Chetan Garga, MD, Allstate Solutions Private Limited (ASPL) talks about what leadership means during these challenging times.
The Covid-19 pandemic had brought an unprecedented challenge to the world. Many businesses and livelihoods were affected. However, some organisations worked through these difficulties to ensure proper business, and more importantly, the wellbeing of their employees. Chetan Garga, MD, Allstate India – the Indian arm of the insurance company based in North America embodies such efforts.
Q.1 What Made You Join Allstate After It Started In 2012? Did You Have Any Plans For The Company While You Were Joining?
A: I was one of the first few recruits here. Allstate is a Fortune 500 company and has thrived for 90 years by adopting to better serve customers in the United States and Canada. Frankly, when I was approached, I had not heard of Allstate’s presence in India. Today, we’ve built a great place to work backed by long-term industry-academia initiatives and focused employer branding programs right from NASSCOM council chair engagement to IIMB partnership for nurturing leadership talent. So much so that we’ve received multiple awards in this area like the Kincentric Best Employer 2020, the Great Place to Work – India’s Best Leaders In Times Of Crisis 2021 – Large Employers and the Economic Times Best Workplaces for Women in India award, and most recently, we were recognized and nominated for NASSCOM’s Excelling in the Crisis award.
Q2. Challenges That You Faced And Dealt With While Shaping The Company?
A: Allstate India came into being at a crucial time when a large part of the workforce in the US was highly tenured and close to retiring, and the vendor staff in India had limited knowledge and process documentation on hand. One of the initial priorities was to establish a trusting relationship and credibility with our US stakeholders. Naturally, the challenges that came with such a situation were complex. Like:
- Talent acquisition as well as building a strong brand Knowing the business effectively: bringing Indian staff up the learning curve of how things work in the US insurance world.
- Blending of technology into operations Building a framework for all of the operations from the ground up.
- Quest for bringing the Allstate brand to be recognized more broadly in India, this took a lot of effort and consistent focus.
- Aligning processes here to compare with the work output despite the time-zone difference between India and the US.
- Matching up to some of India’s leading IT service providers having exposure to business processes.
Q3. What Makes The Products And Services From Allstate India Stand Out?
A: Being one of the largest insurance providers in the US means Allstate Corporation offers a multitude of products. Along with classic insurance offerings such as home, auto, and liability insurance, our scope has widened now with our new products in digital safety and protection services. What this means to Allstate India is that we have accumulated a vast knowledge base and talent pool that caters to this wide array of services and products. As a Global Capability Center (GCC), we have the opportunity to think differently, outside the box, and provide new perspectives and optimize what we do both in India and the US.
Q4. How did you manage the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: Our ‘People First’ philosophy has been the backbone of our pandemic-working success. Our fortitude and resilience are rightly recognized by Great Place To Work and NASSCOM over a special mention in the ‘Excelling In The Crisis’ GCC awards category. As soon as the pandemic and the lockdown were upon us, Allstate India set up a dedicated central team (Critical Incident and Response Team) to facilitate a seamless work-from-home transition and address employees’ questions. We created a monetary fund to help employees cover medical costs beyond what their insurances paid for. In addition to which we increased medical insurance cover for those who needed it.
Q5. As a company awarded for being a great place for employment, how do you approach working with your employees?
A: At Allstate India, the leadership team is always encouraged to put People before Policies. Transparency and communication have always been vital. We strive to keep our employees engaged, informed, and involved. Today, we have close to 100,000 social media connections with a high degree of relatability and emphasis on clarity and transparency both within and outside the company. There are specific programs for continuous learning and upskilling, including a mainstream focus on building Technology Quotient across the entire organization. We are also focused on truly having an inclusive culture, where each member feels valued and a part of the company culture.