A people driven culture, thoughtful and advanced planning in response to Covid 19, paved the right way for this global Intellectual Property Research and Consulting firm, who considers employees as its asset.
In this candid interview, both founders, Tarun Kumar Bansal and Anant Kataria, highlight how they planned to navigate these times through their employee centric initiatives. Excerpts:
Briefly introduce Sagacious IP and the leaders.
Sagacious IP, is one of the largest global IP Research and Consulting firms. The firm started in 2008 by us (Anant Kataria, CEO, and Tarun Kumar Bansal, President). It is headquartered in Gurugram, India, with offices in a total six countries (nine cities) and customers in over 85 countries. Sagacious IP helps R&D based companies in optimizing their spend on intellectual property protections, generating revenue from their Intellectual Property, helping them derisk their investments in products as well as providing IP information that enables such companies to prepare long-term R&D strategies.
How is COVID impacting your business?
Overall the impact of COVID on our usual business is minimal. From the customers perspective, COVID only fuelled new innovations (Pharma & Healthcare) and their requirements to open new revenue channels by monetizing their existing intellectual property, increased the need of our services.
From the delivery perspective, our productivity was not impacted much as we adopted WFH early on and we had the right IT tools already procured. However, due to cancellation of conferences and face to face meetings, our growth slowed down a bit as these two contributed significantly to our new customer acquisition.
How are you playing your part in the pandemic?
From the beginning both of us and top management were convinced that these are the times when humanity comes first. In line with this thought, Sagacious IP started three major initiatives to support fellow colleagues and society in general.
Sagacious IP’s Coronavirus Research Assistance Program, a pro bono service that offered 1000 hours (expanded to 1,500 hours later) of free multilingual patent/literature information support to researchers and scientists working on COVID-19 related research. The program, enlisted by major global bodies such as the US Chamber of Commerce, UK Government’s Crown Commercial Service, and Biotechnology Innovation Organization, helped companies overcome shortage of masks, prepare masks with better technology, or even identify good leads while working on vaccines, treatments as well as diagnostics. This effort was also awarded a Bronze Stevie Award at International Business Awards 2020.
Sagacious IP’s Free Intellectual Property Training to over thousands of R&D and IP professionals in multiple companies to upskill them with the latest helping them be more valuable to their companies.
Sagacious IP worked in collaboration with Indian innovators who were trying to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, we partnered with the COVID India Initiative, which was helping India overcome the shortage of ventilators, etc.
How are you supporting your employees?
Ever since the onset of the pandemic, Sagacious IP has encouraged its employees to work from the comfort of their homes to not only prevent the spread of the disease but also ensure their mental health is well looked after. Company provided them with a mental wellbeing help line as well as connected with them often. During the second wave, when more people in the company started getting affected – the firm decided on four major initiatives:
We have added Special COVID leaves which are over and above their existing leave balance can be availed in case of a COVID emergency.
We also created an “Emergency COVID Fund” to offer financial assistance to employees affected by the disease and amended its interest-free loan policy to make all employees eligible regardless of their tenure in the company.
We have announced to sponsor COVID-19 vaccines approved by the Government of India for its employees and their families globally.
Recently we launched 24×7 Free Medical Consultation as many employees were finding it difficult to get accurate medical advice, we empanelled two providers, so our employees can get free medical consultation online 24×7 from expert doctors in over 25 specializations.
How did you come up with these policies?
It is not a static process. The senior management and HR take periodic review of the impact of pandemic on our employees where employees get an opportunity to voice their challenges. Once we have the insights from such reviews, we craft them into policies.
For instance, the leave policy was amended, and an emergency fund was created after we witnessed an increase in requests for leaves, financial assistance, and doctor consultation.
How did the employees take these initiatives?
The employees welcomed our decision of vaccination and are now fully ready to get vaccinated team wise, starting May 1st, 2021. Also, as soon as we opened the doctor consultation lines, employees started reaching doctors out. Similarly, employees are happy to get financial assistance and have appreciated this.
Overall, employees now have faith and conviction that organization has their back and we all will sail past this together. In addition to that, we keep reviewing other CSR opportunities that appear from time to time and take actions accordingly.