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Arthur Filip, Executive Vice President, Sales Transformation & Marketing, HCL TechnologiesBI India
Filip also believes that marketing has changed and taken on an even higher purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic
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Empathy, compassion and speed has helped us in an environment where it’s hard to see a finish line: Arthur Filip, HCL Technologies

Filip also believes that marketing has changed and taken on an even higher purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic
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  • For the past few months, organizations have been trying to put their best foot forward to ensure the safety and health of its employees, to weather the Covid-19 storm.
  • HCL Technologies was quick to put various measures in place to ensure its employees as well as their families were safe.
  • Arthur Filip, Executive Vice President, Sales Transformation & Marketing, HCL Technologies talks to us about all that has been happening at the organization in the last few months and why he believes that compassion and empathy have been his biggest lessons during the Covid-19 crisis.

For most organizations across the world, the priority after the Covid-19 situation arose was to make sure that their employees and their families were safe. HCL Technologies too, ensured that the safety of its employees and their families was taken care of from the very outset.

It started a 24×7 healthcare helpline for its employees across the globe which included all possible healthcare services and provided them for free. It also formed a special global task force to actively monitor the situation and take proactive remedial actions in consultation with external agencies. The organization also ensured that there was proactive communications with all its clients around the world, to keep them updated and provide them clear information while at the same time seeking feedback on emerging needs of their companies’ and their customers’ requirements.

It was perhaps the speed at which all these measures were taken that helped HCL Technologies sail through, shared Arthur Filip, Executive Vice President, Sales Transformation & Marketing, HCL Technologies in a recent conversation with Ad & Media Insider.

While telling us how the organization has been dealing with the evolving situation, he also told us that empathy, compassion and speed were some attributes that helped the organization immensely. He also shared how during the crisis, the role of marketing evolved and attained a higher purpose.

Filip has also been a champion of gender diversity. He also tells us all that HCL Technologies, as an organization has been doing, to ensure that it is more inclusive.

Excerpts:

Q) How have the last few months been for HCL from a business perspective? While nobody had anticipated an event like this, were you as an organization prepared to face the challenges that the pandemic and the lockdown brought with it?

We have a very cohesive global leadership team, one that’s very tuned into the global and local environments where we do business and have employees. We started tracking the situation in early January, and by January 26 had launched a full-blown executive crisis management function that gathered frequently to proactively manage the situation. This early governance effort, combined with transparent communication with our employees, customers and communities, along with partnerships with leading health and government officials around the world, allowed HCL to achieve stable operations very early on in the crisis. Given the nature of our business, we typically plan and prepare ourselves for a wide range of scenarios to ensure business continuity.

Our first and foremost priority has been our employees and their families. We maximized our work from home capabilities very early in this crisis and continue to do so. From the employees’ front, we started a 24×7 healthcare helpline for our employees across the globe, in association with our sister company, HCL Healthcare. This Covid-19 helpline includes all possible healthcare services that are completely free, secure and confidential for HCL employees and their families. We also formed a special global task force to actively monitor the situation and take proactive remedial actions in consultation with external agencies (International SOS). We made sure to maintain proactive communications with all clients around the world from the early onset of COVID-19 in order to keep them updated and provide them clear information while at the same time seeking feedback on emerging needs of their companies’ and their customers’ requirements.

We also developed a COVID-19 Information Center with the theme #TakeCareHCL to communicate with our employees across the globe with the underlying message that we are one family and together in these unprecedented times. The theme #TakeCareHCL underpins a series of employee communications and engagement initiatives that not only aims to inform them of the new practices but also foster employee comfort with positive messages of care, appreciation, and encouragement in these stressful times.

Q) As a leader, what have some of your biggest learnings from this experience been?

Empathy, compassion and speed. These are attributes that have helped us in an environment where it’s hard to see a finish line, the circumstances can change by the minute, and there is the possibility of real danger to people. Our CEO, CVK, set a strong tone of empathy, safety and people-first – right at the beginning and this clarity helped our leaders and employees move forward with resilience.

Thinking about empathy and compassion – this is a time that’s so new and different that we made sure to bring alongnot only the strongest people but those who are most vulnerable within our company and within our neighbourhoods. It’s a spirit of “Do the Right Thing, All the Time”.

It is our responsibility to ensure that our customers, particularly those depending on us for critical services—such as healthcare, pharmacy, food supply and distribution, and civic amenities such as power, safety and governance—remain up and running with the requisite IT support as the world battles the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. This sort of agility and stepping up to help deliver essential services have humbled us with appreciations from customers.

Last but not the least, listening to employees and customers, and responding to their needs have been the most important part while fighting through the crisis.

Q) At adverse times like these, do you think the purpose of marketing evolves to something broader?

Yes, certainly. As a new and unprecedented situation, it required us to deal with it in a unique manner. I feel that marketing has changed and taken on an even higher purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it will further continue to change when a “new normal” sets in for all of us. While these certainly are challenging times, we believe in converting the crisis into an opportunity to learn, unlearn and grow further. We feel that in these times marketing goes beyond the usual strategies that we implement. Our prime focus has been instilling confidence in our customers, by providing them with the means to cope with the situation and going beyond to help them. Being empathetic and prioritizing customer experience has been something that we have been working on relentlessly since the very start.

Also, we did a client satisfaction survey to measure the effectiveness of our COVID response. And it showed 99% of the respondents agreed that our business continuity measures were very effective or effective. We were quite humbled to hear that feedback. We are equally humbled by our employee feedback on the company’s effort towards supporting them, their well-being and ensuring a lot of proactive direction, communication, engagement. Going forward, we continue to remain very committed to three priorities - Employee wellbeing, Client support and Community impact.

Q) Since you are leading both marketing and sales transformation, what have a few of your priorities been as a leader at the organization?

I have many responsibilities, but I sum it up in the way I wake up each morning, which is thinking about the brand essence of HCL – who are we, what do we stand for, and what do we do as a company of 150,000+ professionals to make the world a better place to live in. This has certainly taken on some new meaning during this pandemic. There are several key themes that permeate throughout our efforts –translating the great capabilities and potential of digital technologies to rapidly transform businesses, humanizing technology, finding new ways of working across all industries through sustainability, and providing a voice and spurring innovation through our platforms and ecosystem.

Q) You have been a champion of gender diversity. How have you been able to make sure HCL has a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment?

As a company we have a tremendous history over 44 years, building an incredible journey filled with professional and lifechanging opportunities. We realized early on that the healthiest organizations are comprised of great people from all walks of life –from genders, to nations, to persuasions, race, orientation and more. Our companybelieves in equality andis fully committed to build and strengthen a more inclusive and equitable workplace. Diversity is more than a metric to be monitored and managed. It is an inherent inclusive attitude towards the way we look at the world, the workplace and the unique individual. I personally believe that gender diversity is a driving force of competitive businesses, and there are no longer excuses to get it right.

In the area of gender diversity, we have women-specific programs at all levels of the companythat cater to their career development needs. We have unique programs like Women Connect which is an employee-led group of active women who contribute in shaping the gender agenda and are also the catalysts to improve gender inclusion at workplace. Senior women leaders have taken the lead to form a core group to provide ideas and assist in expanding our Women Connect Engagement charter this year. Another program is Women Lead, an exclusive 1:1 mentorship program, which connects global women leaders.

Similarly, we have Red Ladder, a unique platform that celebrates and fosters Women Leadership. Despite these tremendous advances, women still face a variety of professional challenges, particularly in traditionally male-dominated careers in the Technology industry. HCL’s Red Ladder Awards identifies, recognizes, and awards high performing and high potential Women Leaders and creates opportunities to connect as role models for other aspiring women.



COVID-19IndiaCases: 2.26MDeaths: 45.2kRecovered: 1.58M
COVID-19WorldCases: 19.71MDeaths: 728kRecovered: 12.22M
COVID-19USACases: 4.95MDeaths: 160kRecovered: 1.67M