Through Taj for family, IHCL has positively impacted 7,000+ lives across locations India. The program has offered support to marginalized workers of the hospitality.
Giving Back to the community forms the backbone of IHCL’s Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability Framework. This framework is the guiding principle for all programs run by IHCL.
Upholding IHCL’s values of Trust, Awareness, and Joy and in line with the Tata values of unity and integrity, IHCL employees came together to support the larger family of the Hospitality industry through ‘Taj for Family’
The Taj Public Service Welfare Trust (TPSWT) was the driving engine for Taj for Family. The trust was set up in December 2008, in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks. Inspired by the resilience of survivors and the courage of those who came to their aid, the purpose is to reach out to people affected by disasters, both man-made and natural, with support to rebuild their lives. As the nationwide lockdown was announced in March 2020 and Government of India suspended international and domestic flights, many of the State Governments issued advisories for our hotels to shut down operations temporarily and this significantly impacted our business.
Many employees returned to their respective hometowns in remote locations as hotels shut operations. Their hopes kept dwindling with continuous extensions of lockdowns and rapid spread of the Coronavirus.
Taking cognizance of the situation then, the IHCL leadership team initiated a one- time financial sustenance for hospitality workers distressed due to the pandemic. This was critical at a time when distressed workers needed some financial sustenance for the survival. The approach followed to identify and verify genuine beneficiaries and support them appropriately makes Taj for Family truly special.
Identification & Communication to Beneficiaries-
The initiative started with identification of the workers who either had lost their livelihoods or were unable to draw salaries fully or partially. It was important to reach out only to the worst affected section of workers so as to have maximum impact. A task force of 20 employees from IHCL was created, who not only culled out a list of such workers, but managed to reach out to them even in the remotest villages with low to no connectivity. This was not an easy ask but the task force, through their own resources ensured that each identified worker was reached.
To expand reach, an online application form was created and shared with identified hospitality industry personnel to facilitate the application process for these distressed workers. In order to put a method to this selection process, a points system was created to prioritize beneficiaries that were most affected.
The online form consisted of demographic details and 8 questions with multiple choice of options for the beneficiaries to select from. This form was designed very thoughtfully, keeping in mind the workers may not have Laptops/ desktops to work from, and may be using phones to respond. Each question was weightage through a points system. Upon completing the application, each applicant earned a total number of points.
Depending on where they fell on the points table, beneficiaries were compensated.
External Audit for Transparency-
In short span of time and through the use of technology, the task force was able to collect all duly filled forms by the beneficiaries across locations. These forms were collected and further verified for data sanctity of bank accounts and beneficiaries.
In order to ensure complete transparency, an external audit agency was appointed to conduct audits. Clear work scope and reporting timelines were defined for the auditors in order to ensure everything was done in a transparent and timely manner to ensure effective and accurate disbursement of funds. This was a proud moment for IHCL when its employees willfully decided to support the partner employees of the same industry in distress. This initiative which is a first of its kind by IHCL could positively impact more than ~ 7000 families who could endure the pandemic due to help extended by IHCL and TPSWT family.
The efforts put in to support the distressed workers in the hospitality yielded positive impact as ~ 7000 plus applications, across ~ 80 plus hotels. The total outflow for TPSWT to support this cause was ~ Rupees 142.5 million as per the pre selection eligibility criteria for the one-time financial sustenance.
Mr. Ayan Ray
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Ayan Ray's employer did not pay salaries to its employees from March 2020 to September 2020. They were relying on their savings. In September 2020, Ray was asked to fill a form. His employer told him that IHCL and the Taj Public Service Welfare Trust were taking steps to provide some relief. Ayan received an amount of Rs 15,000 against his monthly salary of Rs. 22,000 in October 2020. He shared, "It came well in time for our Durga Puja celebrations."
Mr. Chandrasekhar Tailor
Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
During the first three months of the lockdown, Chandrasekhar had no income. He worked in his father's small shop in Jodhpur. These months were very uncertain as there was no tourist activity in the city. Chandrasekhar was worried about how the hotel will manage to pay for maintenance, leave alone salaries to staff. In October 2020, a member of the hotel HR team asked him to fill up a form from the Trust. He received a sum of Rs. 21,000 in November. It was completely unexpected. He was delighted to know that people in the head office were thinking of contract workers also.
Mr Manoj Karki
New Delhi, India
Manoj Karki had some savings to depend on when lockdown happened in March 2020 and salaries had stopped being paid. He was aware of the fact that the top-level employees in IHCL have taken a big salary cut. According to him, this indicated that we all are together in this. Karki felt happy to receive a sum of Rs. 24,000 from the company just before Diwali 2020 and that people in the company acknowledged that they were badly impacted and sought to help them.
Mr. Uday Makwana
Vadodara , Gujarat, India
After enjoying a regular salary of Rs 15,000 per month, Makwana faced difficult times with no income during the lockdown months. He resorted to borrowing from friends to take care of his family. As a driver, there were no options before him as there was no movement of people on roads. "I could not get a day job driving an auto-rickshaw because they all went off the roads." Still, he did not lose faith in the organisation as he was familiar with the good doings of the Tata group. In October 2020, Makwana's faith paid off when he received a sum of Rs 15,000 from the Trust.
Ms. Shraddha Sawant
As the pandemic descended, Shraddha found herself without a job and no salary to look forward to. Her family of three were sceptical about the situation not knowing when Shraddha would go back to her job. Before Diwali 2020, to her total surprise, Shraddha received a sum of Rs. 21,000 in her bank account from the Trust. “I felt so happy and the money was of great help to my family," she says.
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