This crisis has taught us the importance of interdependence: Tarun Menon, Urban Company

Tarun Menon - AVP Marketing - Brand Strategy & Creative, Urban Company, talks about how the company is navigating the COVID-19 crisis

e4m by Anjali Thakur
Published: Apr 21, 2020 9:17 AM  | 3 min read
Tarun Menon

The COVID-19 outbreak has put countries around the globe at a standstill. India is also under a nationwide lockdown, and its impact on the economy and businesses is inevitable.

We speak to Tarun Menon - AVP Marketing - Brand Strategy & Creative at Urban Company, to understand how as he’s helping his company navigate these unprecedented times.

What according to you are the most important qualities a leader must display in unprecedented times like the present?

Effective leadership is always important for any organization. But in unprecedented times like these, leadership traits become even critical. I strongly believe that during these times showing empathy and concern is one of the most important qualities a leader must possess followed by instilling confidence and credibility in your employees. It is essential to ensure an environment where a constant flow of communication is taking place with the employees.

How are you keeping the morale of the employees high?

Firstly, we launched Urban Academy: to help employees be able to still pick up new skills while they are away from the office. Here, we banked on our internal experts on a multitude of topics ranging from technical skills to leadership and problem-solving.  

We also started 'Josh Talks' where we invite industry leaders to address our employees. These are candid conversations revolving around their life, challenges and high points in life. These talks are aimed at motivating employees and to give them a glimpse of the overall industry and industry leaders.

What initiatives has the company taken to make work from home a seamless experience for employees?

We were one of the few companies to move the entire organisation to work from home, one week before the lockdown began. In just 2 days, provisions were made to ensure that 1300+ employees were equipped to work from home. We also established proper guidelines for the roles and departments that are not typically conducive to off-premises work, such as customer support. Teams were equipped with the tools and means to manage their productivity, to ensure that while they are safe, work continues.  

As and when the lockdown lifts, we will continue to monitor the situation proactively with the intent of creating a safe working environment for employees – and continue to work from home if need be.

This crisis has especially taught us about the interdependence of businesses and people from all walks of life. Do you think this is perhaps the most important management lesson we need to hold on to once we emerge out of this crisis?

These are unprecedented times and the one thing that has clearly emerged is how the whole ecosystem is working together to survive and thrive. From startups and investors to independent advisors and government bodies, all are working to solve problems posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. This initiative to help each other, irrespective of the industry one belongs to, is definitely building lasting relationships among organizations. So, yes interdependence is one of the many lessons that this crisis has taught businesses. Having said that, once the crisis is over, we should all carry the learnings forward and revisit these lessons during any challenging times we may face in the future.

While social media consumption is high, advertisers are shying away from any big campaigns. How are you tackling this present crisis? What steps are you taking to ensure the brand grows stronger despite the challenges? 

People are spending most of their time nowadays on social media; there is uptake, definitely. We are not investing in any campaign currently, as the focus is more on when the lockdown will be lifted.

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