Sam Halford: An Effective Leader firmly Combating The Crisis

Sam Halford

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The unprecedented crisis of COVID-19 has challenged the traditional norms of businesses. As the traditional methodologies are altering amid crisis, this also demands a transformed mentorship by the leaders. Managing the teams remotely while also continually providing uninterrupted top-notch service to the clients will be a challenge for the entrepreneurs. “A leader should always have his eyes set on the horizon, developing new techniques and strategies for the organization,” says Sam Halford, theManaging Director of Equiniti (EQ) India. He has earned a degree in Computers and has an interest in the tech industry. However, he had a choice to make between a role in technology or moving into social work. Sam learned that he was inspired towards leading people and encouraging them, thus he chose to leverage his tech knowledge and mentor people.

Sam’s perspective on leadership is different than the others. He believes that leadership does not relate to management. Management is all about organizing whereas leadership is about invention and innovation and it is about leading people. He affirms that a good leader should possess immense knowledge of all the current trends, advancements, and skillsets. Besides, also a leader should have clarity of purpose and vision for his people and his organizations. Being influenced by these qualities, Sam has molded himself accordingly to be a better mentor for the aspiring.

In times like these, changes are inevitable and a good leader needs to be a good learner to steer the company through the challenges. With the same determination, Sam has led the team at EQ India from the front and is striving to be an effective leader.

Intelligent Provider of Sophisticated Technology

EQ India is the offshore arm of the Equiniti Group. The EQ India team is adept at delivering many successful off-shore projects. The company operates during both the UK and India hours enabling seamless interaction between stakeholders in the UK and India. This team provides BPO, IT development, and testing in addition to other operational support such as Finance Shared Services, People Services, Marketing, HR, and learning & development to various EQ Group companies and clients. The EQ India team manages several activities across various services, completing numerous transactions yearly. EQ India is a Centre of Excellence and it showcases integrity and openness in the dealings with its clients.

A key element of culture and business practices of the EQ India is that it incorporates similar DNA and values of the Equiniti Group. EQ India provides sophisticated administration, processing, and payment services, as well as smart technology solutions, for increasingly complex and regulated markets. Structured and robust transition plans are designed every time a new project is offshored to the business. During the implementation of the project plan, a road map is adopted to complete the transition and track every milestone achieved. Once the initial transition is complete the team in India works in partnership with the UK team to ensure the best customer service is maintained. The transition of any new work is formally documented. Delivering these services enables its clients to focus on important tasks.

People Build Businesses

Sam believes that business is built around people, and understands that EQ India’s reputation is built on how it treats people and customers. Thus, EQ India practices a culture of driving positive change, celebrating each moment, and empowering all its colleagues. Besides, the company is an intentionally diverse and naturally inclusive workspace that respects, loves, and celebrates people of all kinds. The company encourages an open and flexible team atmosphere and promotes innovation and continuous improvement. Sam quotes, “I keep telling the mantra on any forum I go and whenever I meet my staff—Transform, Innovate, Collaborate but never Stagnate!”

Compassion and empathy are the core values of EQ India, further enhancing the morale and loyalty of its employees making them feel important and valued. In order to motivate and recognize talents, EQ India has always stood out with a gamut of awards and accolades given every quarter that inspires employees to go that extra mile and a reason to achieve more.

EQ has also incorporated a healthy work environment considering the work-life balance as an important aspect. Sam asserts that the employees are not expected to work for long hours rather work more efficiently. Furthermore, the company provides a mandatory vacation of 10 working days a year which is popular among the team members. The saying, ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ was rightly understood by the company providing an opportunity for the colleagues to exhibit and hone their extracurricular skills via clubs and Communities of Interest.

Optimistic Outlook on Crisis

Sam claims that almost every corporation has been impacted by the current pandemic and his company is no exception. One of the long-term effects of the pandemic is that offices will have to follow social distances without sufficient space for all staff members to be physically present as they have to maintain social interactions. He recognizes that maintaining a perfect symmetry between professional and personal life with more people working remotely is going to demand a little more effort.

Furthermore, Sam has an optimistic outlook on the current situation. In his opinion, the lockdown has successfully managed to teach flexibility & responsiveness to the unknown, uncertain, and unfamiliar aspects of all the teams in the organization. Besides, the pandemic has also tested flexibility related to mental, physical, financial aspects of the organization. Favorably, EQ has been responsive to adapt to this “New Normal”. In response to the impact on EQ Sam states, “Pandemic has defined that EQ is not only stronger but a flexible organization, which can change rapidly. It is also proved that EQ cannot only survive but also grow exponentially.”

The pandemic is bound to have a positive or negative impact depending on the way leaders are operating the businesses. Highlighting the positive side of the pandemic, Sam said that this situation has challenged the all-time approach of working from the office and proved that WFH is much productive during the hour of crisis. On the other hand, the staff also delivered a far better result than anticipated during the earlier stages of lockdown.

Measures to Overcome Pandemic impact

Despite the optimistic approach, overcoming the impact of the pandemic is a hard task. However, Sam and his team are dedicating sheer efforts to minimize the impact. Primarily, EQ India has created a Core committee comprising of the leadership team, managers, and employees, seeking to meet each other regularly to address any issues or concerns and to maintain effective interaction amongst the members.

Besides, the COVID19 crisis has managed to alter the traditional working style and introduced a New Modus of Operandi that has been defined as part of “New Normal Working Ways”. Following this measure, the employees are working in different scenarios such as Work from Home, Work from Office, and Flexi working. Sam understood that keeping employees motivated by providing laptops/desktops besides infrastructure, additional display monitors, internet & phone connections, printers & chairs was indispensable. Whilst also keeping social distance in mind, EQ is providing customized transport facilities. Additionally, it has also arranged hotel rooms with food to help in emergencies.

“We organized Doctors visit & vaccination camp arranged at very early stages of COVID-19 scenario,” asserts Sam. He considers his team to be of utmost importance and has been helping the same by providing financial assistance on compassionate grounds. In addition to this, EQ India’s award-winning L&D team has introduced a new initiative called “Lockdown Learning”. Due to work from home enabled, employees are saving favorable time on the commute with this new initiative they can utilize the time in learning. Sam further adds “Learning sustenance is key as part of organizational objectives as I always want our resources to be skilled and multiple skilled to face any critical conditions.” L&D’s initiative of online learning has kept the staff engaged and at the same time managed to upskill their knowledge. Compound employee skills helped EQ tremendously to manage all of its customer services with sheer commitment and satisfaction.

Nevertheless, with the business being significantly affected in India and across the globe, there is a strong emphasis on cost controls to be seen in the near future months from now. Due to the work from Home strategy, EQ is also envisaging the need to revisit the office space in the coming months, or any alternatives to cost control of the facility. On the other hand, EQ India is highly concerned about the mental health of its employees, considering the way they spend too much time on four walls now. Despite some training sessions on Mental Health, it is encouraging the staff through regular training and orientation on Mental Health and mindfulness sessions.

Conferring the Pandemic measures

Considering the nature of the virus, EQ India has considered a wide range of scenarios that could emerge and how EQ India would respond. Further below Sam answers the questions concerning their approach towards COVID-19 crisis,

What is your outlook on the impact of pandemic over industries?

The pandemic has positive and negative impacts on the way we operate our business. The current situation has influenced every company and community at large, besides we are no exception to it. It has imposed the “New Normal” to all aspects of one’s life. The lockdown has taught flexibility and responsiveness to the unknown, uncertain, and unfamiliar aspects of all the stakeholders in the organization.

We all are witnessing the impact of COVID19, how do you plan to overcome and sustain this situation?

When a major event happens that poses an existential threat, many of the norms of life change, and there has been a drastic change in the working environment too, so we are currently focusing on placing the right people in the right places. We quickly figured out how to work from home by providing all the essential items like laptops and hotspot devices. As well as, bearing in mind that it is important to create a balance between efficiency and understanding of the human elements or human conflicts which is at sharper focus now.

Has the current situation somehow altered your milestones set for the year 2020?

We are focused on building more reliable services for our clients despite the current situation and also construct a robust and secure environment for our people to work from home. Likewise, we aim to maximize efficiency and productivity by having an effective Business Continuity Plan in place and proceed to grow despite the global environment.

What would you advise the aspiring entrepreneurs?

We are in a time of unprecedented technological growth that clearly shows no signs of slowing down. Cutting-edge technology is seen now in every industry. Hence, we will need to ensure that we take advantage of these new opportunities to improve our business, products, and services. Ensure more time is spent in Training & Development and accept that change and reality are inevitable. If you do not accept change then you won’t succeed. Accept and live with changes within the business and with the individuals in the business.

Click to Read Full Magazine Prominent Entrepreneurs Fighting Pandemic

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