A conversation between a Lumière fresher (Lumière Lite) and the Lumière HR Desk (HRD);
Lumière Lite is wondering: why do I need to come to office (Nerul) every Monday? I can use my time so much better working from home. Such a waste of time and energy traveling all the way…
HRD: Welcome aboard, Lumière Lite… you will be set alight to bring about your multiplier…
Lumière Lite: ‘Set alight’? How do you mean?
HRD: You need the spark, the fuel and your light multiplier…
Lumière Lite: All Greek and Latin. Enlighten me…
HRD: You are going to work from home. Work with a distant team, right?
Lumière Lite: Yes, but I am supposed to come to Nerul as often as I can make it. Mondays are supposed to be a non-negotiable. What is so special about Mondays?
HRD: Aah, you said it! Mondays are Learning Mondays. That’s what makes them special.
Lumière Lite: Tell me more…
HRD: Mondays are “no fieldwork days” for the Mumbai team so they can come to the office to learn and share. The workday in office begins at 10:30 am with a formal session by external faculty, core team members or associates. You bond over lunch with other teams across research, field and back office. You carry on working in afternoon with your teams, where you work on your project, discuss and access past learning from other projects where similar challenges were studied. You can sort out any differences and clarify matters if you sense any undercurrents. These sessions are invaluable to carry forward the Lumière Way… the way we work…
Lumière Lite: Hmm…Why Mumbai team alone? What happens to folks outside Mumbai?
HRD: Good question. As you know, presently over 90% of our clients are in Mumbai. 90% of the leadership sits in Mumbai. All support, back office, admin, accounts, IT are in Mumbai. Getting a face to a name makes is easier when you are working from home. Face to face interactions that are planned are the sticky glue that makes this virtual organization tick. Your learning is accelerated. Remember you want to be taken seriously by your client who expects you to be consultant and researcher. You are learning a completely new area of work no matter how senior you have been in your past organization. You must absorb learning via all formal and informal, direct and indirect, structured and unstructured opportunities. You must gain fluency with the language and lexicon of research. You must seek opportunities to attend “class” to acquaint yourself with research best practices proactively.
Lumière Lite: Yeah… makes sense…
HRD: Most client relationships are on-going. When a new relationship begins, it is important to have a deep understanding of the project. Every project is a learning opportunity. We assess what we did well and where we could have done better. Mondays are a day to work alongside your teams in a physical space.
Most projects are discussed face to face here and projects are presented here. Clients know us as a Learning Organization. They also know we are a virtual organization. Our teams have the latitude to work flexibly from home. But there is a compensating principle to that.
Lumière Lite: [Puzzled look] What do you mean by “compensating principle?”
HRD: [Ignoring the interruption] That we will kick-off projects, attend offsite meetings on Tuesdays, instead of Mondays.
Our talent pool is made up of people who work from the hub in Nerul and made up of teams who work in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Kolkata, Kochi. We do ensure that we are able to service our clients on Mondays with the help of our distant team members in the best possible manner.
Lumière Lite: But in our kind of business, the client is always in a hurry! How do we manage clients in such cases?
HRD: As I told you earlier, most of our relationship clients are aware that we are a virtual organization. Hence, the need for us to get together and spend some time ‘learning’ is going to benefit them only in the long run. Some of our clients, in fact, have shown their appreciation for such activities and have also volunteered or have been part of such sessions. In fact, once we share this concept with our clients, they themselves will take cognizance and plan around the same.
Having said that, we also deeply value our partnership with our clients and sometimes take a deviation if it impacts their business decisions significantly. However, in such cases, we need to take clearance approvals from the Deviation Desk and validate it with facts. The final decision is based basis the Deviation Desk’s recommendation and the same is then communicated to the client.
Lumière Lite: Aah, this is much clearer and now I can see where you are coming from! But tell me, you mentioned something about carrying forward the Lumière Way, how does that happen in a couple of hours?
HRD: These few hours actually help you in engaging with different sets of people every week. Sometimes, it might be the project team with which you are associated with or with the support team (HR, Admin, IT, Fincon, LDS) in others. It gives you an opportunity to understand your colleagues better and gives them an opportunity as well to know you and your challenges. These interactions help us in being better and more empathetic team players. It’s the sticky glue which keeps us together as a team and as an organization, and hence any such opportunity should never ever be missed!
In fact, all distant team members, who have worked from Mumbai earlier, always miss not being able to be a “live” part of the sessions, missing the passion and positive energy generated.
Lumière Lite: Ok, I understand it now and will ensure that I do not miss any of these ‘Learning Mondays’ as it will help me become a better researcher and augment my professional skills. It also helps build personal and social competency and become well rounded. Thanks so much for helping me understand the impact Learning Mondays have on us.
HRD: (Smiling but firm) It is imperative that you make the face time and learning commitment on Monday. If no session is planned we can schedule a screening of an earlier session. This archived wealth of digital information and knowledge is available for your learning and immersion. Meeting team members, sharing a meal, chatting and joking is necessary oiling for the wheels of our virtual project working.
Lumière Lite: (Beaming) Thanks. I really know why it is so important for us to come to office on Monday. I want to accelerate my learning and am going to request a “repeat telecast” of the Learning Monday sessions I missed. No less than attending a TED talk!