In the incessantly demanding and emotionally draining jobs that many professionals find themselves in nowadays, the role of HR becomes imperative in ensuring that employees do not wade into the dangerous territories of depression and loneliness, and stay happy and motivated as they turn up for work every day. In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Sriram Vaidhyanathan, CHRO at Bankbazaar discussed how organizations and HR leaders need to support employees during the rigmarole of their daily work routine, and boost the employee engagement levels too, in the process.
An employee’s wellness and happiness have multiple aspects to it, be it managing the personal expectations, aligning with the rest of the workforce, or dealing with the organization’s expectations. How do you look at the organization’s role, in this context?
Employee happiness is a pretty complex concept. What makes one person happy, may not make another person happy. Even if they are from the same background and age group, there is no singular thing which can guarantee them happiness.
To me, there are two types of happiness: the one which a person experiences by doing something individually, and the one which a person experiences by doing things collectively. My objective is to work on the collectively done things which can cause the individual to be happy, as that is what will drive organizations ahead.
This also follows from the ‘Group Theory’ in psychology, which states that all humans want to be part of some group or the other, and get affiliated; as it gives them the psychological security. Therefore, those activities which can create collective happiness are what will take the organizations further, and should be leveraged and focused upon.
What can be the role of the human resources function in fostering that collective happiness?
For modern organizations that are extremely wired, the collective happiness of achieving something and collectively celebrating it, is what probably makes everyone feel involved and important in the work environment.
What it also brings up, is the fact that if an organization is rolling out the latest version of an electric car, for instance, it is not the success of just the engine guy or the fuel guy or the dashboard guy; it’s a collective success. This highlights the importance of treating everyone equally at workplaces.
Is there a way the organizations can proactively detect the symptoms of loneliness at work or depression in an employee, so as to prevent it?
At Bank Bazaar, we started the initiative of ‘social scrubbing’ in November 2016, wherein for every new incoming employee, we do a scrubbing of their behavior in social media. We look for any deviant behavior displayed by the person; just to check if everything is okay. This ensures that we are hiring people who are having a very positive mindset towards themselves. Post hiring, our monthly dashboards show people who are actively participating in forums, as well as those who are non-participative. We focus on the non-participating ones, not only from their retention perspective, but also to check if they are comfortable or not. If we find that a person is into depression due to whichever reasons, then the HR partner intervenes, and confidentiality is ensured.