Work-from-home scenario in times of COVID: Shrikant Lonikar, CHRO, Pernod Ricard India
Ambrosia|September 2020
With a total workforce of over 7,000 people across 28 manufacturing locations and about 50 office locations in India, here's how Pernod Ricard India has tracked the impact of COVID on its employee engagement using sophisticated AI tools such as sentiment analysis, and more.
Aditi Sharma Kalra

As the world's second largest wine and spirits seller, a brand portfolio comprising The Glenlivet, Jameson, Ballantine's and more, and a history that spans three centuries, Pernod Ricard certainly has an enviable employer brand. Pernod Ricard India is a fully owned subsidiary of Pernod Ricard SA and prides itself on being a socially responsible organisation. Directly and indirectly, it employs a total workforce of over 7,000 people across 28 manufacturing locations and about 50 office locations. When COVID-19 hit India's shores early this year, the organisation acted swiftly in developing and executing its business continuity plan (BCP) despite its vast and geographically dispersed workforce. In this exclusive interview with Aditi Sharma Kalra, Shrikant Lonikar, Chief Human Resources Officer, Pernod Ricard India (PRI), talks us through this BCP, as well as the employee engagement programmes implemented to keep employees' motivation high while working from home.

How has PRI been dealing with the COVID situation for employees? What were the first steps in your business continuity plan?

At Pernod Ricard India, we were prepared for tackling the COVID situation. Keeping the impact first observed in China as a reference point, we developed our business continuity plan altered to the potential impact of COVID and implemented it accordingly.

We kick started our preparation phase by employing restrictions in travel, and addressing our employees on the potential impact of the virus in early January. Guidelines were established for running our operations keeping in mind social distancing norms and other preventive measures to ensure the safety of our taskforce around February. Crisis management committees were set up at locations to manage all COVID related situations early March.

In the pre-lockdown phase, employees worked from home on a rotational basis. We announced a complete lockdown of all operations on 18 March 2020. We took several measures to support our employees during this phase both in terms of business continuity and their safety. The required volumes of PPE were provided to them and their families, an internal self-declaration mechanism was set-up to monitor their health status and movements, tech enablement was activated to empower them to work efficiently from home, a business continuity matrix was developed with critical contacts for escalation at all times – to name a few.

One key transition that we are currently facilitating is the adoption of the new ways of working for our employees through extensive training and providing necessary work-fromhome infrastructure support to ensure that this is a smooth process.

Coming to specific actions, values and behaviours, what does PRI's COVID response translate to?

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