We at ABFRL present stories excerpted from our internal newsletter ‘In Touch’, where we celebrate our people and their contributions.
August 27, 2021 will be etched in our minds as a day of gratitude, as the ABFRL Leadership joined 350+ employees virtually across cities in the first ever ceremony to felicitate and commend their phenomenal contribution to ABFRL’s COVID support initiatives.
COVID-19, especially in the second wave, left a trail of financial, physiological and psychological destruction. An old adage goes, ‘when wealth is lost, little is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost’. While out frontline staff geared up to revived ABFRL’s brand stores, several grappled with COVID as well. Here, our ‘Heroes of Hope’, a strong team of 350+ employees across HR, Admin, medical and other support functions geared up to make every possible help available to our extended ABFRL Family. In all this, we reinforced the true character of the Company.
From ambulances, medicines, online consultation with specialist doctors, hospital beds, ICUs, oxygen concentrators, vaccination camps, to arranging for food for the lonely souls in home quarantine and psychological support, these heroes left no stone unturned. Some even extended a helping hand while fighting COVID themselves or when their loved ones caught the bug.
The Embodiment of ABG Values
As a token of gratitude for their unrelenting and brave actions, this special event was hosted virtually to laude their integrity, commitment, passion, seamlessness, and speed, as they embodied the values of the Aditya Birla Group in a selfless manner.
Ashish Dikshit, Managing Director, ABFRL
“Our HR, Admin and the extended medical teams have shown us what is possible to achieve when we get together. We lost several colleagues, and all of us share a deep sense of loss. But more importantly, there are hundreds more that you have reached out to, assisted, helped, and supported. You have been a strong pillar to fellow colleagues as an emotional support or offering actual and tangible medical help to ensure that they and their family members are safe.”
As Ashish Dikshit, MD, ABFRL and Chandrashekhar Chavan, CHRO, ABFRL set the context for the outcome of the industry-first 360o ABFRL COVID Assistance and Emergency Response (CAER) Program, Gurucharan Gandhi (Senior VP, HR, MFL), Kalpana BG (Assistant VP, Madura Clothing) and Sandeep Sengupta (VP, HR, Pantaloons) spoke at length about the on-ground initiatives. It was heartening to see the pride and gratitude in their words and their eyes as they spoke about how their teams were instrumental in several life altering situations. Families of employees who were privy to this indomitable spirit of the HR team heaped praises on their saviors, especially in a time when your own kith and kin could be of very little help. As a closing note, families of our heroes were also invited to share their experience, and it was heartwarming to see them sharing exemplary feats of ‘going above and beyond’ their call of duty.
Ashok Ramchandran, Group Executive President – Group HR, Aditya Birla Group
“The journey of revival, hope, support to people in a tough place would have not have been possible without your selfless work. The truth of employee culture, corporate culture, brand etc., is made by each of us. As we give hope to those who need that hope, we continue to stay protected and insist on protection, including to those who are not willing to stay safe. We must create a culture of safety on this journey as we go along.”
Chandrashekhar Chavan, CHRO, ABFRL
“In the annals of ABFRL history, your heroic and altruistic actions have been deeply chronicled as a source of leadership in action for many future generations to come. All of you are leaders, in thoughts, words and deeds. Your actions have elevated you to a league of Super Heroes who put their employees ahead of everything else that matters and we will do everything possible to protect and serve them. You have rejuvenated the HR, admin function and medical functions.”
Making the Lockdown Productive
While Gurucharan Singh Gandhi, Head HR, Madura Lifestyle is known for his fine leadership skills, but did you know he is also an established author? Following the success of his debut book ‘Kabeer in Korporates – Corporate Lessons From a Great Mystic’, Gurucharan productively used his lockdown to pen yet another book, ‘Echoes of Gasping Souls’, marking a foray into the fiction writing genre.
In a conversation with Pranu Bajpai, General Manager, HR, Indivinity Clothing Retail, Guru spoke about his motivation, muses and gave us a peek into the next murder mystery he has on the cards. It was an inspiring talk on finding work life balance amidst testing times.
A Clap for our Carers
Apart from all the HR employees, a special felicitation was conducted for Dr. Anuradha K Bhat, who was the first point of contact for several of those affected by COVID.
Dr. Anuradha was instrumental in helping individuals from the store and factories that turn to her for support, even late at night, no matter, her personal circumstances. Her consistent effort in leading the team, helped the CEAR team navigate every difficult situation despite challenges.
“I would like to share my deepest gratitude to the ABFRL CAER team. As an HR Lead, I have seen their unflinching support being extended 24*7 to employees and their families. As an employee, I have personally experienced genuine care and support when I was down with COVID. CAER really CARES.”
Sandeep Sengupta, Head HR, Pantaloons
“The entire team went beyond the call of duty to deal with what can easily be said, as unprecedented circumstances. There are some roles who by their sheer conduct inspire the rest of us, by their valor, their ability to put themselves on the front end of risk, and selflessness to become true guardians, in every sense of the word. We can never thank them enough.”
Gurucharan Singh Gandhi, Head HR, Madura Lifestyle
“Although caught unaware during first wave, we sailed through with natural grit, determination and teamwork in the Manufacturing units. In the second wave, we were supported by the Corporate Team. The factories worked during the lockdown. With teamwork, the great effort and resilience of all the medical officers, the HR team members, operations team and the senior leadership team, we were encouraged to go beyond our Call of Duty.”
Kalpana BG, AVP and Head HR Madura Manufacturing
A Musical Performance by Manish Panda enthralled the audience.
Celebrating Integrity, Commitment, Passion, Seamlessness, and Speed
The commemoration saw our HR heroes being celebrating into seven categories: The Life Lines of ABFRL, Lighthouse of Hope, The Unstoppables, Soldiers in Solidarity, Vaccination Heroes, Heart of CAER and Guardians of ABFRL.
1. The Life Lines of ABFRL
These individuals went above and beyond in securing beds, oxygen concentrators, medicines in times of acute shortage. They leveraged on ABG as well as personal resources to ensure the best care for our employees. They personally ensured that colleagues who needed help for themselves and their family members were always supported in quick turnaround times. They were available 24/7 to ensure that employees are fully supported. Their persistence, grit and personal involvement helped save lives of our affected employees and their families.
2. Lighthouse of Hope
They were like family to our employees; bringing hope, courage and resilience through their words and actions in difficult times. These individuals went above and beyond to offer emotional support to employees and their families. Apart from being a positive interface between the employees, their families and the hospital, they also provided immense emotional support.
3. The Unstoppables
These individuals went above and beyond to help our employees despite their personal challenges during the pandemic. They considered ABFRL as an extension of their own family in the true spirit, and managed the herculean task of taking care everything at once.
4. Soldiers in Solidarity
These individuals put their own safety at stake to be there for our employees. Our employees and their families have been immensely supported through difficult times by these individuals. By stepping out of their homes and being there with our employees beyond the normal call of duty, they have shown outstanding courage and deep empathy.
5. Vaccination Heroes
These individuals were personally committed to get our employees vaccinated with the right tie ups or by personally being there to ensure smooth functioning of vaccination drives. These heroes enabled us to build a safer environment and added to our collective strength in fighting the pandemic.
6. Heart of CAER
These individuals were the backbone of our entire Organization. Through their perseverance, immense dedication & a commitment to deliver, they fought the pandemic battle at the forefront.
7. Guardians of ABFRL
These individuals acted as protectors and guarding angels, defending the ABFRL family from the most dreadful virus in all odd situations. Their passion and commitment for the Organization didn’t deter them from their sole objective of guarding and saving the lives our employees.
We thank all our ‘Heroes of Hope’ for their enthusiasm and efforts!