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A virtual convergence of alumni members

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Posted by  Namrata Tayade
Posting date:4/15/2021 3:51 AM
Let’s connect, our first alumni meet received overwhelming participation and tremendous positive response from our alumni network, which has over 900 active members on LinkedIn. Hosted virtually in March 2021, exactly two years after setting up the India Alumni group on LinkedIn, the event was a first-of-its-kind in the engineering sector offering ample opportunities for members to learn about the various new initiatives within the company as well as gain a holistic and immersive networking experience with the members of our leadership community in India.

Attended by Bharat Gala, Senior Vice President, India, Somnath Bhagavatula, HR Director India and APAC, Geetha Ramamoorthi, Vice President, Digital India Operations and Dr Chaitanya Calla, Director Infrastructure & Head, Disciplines India, the event also had a panel discussion and a live Q&As co-moderated by Jayanti Chhetri,  Communications Manager and Purushotham Kanakraj, Head of Recruitment, APAC.


Continue reading for a detailed overview of the session.
Q: Our organization is undergoing a business transformation. Can you take us through what this business transformation means for us and where are we headed? 

Bharat:
Good afternoon everyone, rather I should say, good day, because we don’t know from which part of the world you are dialing in. Thank you for joining us today. This is our first session and I am very appreciative that you’ve taken the time to join us. Given that your interest in Atkins and SNC-Lavalin was always there and will be there, and you are very proud of what we’ve done over the years. 
Before we start, I wanted to make sure that we get to understand what is on your mind. The intent is to build a network to socialize, share ideas and views, and hopefully, we may crossroads at some point. 

The key change during the last few years for us, primarily, is moving away from the conventional approach. We have a design center in India, and what we want is to move away from a labor-type mindset to more of a value proposition type for our clients and regional partners.
Our focus has now shifted beyond the UK, the Middle East and the APAC.  We’ve got a lot of marquee clients in the United States and a good bit of traction is now going into Canada. Our growth areas are now clearly demanding more people who have multilingual experience, as an example, people with French proficiency. 

For us, the next step in the journey is focused on how we bring more value using digital, harnessing data and technology, and putting more emphasis on automation, analytics, predictive analysis, and artificial intelligence. We want to stay ahead in the game by bringing this technology to the forefront of the people who then help us deliver to the clients.

Step two is about the people. As a company, we have given a lot of emphasis on our people over the last few years. I think the intent for us, as Atkin and SNC-Lavalin, is to how do we embrace the value that people bring to the table. An example to quote here is how COVID-19 has presented us with many opportunities that are transforming the way we think about work and how we work in the future as well as greater flexibility and an improved work environment.

Q: Could you share more on how we managed COVID-19, especially our experience during the lockdown and how as a team we adapted to the new working norms?

Somnath: 
COVID-19 has taught us a lot of things, some of them might be challenging but some have been really liberating. Flexible working has taken a completely different level with remote working becoming more accessible. The great thing about Atkins and SNC-Lavalin is that we have experimented and embraced this in all shapes and formats.  

A lot of our businesses have completely transformed their operating models during the last 12 months. Some people call it a threat, we’ve taken it as an opportunity, head along and we’ve kind of tried different things. For us, the idea is to align our existing skills with the skills that you bring to the table and eventually, the organization. Our business managers and the leadership team are very open to having conversations around flexible working. 

COVID-19 has also intensified our aspirations to significantly grow. We are talking to our partners in the regions and their enthusiasm is taking different and new interest levels on offshoring. 

If you’ve left us around 2010-2015, I would like you to know that we have IT, HR and Finance Shared Services,  with over 450 people. 
To sum it, COVID has been the propeller for future growth as we see opportunities across the spectrum, from design and engineering to digital and shared functions. 

Q: How has COVID-19 changed our approach to project delivery? What are some of our learnings? 

Chaitanya: 
I think it’s been a transformational year for all industries. We have always taken pride in doing what we do. Our sites are located across the world, and we have been in the offshoring space for a while. With COVID-19 and remote working,  I think we took it to the next level. As Som stated, COVID-19 has opened up new avenues for us. It has given us new possibilities to be agile, collaborate more and deliver quality solutions.  

Technology has come into use so much that everything has gone paperless, which is good for the environment as well. We have developed our tools and technology, including online review, file sharing and tracking. All these have significantly contributed to the quality and efficiency of our work. I am delighted to share that we’ve achieved all our targets for last year, despite the challenges that COVID-19 posed for us, and we learned a lot of new things about people, quality, delivery, technology as we went through the journey. 

Q:  Geetha, could share more insights on our digital transformation, especially in context to COVID-19?  

Geetha:
I have been with the Global Design Centre, which is now Global Technology Centre for about 14 years, so I can say that I have seen the first-hand transformation.
We started as a resource centre, then moved to becoming a delivery centre,  thereafter transformed as a capability centre, delivering large programs, building centres of excellence, both in the engineering service space and shared services. In the last 3- 4 years, we've made huge strides in building our capabilities around digital and technology in India.

We've been seen the positive impact of this in our industry. And now the question is how can we harness data and technology into everything we do so that we can add more value to our clients as well as improve the quality of our services.
We've been able to cross-skill across multiple areas. One of the things that happened as part of this development is, our people are now able to collaborate widely.  
So, there is a seamless collaboration happening and a cross-pollination of skills and thought leadership that's percolating down. 
I see this would improve even more as we are also looking at creating collaborative spaces in the virtual environment where our people will be able to collaborate, exchange ideas and contribute significantly. This is an exciting time for us here in the GTC.

Q: Som, what are some of the people-centric policies that we have implemented in the last few months?

Somnath:
If you have been with the company long enough, you would know that we have been in a constant evolving phase. We have done some trend-setting things every few years, and more recently during the COVID-19 lockdown, we achieved some great milestones by implementing people-focused measures and responding to our colleagues during the crisis. 

We held regular focus group discussions to know the pulse of the team. For example, one of the concerns that came out was about the availability of doctors during COVID-19. So, in light of this, we introduced something that we've been really proud of – A Telemedicine Initiative. People could reach out virtually to the doctors and this proved to be successful. 

I think our ability to respond as an organization on flexible working has been great! Avatar, which is one of the leading surveys in India for its benchmarking around ED&I and the diversity initiatives, has declared us amongst the 100 best companies for working mothers in India.

We are listening and trying to understand what our colleagues want, so as to create an ecosystem that is most favorable to all. We are constantly learning, evolving, keeping our ears to the ground because it's very important. Whatever we create is completely aligned with what our people are looking for. 

Click here to explore exciting opportunities for yourself at Atkins and SNC-Lavalin in India.

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