Managing people is easier said than done. ‘People’ are complicated beings. And yet our job as HR is to manage people, phew!
When anyone mentions ‘HR’— for some reason— people tend to reminisce about their old school days. Of the strict teachers who everyone was scared of!
But hey! Teachers today have progressed to ‘friends’ who you influence into playing Ludo in class. And apart from the occasional teacher-student Ludo tournaments, the students have become quite independent and are self-managing.
This analogy may be far-fetched. But this transition is even more relevant in the IT industry with HR and employees. Leapfrog stands as a significant example of how the roles have changed from ‘strict HR’ to ‘strategic HR,’ and let us tell you how.
HR vs People Operations: A fresh perspective
The role of HR has leveled up!
It’s no longer limited to just managing the employees and their onboarding to offboarding processes alone. HR has evolved to People Operations, which is a holistic approach where we need to align employees with the company and march ahead in the same direction.
We are also responsible for aligning the business goals and planning out the overall system accordingly to maximize value for both employees and the company. As People Operations, we are a strategic partner of the company and a reliable friend to the employees.
We also understand that employees are our primary stakeholders, and developing them will lead to our development in the long run. We help employees take care of themselves and their teams while employees are busy managing company projects.
Helping Leapfroggers fight Covid-19
It’s easy to be a leader and manage people when things are going well. But when the entire world is drowning in a pandemic, it’s a whole different story. Everyone was working from home, and onboarding new people or taking care of existing employees itself was a big challenge moving forward.
So the People Operations team had to re-strategize our plans to adapt to this ‘new normal’ with kindness, compassion, and a whole lot of creativity. We had to ensure that our Leapfroggers’ productivity or mental health wasn’t affected due to the pandemic.
Insurance and paid leave for Leapfroggers
When someone gets covid, the last thing they should worry about is their financial situation. So, we arranged insurance for all Leapfroggers and an immediate paid sick leave for people diagnosed with Covid-19.
We prioritize ‘Human’ in Human Resources, and we wanted everyone to have peace of mind and come back fully rested.
Collaboration with Danphe Care
Going out to hospitals for PCR tests or other medical attention was scary during the lockdown. So, we collaborated with Danphe Care, an innovative company bringing healthcare and technology together and offered special discounts for our employees.
Danphe Care offers at-home PCR tests, telemedicine consultation, and personal counseling by doctors and regular follow-up by nurses. Apart from covid health services, they also provide daily mindfulness classes and early-morning yoga classes for infected people.
We also offer these covid care services from Danphe Care and other partners to immediate family members as well.
Organizing mental and physical health sessions
Taking care of our physical health alone isn’t enough. We have to take care of our mental health too. Especially when we are confined in our rooms with no one to talk to. So, we brought in doctors and medical practitioners for various sessions on mental, physical, and even financial health.
Some of the events we’ve done in the first half of 2021 are Mindfulness & Better Immunity, Eye Care Session, Mental Health & Stress Management, Coexisting with Covid-19, among others.
Setting up internal communication channels
Lastly, we wanted Leapfroggers to have a separate space to talk about Covid-19 and share important news and resources without disrupting their work conversations. Or let the messages be buried under memes in our water-cooler conversations.
So, we set up a separate communication channel on Slack where everyone can share important news and resources related to Covid-19. We also set up Slackbots to send reminders about handling covid and emergency contacts every day.
This one time, one of our Leapfroggers’ friends was admitted to hospital and they needed a ventilator. As soon as she conveyed this message in the Slack channel, she was able to get contacts and help her friend. Sometimes, something as simple as setting up a group chat can save a life!
What it means to be People Operations at Leapfrog
People Operations may be a fancy name to replace HR, but we also have added responsibilities to keep up with. At Leapfrog, People Operations is more than just hiring people and ensuring employees get benefits.
As People Operations, we have to lead by example and be the company’s brand ambassadors. This way, we can foster company values and culture among our employees, especially in new Leapfroggers.
We ensure employees focus on the right values by planning strategic onboarding processes for new employees and periodic events such as weekly and quarterly all-hands for existing employees.
Every time someone new joins our organization, it’s People Operations’ responsibility to ensure they have a smooth transition into the company. For this, we hold various cross-department sessions and 1-on-1 meetings.
- Hold an ice-breaking session in their first week to build a better connection.
- Proper guidance of goal setting and feedback culture for a more aligned career path.
- Give them an understanding of objective self and team evaluation for better performance.
- Prepare guidelines, internal processes, and systems for a good working environment.
We are the bridge to connecting the expectations of employees and the company. We try to create balance in the company through various events such as check-in with principals and bringing policies like menstrual leave and extended maternity leave for our employees so they know the company cares about them.
Remember that one ‘Mom’ friend in every friend group? Well, People Operations are the ‘Mom’ of all Leapfroggers in the company.
We plan and organize programs and support systems for the physical and mental well-being of our Leapfroggers. We also help employees develop through various learning, development, and employee engagement programs to help boost productivity and bonding, such as communication training.
People Operations further also acts as advisors to help employees build habits to focus on their self and team’s growth. We are there to address and solve day-to-day queries and help manage themselves and their relationships in the workplace. We are daily problem solvers.
‘Strict’ HR or strategic People Operations, we are still the office equivalent of ‘Mom’ in friend groups. Every employee should have the opportunity for maximum growth, and we are the support system that helps them reach there.