Anubha R. Gupta, HPCL 

The world today is living the reality that we had not even imagined. Impact of COVID-19 on our daily lives including economic activity and mental health has left us disoriented and emotionally overwhelmed. Our lifestyles, social interaction patterns, work arrangements etc. have undergone substantial change at an individual level. Similarly, at a much broader level, the complete socioeconomic fabric has undergone a massive shift.

In these uncertain and challenging times, taking care of one’s mental health has also taken a front seat. To remain healthy, it is important to have someone with whom we can share our feelings and anxieties without any fear of being judged. As David DeNotaris, an acclaimed author mentioned, I believe that when things are a mess, we need others to know what we are thinking, feeling, or doing. We must share our feelings with people who will not reprimand us for our thoughts. We need to share these feelings with someone who will encourage us to move forward.”

Project Humrahee: Genesis

Keeping this in mind, a need was felt to provide HPCL employees a platform where they could openly express and be listened to in an empathetic manner. A virtual platform HumRahee’ meaning co-traveler was conceptualized for all employees to interact and gain insights from one another in a safe environment. Based on the integration of Cognitive-Behavioral Theories (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Theories (ACT), the platform provides a safe space to our employees to express where they feel accepted, connected, and part of a larger community going through similar situations. It also helps employees in maintaining their emotional and mental well-being, which is vital in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Authentic communication, genuine involvement, and, non-judgmental acceptance are the needs of every human being. Expressing ourselves gives us positivity, hope and show a way out if we ever feel stuck in any situation and fail to see light at the end of the tunnel.

HumRahee evolved with very important human virtue of Sharing’. Sharing is an act that equates to caring. During crisis, we get comfort in sharing our fears and receiving calming and objective feedback from others. Also understanding how others successfully overcame a similar challenge gives us a sense of direction and comfort that the situation is indeed surmountable. The very act of verbalizing our feelings tends to reduce their intensity.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

The HumRahee platform enables employees to interact and gain insights from one another in a comfortable environment wherein they can share their concerns, experiences and how they dealt with the current (COVID-19) situation at personal, professional and family levels.

The employees have a choice to be part of a homogenous or heterogeneous group from various options. These groups have an open and semi-structured discussion facilitated by an external expert. Group discussions last for around 2 hours. Each participant is encouraged to share their learning, concerns, fears, insights, experiences in the spirit of providing mutual support and care. Employees share their experiences on how they are dealing with the current situation at personal, professional and family level. This initiative has provided a unique and one-of-its-kind opportunity to employees. Several employees have opted for participation in HumRahee sessions.

HumRahee enables employees to walk together. During the sessions, employees actively engage in open dialogue with their colleagues regarding the next normal. Sharing individual experiences and perspectives not only paves the way forward towards collective understanding, but also reignites creative energy among employees. The goal is to refocus individuals away from trauma and towards a better future for themselves and the business.


Project HumRahee provides a ray of hope to those who are facing certain challenges but are not able to share their feeling with others. It assures people that they are not alone even in these challenging times and, most importantly, what they are feeling is normal. It makes them aware that many others have similar concerns.

All sorts of issues from losing loved ones, anxiety about travelling, being away from loved ones, managing Work from Home, public dealing , seeing stakeholders in distress, general fear of the disease, social isolation etc. came up in the discussions. Individual ways to cope up with the new normal also featured in the discussions.

There is no doubt that this has been a tough situation, but reaching out and supporting each other has been the best way to get through this situation. Perhaps it has allowed everyone to slow down, spend more time with family or learn and do new things.

Feedback received from the participants indicates that the sessions enabled them to see the same challenges from entirely new perspectives. The viewpoints of others in the sessions helped them to explore alternative ways to deal with their concerns. It also made them aware of the kind of difficult times others were going through. Most of the employees were happy to connect and empathize with fellow HPites.

A common realization has also been that all of us need to look after ourselves first in order to be there for other people in their hour of need. Employees were grateful to HPCL for providing them with this opportunity to share their experiences and to learn from those of others.

Testimonials – In a Box: (Optional Content)

  1. Sanjeev Kumar Bhatnagar, General Manager-Operations and Distribution, SOD-HQO:

The design of the programme is excellent. The current times are extraordinary and hence it’s not only internal immunity which takes care of physiological health. Therefore, one needs to enhance mental immunity. Kudos to Team HR, HPCL for the initiative!”

  1. N Damodarn, General Manager Installation-Coimbatore IRD:

Great initiative to organize a meeting mainly for sharing experiences. Very interactive and informative. I was totally comfortable and enjoyed the entire session. It also gave me a chance to virtually meet all my friends after a long time.”

  1. G Ramadoss- Deputy General Manager- Installation, Hassan Terminal:

A very well thought interaction with Location In-charges who had faced the brunt of both operational constraints as well as challenges imposed by Covid-19. This has given us much needed moral support and sense of belongingness. It has also assured us that senior management is concerned about the trials and tribulations being faced by officers at the locations.”

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