The coronavirus outbreak has not only brought about a global health threat but is also crippling the economy. Several organisations, factories, and businesses are unable to operate normally, forced to cut down their costs by deducting salaries and/or reducing their employee strength.
According to media reports, 27 million workers within 20-30 lost their jobs in April 2020 amidst national lockdown.
Ensuring wellbeing, financial security of employees
To ensure the physical and mental wellbeing and financial security of the employees, the fintech unicorn made efforts to not opt for salary cuts or layoffs. This also ensured that employees gave their undivided attention towards innovating new solutions rather than worrying about their jobs.
“We have cut down on a lot of overhead costs, streamlined our operations and real estate, and managed to save on resources in other areas. We have ensured that all levels and categories of staff remain safe, motivated, and energised as earlier with minimal impact,” says Rohit.
The company is giving up leases of 19 facilities across the country that can help Paytm save over Rs 40 crore yearly in rent, maintenance, and other operating expenses. According to Paytm, this money will be utilised for tech development, employee, and other initiatives.
Further, to maintain the productivity of the employees, senior managers and team leads try to stay connected with teammates and support them in completing their daily tasks. The company has also joined hands with professionals to organise mental health webinars, online yoga classes, and other workshops to ensure the health of its employees.
“Every week our founder [Vijay Shekhar Sharma] addresses a video-townhall meet with a large number of colleagues to keep everyone informed about all the latest developments in the company. Throughout the week, the HR touches base with various teams to hear out their concerns and address any work-related issues that they might have,” he adds.
When asked about the appraisal plans, Rohit reveals that Paytm is looking to opt for an ESOP-based appraisal plan, which will be applicable for all the new joinees and existing employees, who were given ESOPs 2019 onwards. This new process has been linked with individual goals, which are reviewed and approved by the HoD or business head.
“Linking it to the performance of our colleagues helps us get the best out of them and also sets the benchmark for goal setting. We follow a point-based performance structure that is transparent and done purely on the basis of achieving the set goals and targets. The higher the points scored in each assessment, the more percentage of ESOPs the employee gets allocated,” he says.
New business opportunities
Paytm has launched several new products and services such as Paytm Postpaid, Scan to Order, contactless ticketing service, COVID-19 insurance, Recharge Saathi programme, credit shell for flight tickets, and free cancellation of bus tickets, among others.
“Early on, we understood that social distancing norms and safety measures would have a lasting impact on the movement of migrant workers across the country. Things that they were able to do earlier, including standing in a queue to pay utility bills, going for shopping, and even touching currency notes would become difficult. Keeping all these things in mind, our team worked dedicatedly to revamp the Paytm app UI with a ‘Stay at home essential payments’ section to include Mobile and DTH Recharge, electricity, water, gas, credit card, and insurance premium payment among others,” Rohit says.
This offering led to over 50 percent increase in mobile recharges, 60 percent increase in DTH payments, and over 200 percent increase in broadband bill payments, claims the company.
To cater to the growing need for contactless services, the fintech unicorn launched the ‘Scan to Order’ feature to promote safe dining and hygienic food ordering experience. It also developed a unique QR to be displayed at restaurants, which can be scanned by users to browse the menu and place orders using their mobile phones.
Paytm also launched a contactless ticketing service for state-run local transport buses, which will benefit state transport corporations such as DTC, BEST, Punjab Roadways, CTU, OSRTC, and KSRTC, among others.
“We are already in talks with 20 state transport departments to ensure that citizens are able to travel safely within cities following all social distancing norms. We are targeting to enable a contactless ticket-buying experience in over 20,000 state-run busses in the first phase of going live with this service,” adds Rohit.
He adds that a deep understanding of user needs, along with the capability to develop innovative solutions helped the company find new opportunities during these turbulent times.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)
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