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LeaderTalk :In conversation with Pankaj Sachdeva – Vice President, Innovation and India Site Leader at Pitney Bowes

4 Mins read

1.How can effective leaders create a win-win situation for the company and employees?

Open communication is the key. The vision and culture of a company needs to be communicated regularly and effectively so that it resonates with each employee, regardless of where they are located and their position in the organization. Both formal and informal communication channels are crucial, especially while working in a remote environment. Effective communication emphasizes the importance of immediacy, accuracy and empathy; employees should feel cared for and looked after especially during a crisis like the global pandemic. Providing avenues for continuous learning, knowledge sharing, open forums, industry representations are some of the drivers of employee growth which in turn lead to the compnay’s growth.

  1. Please showcase the India operations. Would you like to share some of the cutting-edge work that has happened from India ?

We began our operations in India in 2007 and since then, Pitney Bowes India has grown to become the largest Innovation center for Pitney Bowes globally.

India teams lead work on cutting-edge digital technologies and innovation for Pitney Bowes key products for global markets. For instance, leveraging Data Science, our teams predict the entire parcel journey and highlight to clients anomalies or delays. The solution has provided greater visibility to clients and has increased our Net Promoter Scores. We are also working on automation of our global facilities and processes from the India center. Our teams work on IoT devices, and in fact most of the data engineering for all the data we generate is done from India. There are also practices for Security and DevOps that have global charters.

In addition to tech expertise, we have improved our domain depth in the India center. We have a strong team of global product owners based out of India.

Pitney Bowes India has been consistently named one of India’s Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work® Institute. In 2020, we were named among the Top 25 Best Workplaces in IT & IT-BPM. This is our 9th recognition in a short span of 12+ years in India.

  1. How does R&D happen in a situation such as this – a remote working environment and for such extended periods? What kind of adjustments were required? If you can please share your insights.

The greatest challenge of a fully remote workplace is the ability to brainstorm during a casual coffee or lunch chat, and to whiteboard ideas. While with remote working teams can become closer, it has led to a gap in the ease of brainstorming. To encourage teams to collaborate and innovate, we host regular informal sessions such as virtual coffee meets, 1-on-1s, so there are ample opportunities to share ideas. We have strengthened our technology infrastructure to include better collaboration, whiteboarding, knowledge sharing tools, and are working to include augmented reality tools as well.

The pandemic was tough for everyone, with the lines blurring between work and home responsibilities. To make sure that our employees feel relaxed and unburdened, we have launched several Employee Assistance Programs including Mental Wellness Workshops, Yoga Sessions and other activities to help employees relax. We provided employees with flexible working hours and encouraged them to take regular personal time-off. We also launched several L&D Initiatives, so that our people can build on their existing skill sets and learn skills for the future, including trainings in AI, Data Science, Cyber Security among others. 

  1. How different is culture-building in a company with global footprints? Also, in this situation (pandemic), what do organizations need to ensure there’s no dilution?

Pitney Bowes has  a strong unified culture of respect, empathy, productivity and growth across the company regardless of location. Our core value of  ‘doing the right thing, the right way’ is the guiding principle for everything we do. All our policies and people practices are driven by this value.

Focus on  transparency, communication, regular global collaboration and synergies help build strong cultures in companies with a global footprint. In the current situation, organizations need to be more agile, empathetic, and have open channels of communication and virtual engagement to ensure a motivated workforce. Having a strong cultural foundation ensures that culture can transcend beyond the physical office space in a fully remote work environment.

  1. Post-COVID (if there is one), what kind of changes can you foresee in the GCC world? You may want to address this at various levels – strategic, operational, and talent. Or you can choose to take a different line altogether?

COVID has essentially changed how organizations operate. Only a few organizations had the flixibilty and readiness of remote working before the pandemic. Working with dispersed teams, which initially seemed like a temporary model, has now been instilled in organizations and employees for good. In the post-COVID world too, employees would like to work from anywhere. Organizations, including GCCs, have to prepare for a hybrid workplace, a collaboration of physical and digital workspaces.

Organizations will need to evolve their internal structures to facilitate  teams in their innovation and growth journey.

GCCs will become even more strategic to the headquarters. With the ability to work from anywhere agnostic of location, GCCs should expect more innovation coming their way, espcially on the early lifecycle of the product, right from product inception, which was not very common earlier. And there would be newer roles such as of Global Product Managers coming up in India GCCs. Similarly, domain depth will be valued more than it has been in India, and soon at par with technology expertise.

GCCs will need to emrace technology changes, both in their infrastructure and the skills they offer. Employee reskilling, especially on digital technologies will become key for continuos growth.

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