INTERVIEW : We spoke to Nikhil Arora, VP & MD, GoDaddy India. A driven corporate executive who believes in being missionary first before being a mercenary, Nikhil Arora is always looking for avenues where he can make an impact. Nikhil is currently responsible for leading GoDaddy’s India business, constantly working towards identifying new growth strategies for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the country.
As India is reeling to fight the staggering second wave of the virus, how has GoDaddy managed its operations amidst COVID19?
#Supporting India customers and employees
At GoDaddy, there’s nothing more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers and employees. Our people are our priority, and that has been our guiding principle as we’ve worked through how to manage the rapidly changing environment that comes with COVID-19.
We’ve taken a number of steps to help ensure their safety today and into the future. From eliminating all travel to creating the ability to have all our India employees work from home, we’re working diligently to keep our team safe.
With all our employees working from home now, we use a variety of online collaboration tools and platforms to stay connected with our employees here in India, and around the world. This has made it easier and more convenient for our teams to support our customers from their respective home locations. We use the Zoom video conference call platform to stay connected with our customers and with each other. In addition to this, our managers work closely with their teams to help ensure they have the tools and resources needed to support our customers during this challenging time.
GoDaddy Guides continue to answer phones and chat with customers from home, with support services continuing to be available 24/7, offering assistance our customers may need to create and manage their online business. We are also offering support through a variety of initiatives, designed to help our customers keep their online businesses open.
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What are the major changes witnessed during this period? How has work life balance changed for you and your people?
Maintaining a balanced, #healthyremote working culture
Restricted access to the workplace has been one of the biggest changes we all have had to experience as a result of the ongoing global pandemic. Remote working, especially right now, has taken a toll on many employees mental health, often leaving them unmotivated and distressed. It has also been a challenge for leaders to keep their teams productive, efficient, and engaged during such difficult times.
At GoDaddy, we truly believe our success is driven by the passion and potential of our talent, so we work hard at enabling them, training them and supporting them, while at the same time, letting them be, so they can do their best work. We’re also big on celebrating successes, so we ensure that all the hard work and impact created by our people is recognized and rewarded. Amidst all this, I always encourage the team to make sure they’re living a rich, healthy, involved life away from work.
Over the past few years, we’ve had many initiatives where the team has worked together for social causes, taken up fitness goals and run marathons, all in an endeavor to help them maintain a healthy work life balance.
For instance, last year, during the lockdown, we started a fun at-home fitness challenge on Instagram, nominating friends/family members/colleagues to post a picture of any physical activity they feel comfortable doing at home. A general guideline to follow was to not push themselves beyond 60% of their intensity, as the purpose is to keep it light, fun and focus on building stronger immunity.
How to Reward & Recognize employees while they work from home?
Certainly, motivation is a key driver to effective employee performance. And, organizations achieve this through rewards and recognition of outperforming employees.
However, in the wake of the pandemic, HR managers across companies and geographies are confronted with the question of how to effectively reward and recognise their employees while they work from home.
How has your personal leadership style transitioned during the past year? What skills are the most in demand for leaders in 2021 and beyond?
Rise of #robust leaders of tomorrow
This second wave of COVID-19 has intensified the challenges and increased the responsibility of a leader to build a stronger employee experience by financially and emotionally supporting their workforce.
I personally believe, being empathetic towards employees, introducing employee-friendly policies, and adapting to new models of business operations – have appeared to be important factors for 2021 leaders to consider which are likely to continue in the future as well.
Besides this, leaders need to learn the skills of being agile with the ability to operate in constraints and collaborate with multiple stakeholders, be it the government, competitors, to other interested stakeholders to help overcome these challenges and continue to serve their customers and communities. Equally important, they need to learn how to make discovery-led decisions based on the scant data available to them today and have a purpose driven approach in order to think of ways to give back to the society.
My biggest learning during the past year, which has impacted my leadership style as well, has been that it is extremely important for us all to focus on holistic wellness at our workplace. Our fitness or self-improvement goals are often pushed to the personal corner of a strict work-life divide. Within my team in India, I have been systematically trying to create a more embedded culture of wellness by making employee well-being a key focus of my overall business strategy
What does the future of work look like to you?
Redefining the ways of working in today’s #new-normal
The rapidly spreading coronavirus situation has prompted businesses to encourage remote working for employees, heralding a new era in the future of work. Large corporations and small businesses alike worked hard to be nimble enough to adapt to ‘working from home’, during the early days of the pandemic last year.
Remote working affords business leaders an opportunity to reshape and reassess how they can better invest in their employees. I feel that this work-from-home model will stay even during the recovery phase, as it has the potential to benefit both employers and employees in the long run. For employees, benefits include saving on commute time and more flexibility when it comes to work-life balance. For employers, the pluses are establishment of cost-saving and enhanced productivity.
Videoconferencing is reshaping not only workspaces but also how people choose where to live, as living near work becomes less critical. Additionally, the differences between local employees and part-time contractors are narrowing as all are working remotely, diminishing some of the perceived disadvantages of using contract labor, and the ability to “borrow” talent from other industries and sectors and seamlessly integrate them is emerging as a critical capability.
As a leader of an organization that has grown consistently since its foray into the Indian market, please share how you plan to create more value for your customers and employees in the future?
Fall in love with the customers’ problems and focus on delivering a #WOW experience
With Indian businesses impacted so quickly due to the ongoing pandemic lockdowns, many worked to pivot online to stay connected with consumers, as their physical stores continue to remain shut. As a company dedicated to serving and empowering everyday entrepreneurs, we stand committed to helping our customers get online and grow their business by providing an integrated suite of easy-to-use, affordable online tools and solutions, along with expert customer care support.
By creating increased awareness about the significance of building a business website through our multi-lingual marketing campaigns, as well as by providing digital training and skilling programs, I believe, we can continue to create value for our customers and employees spread across the country.