Urban Company: Mission Shakti

6 min read 

Mission Shakti is an initiative by Urban Company to protect the health, safety and well-being of its customers, service partners & employees.

 

“Tough times are inevitable in life and in business. How we compose ourselves during these times defines our spirit and also defines our future” – Richard Branson

The onset of summer

In the first week of March, the excitement levels in the office were at their peak. The onset of summer is the busiest time of the year for us and, just like the previous four years, we had set our eyes on doubling the business between February and April. Everyone at the company had been preparing for this period since September 2019.

The COVID-19 crisis hit us just as we had pushed off from the starting blocks for the big summer season of 2020. Our first reaction was to protect our customers, partners and employees. We immediately provided free masks and sanitizers to our service partners, instituted hygiene protocols, such as hand-washing, purchased health & income insurance for all 27,000+ of them and moved all our 1,300 team members to work from home. Over the next two weeks, the situation rapidly escalated nationwide, leading to a complete lockdown that we are in today.

The call of duty

Learning about the nature of the disease and its impact across the world, it became quickly clear that the COVID-19 epidemic is going to significantly impact all our lives for the next 18 months, if not more. Hence, we started to think more strategically about the world post lockdowns. How should Urban Company protect the health, safety and well-being of its customers, service partners and employees in the months ahead?

Listening to our call of duty, we decided to channelize all our energy and resources towards a company-wide initiative — Mission Shakti.

What is Mission Shakti?

“Inches of performance are worth more than miles of promises” – Unknown

The goal of Mission Shakti is to safeguard our employees and service partners, and provide to the country a safe platform for their service needs.

There are three key pillars of Mission Shakti aimed towards each of these goals –

1. Project Kavach is focused on making our services safe.

As we slowly come out of the lockdown, most of us and our families will be in need of a haircut and other common services such as a beautician, electrician or an AC technician. In a world where it will be unsafe to step out into a market or call strangers home, we are working on multiple initiatives to make UC services as safe as possible. These include –

  1. Daily temperature checks and health monitoring of our service partners.
  2. Providing masks, gloves, eye goggles and sanitizers to our service partners.
  3. Sanitizing tools and using single-use sachets and disposables. Contactless service experience in categories like repairs, cleaning etc.
  4. Health and safety training for all service professionals in WHO-prescribed hygiene standards.
  5. Suraksha holidays (paid sick leave program) for all our service partners in case they have even the slightest of symptoms like a common cold.

Additionally, we will be launching new categories like sanitation and disinfection.

A detailed blog on our efforts in Project Kavach is here.

2. Project Vishwas is focused on supporting our service partners.

There are 27,000+ service partners who depend on the UC platform for their livelihood. To help them in the current environment, the company instituted several measures.

  1. Interest-free business advances: We approved interest-free business advances of INR 5,000 each for 22,000 service partners, amounting to a total corpus of INR 11 Cr. We have already given advances worth INR 8.5 Cr. till date, and plan to disburse more in the time to come. These are 0% interest business advances with a delayed moratorium period.
  2. COVID-19 health insurance and income protection: We also offered all our partners a free COVID-19 specific health insurance and income protection plan, in addition to our existing life, accidental and health insurance plans.
  3. Relief fund with Srinidhi Foundation: We also setup a relief fund with Srinidhi foundation to support service partners who are most impacted medically and/or financially. So far, we have collected nearly INR 1.5 Cr. in the fund from contributions by Founders, Employees, Investors and other well-wishers.
  4. Re-imbursements of pre-paid credits with us worth INR 2 Cr.

A detailed blog on our efforts in Project Vishwas is here.

3. Project Josh is focused on the safety, health and well-being of our internal teams.

In these unprecedented and ambiguous times, we’re doing our best to keep the UC team well-connected and energized. Our measures are focussed on 4 key areas –

  1. People care: We are doing regular town halls and open houses on Zoom to keep a strong transparent line of communication with our folks spread across 21 cities and 4 countries. Additionally, we have launched a #CountOnMe program to help our team members stay motivated and share their anxieties with.
  2. Urban Academy: We’re using the down-time to drive strong internal learning & development. We have relied on internal experts on a multitude of topics, from Excel Skills (Basic, Intermediate, Expert), SQL, Leadership 101, Problem Solving, to how to give feedback and many others.
  3. Josh Talks: These are weekly talks held for 2 hours where we host key leaders from across the industry, who take out time to speak to our team on a multitude of topics.
  4. People safety: As we look to open up our office post lockdowns, we have instituted new SOPs around office hygiene, social distancing and safety measures to ensure our team members are protected

Interestingly, in a recent pulse check survey conducted in early April, our team NPS was at 55 — an all-time high in the history of Urban Company

A detailed blog on our efforts in Project Josh is here.

The human race has always risen to the occasion in times of crises — both in helping the disadvantaged among us and in evolving our capabilities for the future post the crisis. This time will be no different — we are seeing unprecedented commitment from governments, the medical fraternity, civil society, corporations and researchers all around us.

Whenever we come out of the lockdown and are slowly ready to resume our lives, Urban Company will be there to serve your needs in your home while ensuring safety and high-quality service delivery.

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