The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest disruption to life around us and has transformed the way people work. In response to the pandemic, Clearwater Analytics India took a step ahead to support its employees in battling the crisis and focused on employee well-being through financial aids, organizing counselling sessions, setting up vaccination camps and now extending the efforts for the larger community in India. The company believes that employees are the backbone of any business to grow and confirms expanding its team in India
As the company continues to grow at a positive pace, hiring and onboarding the right talent is the primary focus for this financial year. Anurag Singh, MD, Clearwater Analytics India, spoke on various development work with India CSR.
Excerpts of an interview:
The toughest time is looming for India as the impact of the pandemic has been significant on the economy and life loss. What is Clearwater’s strategy to maintain the business momentum?
Through the course of the pandemic, the safety and security of our employees has been our top priority. We helped our employees to build a workplace at home, making sure they had adequate equipment and technological resources to deliver their jobs. With an agile and supportive workforce, as an organization we ensured our clients continue to receive quality performance, efficient servicing, and timely data. We have served our clients with zero disruption in the delivery of their data and reporting since the outbreak of the virus or even when the pandemic was at its peak.
During the second wave of the pandemic in India, when many of our employees and their family members fell sick with novel coronavirus, our colleagues in the US and UK stepped in to maintain our client servicing standards and SLAs. We have continued to hire during the pandemic, doubling our headcount in India over the last one year.
What are a few initiatives launched to empower your employees during the pandemic?
The pandemic ushered in a new normal leading to significant change in the way we function. For those who tested positive it was even more difficult to cope up with the change. As an organization, from the very outset we ensured that there are transparent, active and sound communication routes laid down within employees across levels or geography. Clearwater Analytics’ colleagues came together as a family with the aim that no employee should fight this battle against the pandemic alone.
Keeping our employees’ safety as paramount, we went on a work from home model before the nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020. We then arranged and delivered COVID-19 prevention kits, rapid Antigen test kits, and partnered with hospitals for confirmatory tests like RT-PCR. To address medical challenges, we empaneled medical specialists to provide tele-consultations to our employees and their families. Additionally, there were counselling sessions with psychiatrists and clinical psychologists for colleagues to fend off fear and depression.
When cases were high and supplies were short, our Covid task force worked tirelessly to find and reserve critical hospital care, get access to ambulance services, procure oxygen cylinders, maintain a database of plasma donors, and helped in locating nearest pharmacies that had available stocks of medicines and injection supplies. We also provided oxygen concentrators on a loaner basis to employees and their families. Our colleagues from the US and UK further collected testing kits and shipped them to India.
How has been the response so far?
We assisted 25% of our employees through our “help every employee in need” program. The vaccination camp was extremely successful with employees and their immediate family and their near and dear ones participating in full vigor.
Any new program/policy introduced to support the employees financially during this time?
Clearwater worked with Insurance Agents to provide cashless hospitalization service on insurance claims. If at all, employee’s or their family hospital expenses were higher than our insured amounts, we enhanced the limits through corporate buffers. To further support financially, the company also ensured that monthly salaries are being paid out in advance to our employees.
Unfortunately, we also lost an employee during the pandemic. Though nothing can make up for a lost family member, to stand by the family and financially help them we have our corporate group term life policy. We will further pay the salary to the family for the next couple of years and provide company stock options to the spouse.
What are your views on leadership roles during such unprecedented scenarios?
Leadership’s role at such unprecedented times is to first chalk out a plan to stay connected and be collective in approaching the situation. At Clearwater, we were prompt and identified the risks before the conditions started getting worse. We ensured that our colleagues from other countries who were in India got back to their home nations before the pandemic started to wreak havoc.
The requisite infrastructure to work from home seamlessly was laid and kept us connected. Our teams across geographies performed excellently in delivering their work responsibilities and supporting colleagues who were impacted severely by the health crisis.
Our company continued to grow and acquire clients, even during the pandemic. We aimed to deliver to the highest quality standards, by hiring the best of the lot and training them exceptionally to adapt to the new model of working. I would credit our success both to how the leadership led and the way the workforce stepped up to battle this crisis.
What has been your initiatives towards addressing the larger communities?
We organized a couple of donation drives giving to NGOs like Akshay Patra, Goonj, Uday Foundation and contributed to the PM Cares Fund. We have collected clothes and other essentials internally and donated to the underprivileged communities.
To further expand our efforts, we are in the process of organizing a donation drive with our global colleagues to support the larger communities in association with NGOs. Clearwater employees and leadership will actively participate in the program.
Currently vaccination is key for everyone’s safety; we have launched an awareness program where Clearwater employees are educating the underprivileged community around the importance of vaccination and facilitating their vaccination.
With the unlock phase, what are the measures taken to ensure hygiene and safety at the workplace?
Clearwater took a very conservative approach to the pandemic and our offices remain shut till date. Though we plan to open our offices in the coming months, we want to give our employees the flexibility to choose if they want to come to the office or continue working from home.
When we plan to resume, we want the office to be sparsely occupied allowing only fully vaccinated colleagues to come in. We have aligned the guidelines and SOPs in place keeping in mind the safety, hygiene and well-being of our employees into consideration.
What will be Clearwater’s primary focus for FY 2021-FY 2022?
Employee well-being and their safety is of utmost importance to us. Though I hope the pandemic scenario does not develop again, we have started working on a contingency plan for another wave.
As we continue to expand in India, hiring and onboarding the right talent will be our prime focus going forward. We are working to scale our systems, add functionality in the adjacent areas and develop a newer set of offerings. We have our teams in place to target newer geographies in the Europe and Asia markets in addition to the US.
Any special L&D program, or skilling initiative introduced during the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, our onboardings and training were on-prem and instructor-led with practical and hands-on training sessions. The model had to be improvised as we shifted to an online mode. Following which, new content was developed and rolled out on the training platforms.
Recently, we launched Clearwater Academy to provide fundamental business frameworks and knowledge for all employees to be used in their current roles. It is an MBA-type program, designed to give access to graduate-level coursework without the required time commitment. The curriculum is focused on learning through experiences and case studies.
How do you see the SAAS market conditions and what will be the drivers for growth?
Earlier there used to be a reluctance to let go off the on-prem models, but now the Indian market is ready for adopting SaaS-based solutions in a big way. I think we are close to a tipping point in many functional areas.
Some of the top SaaS trends to look out for include Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and vertical SaaS solutions. If the Indian startups can drive thought leadership and get leading functional solutions enabled over SaaS platforms, there is ample room for business growth.