Pithoragarh, a Himalayan town in Uttarakhand. In a gesture to thank the families of the employees who have been the silent supporters of their spouses, parents, and children, upGrad has sent over 2000 customised festive gifts to family members living across 1100 areas in India, ushering in the joy of festivities.