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#FightBackCorona: Business is entering a new state of play: Dilip Cherian

These are extraordinary times and we all are in uncharted territory. There is a lot of fear and negativity in all spheres due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While the Corona Warriors are doing a tremendous job fighting from the frontlines, we at Adgully are embarking on an endeavour to highlight the positive developments during these challenging times. 

Over the next few weeks, Adgully will be featuring a series of brief interactions with industry leaders in India and find out how they are keeping their spirits up as well as keeping their employees motivated, also how they are joining in the fight against the adverse impact of the global pandemic. 

Dilip Cherian, co-founder of Perfect Relations, stresses on businesses, the government and the society coming forward to take care of the more vulnerable sections of the country and keeping them safe during the time of the current crisis. 

What steps are you and your organisation taking to help out the society at large or those engaged in the war against Covid-19?
Looking after our frontline Corona warriors is a part of fighting the Virus War. Our policemen are in this battle shoulder to shoulder with health workers and other services personnel. We are maintaining our collective sanity by doing creative thinking for the well known NGO – Yuva Unstoppable, who are doing amazing work with policemen and their families. Funds raised are completely used for putting together little safety kits for the families of our warriors, to ensure that we help protect the lives and families of these more vulnerable citizens. 

How are you keeping your employees motivated and are encouraging them to give their best, even as they are working from home?
This kind of creative thinking and working for a noble cause is uplifting for team spirit. We are also using this time to give our most enthusiastic colleagues a chance to expand and exercise new skills in graphics and data analytics. We are also sharpening our social media skills as we all want to emerge from this smarter and better. 

What is most needed in challenging times such as these:
(a) What’s needed from the general public at this point of time are really just two things – to be safety conscious, and to stay as far away from possible flash points and danger points because there is no doubt that this virus is going to be around us for some time now. Any opening up of the lockdown is not going to be the end of safety and the more precaution the general public takes, the more successful and complete will its conquest be. Secondly, falling prey to fake news is a big danger at this point of time. People are cut off from their everyday relationships and their everyday connections, and so they are reliant on what comes to them through their digital devices. A lot of rubbish is floating around, and one needs to understand that only trusted sources need to be relied on. Moreover, if you find something suspicious, you must ensure that you do not pass it on to others. Much of what is floating around is totally suspect and, therefore, lends to fear mongering and anxieties at a time when stress levels need to be maintained really low. 

(b) As a PR person, what I expect from authorities is to start with a level of openness and a level of sharing with the public, facts, figures and trends. This is the best antidote for the volume of fake news that is bound to profligate. The second is care and concern for those who are finding it difficult to survive during this period, not just for now but in future as well, which is increasingly uncertain for a lot of them. This is not going to be an easy task, but authorities, especially the government, have to ensure that they understand how to reach these people, what to provide them and how to ensure that there are no leakages in the system and nobody is profiteering during these times. The third is obviously providing a strong leadership. People need the confidence that the leaders whom they have voted to the power are in-charge and are working towards finding solutions, as well as supporting those who are at the frontlines. The combination of these 3 factors will make for decisive leadership, the kind that the nation needs at this time of crisis. 

(c) Business leaders need to first recognise that their employees are their first cause for concern. They should make sure that they are reassured and stay connected with them. Work from home has thrown up new opportunities and new challenges, which the best employees will be seen taking advantage of. This is something that needs to be encouraged and probably could be a model for the future. The second thing that business leaders need to do is show their empathy with the public around them, around their factories, around their work places, around the places that their employees live and most importantly, to focus on people who need it the most. We, at Perfect Relations, have chosen one target group, but there are hundreds of target groups that need your attention. The other thing that the business leaders have to recognise is that this is the point in time when businesses have been forced to change, some of these changes are going to be pretty much permanent, how can you take advantage of that and how can you ensure that your team knows that they have the training and the competence they need to ensure that they can play a role in the new state of play that business is entering into. That will be very important.

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