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Reshaping Workplace Paradigms

In an evolving world order, how do leaders and organisations create workplaces that are a cut above? We speak to a cross-section of industry leaders to find out

Everywhere we look, the world around us has changed, and this is equally true of society and industry. Needless to say, this has also caused to revisit and reimagine the nature of work and the workplace itself. Traditional norms have melted away, and the emergence of a younger workforce with a raft of unique needs has seen remote offices come of age, as has the evolution of our workspaces from being a ‘work hub’ into a ‘social hub’.

But in adversity there is opportunity, for change, and growth, and learnings anew. And one of these learnings to emerge from the pandemic-induced pivot is that of the need for innovation. ­is comes across in many ways, such as the way we think about employees, their needs, what gives them meaning, and how that connects back to the organization by creating a meaningful workplace and everything it entails.

It’s an exciting shift, and one that sees employees seeking greater trust, social cohesion, and purpose at the workplace. While desiring recognition for their contribution to organisational growth, they seek to find purpose and cross-functional collaboration that can drive their personal and professional growth. And they seek all of this, and more, while immersing themselves in an appropriate physical and digital environment that helps them achieve the much in demand work–life balance.

As we seek to fully understand the importance and role of the office, we must also understand the gilt-edged opportunity these changes have presented to us, one that is perhaps a generational one. And as it often is with all things in life, a select clutch of leaders and organisations have come to the fore and shown the way for us all, creating physical and digital work environments that are flexible and collaborative, and delivering the elusive, but much in demand, work-life balance.

By marrying the ideas of old with those that hold the promise of a better tomorrow, these leaders outline how the vision of a new-look workplace can be realised.

Sudakshina Bhattacharya
Chief Human Resources O­fficer
HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company

People tend to love places where they can show up as who they are and be who they want to be. At HDFC ERGO, we encourage our colleagues to bring their whole selves to work. Beyond KPIs and deliverables, there are platforms for them to nurture and nourish themselves. Elements, our informal communities, encourage like-minded people to come together and cheer for each other’s hobbies and special interests.

­The next on being a beloved workplace is how well are employees handheld as they progress in their careers. Most people like mentors and someone who cares about their growth and development.

#GrowWithHDFCERGO caters to the growth aspirations of our colleagues. Fund your dream is a part of the employee value proposition, especially for our young talent.

Our leadership and talent teams work with the vision of ‘Creating Delightful experience, being a Trusted Partner, and inspiring Citizenship behaviour’. Our focus at HDFC ERGO is to create a culture of ‘Customers First, Employees Always’!

Kaushik Khona
CEO, Go Airlines (India)

“Th­e determination with which our employees worked during the pandemic and continue doing so till date, excites me the most. All of us suffered a lot on the personal front, but still our employees kept the show on. During COVID we understood why we fall under the category of “essential services” and accept the fact that fying is no more a luxury but the preferred mode of commuting when it comes to “Safety.”

Our pilots have set the example in aviation fraternity and made India proud by volunteering for Vande Bharat Mission and Operation Ganga, and I see many more examples being set by us in the coming times.

I am excited and optimistic about connecting to new domestic and international destinations. Along with our customers, our employees also welcome this move as we offer them the perk of free travel along with their families, as a part of our employee bene‑t program. We look forward to adding 10 – 12 aircrafts every year in our fleet and thereby generate more employment and promotion opportunities for our employees.”

Sudhir Singh
CEO, Coforge

“An organization that enables growth for all stakeholders and has a work culture that fosters trust, pride and a deep sense of belonging makes for a beloved workplace.

At Coforge, we engage with emerging technologies, which makes for very rewarding work. Our work culture values an intrapreneurial mindset, ensures fairness, and celebrates diversity. The entire organisation rallies together to support employees and their families whenever needed, as witnessed during the pandemic.

We believe that creating a “beloved workplace” is a continuous journey of adaption & evolution but with a few constants – staying laser-focused on making our customers successful, delivering sustained superior performance, and always keeping our most important asset at the centre – our employees!

Nilesh A. Kulkarni
Director – Commercial, Gharda Chemicals

Gharda has always promoted innovation & intrapreneurship among its employees, & they have been a significant part of the value chain of the organisation. It is one of the few companies in the world where employees are considered as a part of the mission & vision & the profits emerging out of its business activities, have been shared among its employees in a pre-decided manner.

­The company’s policies are designed to meet the needs of each employee based on the needs which includes meeting the life expectations, personal growth, love, & belonging within the life ecosystem of each employee. Gharda was one of the role models for sharing its wealth for the bene‑t of society, even before Corporate Social Responsibility became a statutory norm.”

Suraj Shantakumar
Director – Business Strategy, Kirtilals

Employees are the backbone of Kirtilals. We always believe in building strong belongingness for employees by encouraging the diverse cultures. We celebrate all religious festivals together with all the employees, recognizing them with awards and special mentions. Furthermore, we encourage their participation & welcome their valuable inputs in decision-making. Also, we provide them with training as an integral part of their personal development and maintain transparency in communication between the hierarchies throughout to enhance the workplace efficiency. By organising various employee welfare programmes, we maintain a proper work-life balance for them, and we also provide assistance to employees at times of crisis or other emergencies.

Kirtilals enjoys an overwhelming patronage of satisfied customers who have expressed their trust in us, through repeat purchases by several successive generations within families. As a premium brand, we have more than 10 lakh designs in our design bank to showcase to our customers and cater to their needs, with customisable designs across our 14 retail stores and online store.”

Rajnish Sharma
Managing Director
MDIndia Health Insurance TPA Pvt. Ltd.

MDIndia’s service and customer focused culture is the character and personality of our organization, which makes our business unique and is the sum total of our values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours, and attitudes. We always seek to identify problems and opportunities in the health insurance industry and strive to find solutions to these industry issues and utilize the opportunities to enhance the overall performance of not just our company, but the industry and its offerings. Our core focus has always been to enable all our employees to understand our business and the health insurance industry and its dynamics, attract talent, strive to improve skills and competencies, execution and delivery effectiveness, and enhance performance.

Our highly experienced, professional and easily approachable leadership and management has shaped our workplace practices, policies & people, and these ingredients impact our culture significantly. Our people practices are enablers of fairness, tolerance and respect for the individual. ­e team orientation is emphasizing and rewarding collaboration. Over the years, we have developed a workplace of stability, providing security and following a predictable course and rewarding Innovation, where we encourage experimentation and calculated risk-taking.”

Sudhanshu Roy
Group Head HR, Medica Hospitals

Employee engagement is a state of emotional and intellectual involvement that employees have in an organization. It is the extent to which employees value, enjoy and believe in what they do.

Employees are the most accepted base of a company which advocates its value proposition, brands and services. Yet there is an enormous gap in how we connect with employees versus how we connect with the consumers, even while the lines between external and internal communications continues to blur. Although, humongous effort has always been given for the development of the determinants of consumer delight in marketing activities, less attention has been given to employee happiness and satisfaction.

Previous studies have shown that employees who are absorbed, dedicated, and immersed in their work are more con‑dent and positive at their workplace. Engaged, positive, and con‑dent employees not only keep themselves but also their customers happy through their optimistic outlook and efficacious work behaviour.”

Pulkit Seth
Vice Chairman, Pearl Global Industries

At Pearl Global, we focus on 3 areas: firstly, the relationship with reporting manager and leaders, we believe teams who trust their leaders tend to be more forthcoming and loyal, hence a lot of efforts are put in the hiring of right leaders, managers and supervisors who are empathetic towards their teams, are capable of inspiring the team by walking the talk and can push the teams during tough times.

Secondly, the emotional engagement of the employee with the organizations, which instils loyalty, a trait which goes a long way in achieving Organizational success, it can be achieved by keeping an open communication, empathetic approach, and ethical policies which to develop mutual trust and understanding towards everyone. And lastly, keeping our people motivated by offering flexibility, empowering them to take decisions, allowing vacation and personal time, health care and support to working parents we try to inculcate a positive work culture.”

 

Madhuri Mhamankar
Head Human Resources, Yotta Infrastructure

At Yotta, our employees are our greatest strength. Our core value is Fostering Happiness, which implies nurturing, promoting, and increasing the mindshare of joy and camaraderie between colleagues, customers and partners.

Employees at Yotta are engaged and happy for several reasons. ­is includes providing a safe and respectful work environment, allowing employees to develop themselves in all aspects, and ensuring they are compensated and recognised for their efforts. One of the important factors is our people’s health and well-being. For this, an exclusive health and wellness program called ‘Yotta Care’ has been designed. In addition, we have other indigenous programs to engage with our employees and their extended family.

To share feedback, celebrate our achievements and get first-hand business updates, we have our open employee forum, ‘Yes Forum’. Most recently, we also announced an initiative called ‘RISE Again’- a return to work program, especially for women who want to rejoin corporates after their break.

We strongly believe in enabling the holistic well-being of our people to build a positive work environment where the organisation and individuals thrive at their best.”

 

Sriram Vinjamuri
Chief Customer Offi­cer, Tanla Solutions

Tanla Platforms’ ‘People First’ policy has seen it emerge as a home to exceptional talent and houses a work environment that promotes a balanced and healthy lifestyle for all its employees. ­The organisation has led by example in this regard by adopting some of the most forward-thinking processes, policies, employee benefits, and a dedicated task force that prioritise the creation of a workspace conducive to growth in every sense.

From ensuring best-in-class healthcare for employees and their families to championing women in leadership roles, Tanla has been ticking off all the right checkboxes to truly become a Most Preferred Workplace, with an impressive 26% of its employees having been associated with the brand for over 5 years. Adding to the list, Tanla has also recently announced the launch of ‘Tanla Academy’ an initiative to strengthen its always-on learning culture through tie-ups with some of the best Global Schools & expert networks to support and nurture meritorious employees for becoming the leaders of tomorrow.”

 

Ginu Nair
Vice President – Human Resources, Zetwerk

“Th­e most significant catalyst for our industry-bucking growth is our human capital – our Zetsetters. Over the last four years, we have grown not just on business parameters but also in employee strength, with a strong team of over 1000 Zetsetters. As the organisation grows in size and scale, we will continue to instate policies and practices that foster cohesiveness and ownership by encouraging diverse views and independent thought.

At Zetwerk, we have always strived to create a level-playing ‑eld by adopting a culture of meritocracy so that our Zetsetters feel empowered to drive their professional growth. We believe that what makes us the employer of choice is the equitable growth opportunity, diversity, flexibility, and an emphasis on the mental and physical well-being that we provide to our Zetsetters. In addition, we recognize that our employees’ needs and priorities are diverse, so we strive to empower them to give their best in every role and therefore, there is a tremendous focus on skill development for employees to take more prominent roles within the organisation.”

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Karan Karayi
Karan Karayihttps://in-focusindia.com/
A part-time car enthusiast and full-time food aficionado, Karan is forever chasing his next big creative thrill. He also doesn’t enjoy writing in third-person.
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