‘Happiness’ is a topic that makes conversations across the globe today. While increased emphasis on employee wellbeing is one of the central tenets of a positive work culture, it is no longer enough to simply talk about ‘Happiness’ or of its importance, but to really incorporate it into an organizational framework. Active steps need to be taken on the part of leaders to ensure that happiness gets embedded into the organization. It is not an easy task, it has its own trajectory which is far from linear but if deliberate efforts continue to be made, success can be achieved. At the Mercer 2021 Regional HR Conference last week, Somraj Roy, CHRO, KEC International (above right), and Dr. Anammika Bharggava Mehra, Deputy General Manager - Group O&TD, RPG Enterprises (above left), came together to share RPG Group’s journey of more than six years of identifying what happiness meant for RPG employees, that led to the creation of a tangible framework for happiness.
The vision of RPG and the building of the Happiness Framework
“Unleash Talent, Touch Lives, Outperform and Be Happy” is the Group’s Vision Statement. The underlying belief is that only happy employees can achieve the first three elements of this statement successfully and in a sustained manner. While this thought of employee happiness germinated in 2015 at RPG, the Group launched its tagline ‘Hello Happiness’ a few years later. In 2020, RPG decided to go deeper into this subject, because it realized that to drive happiness amongst people, it is important to know what makes or drives happiness amongst them. “We figured that we did inspiring work, because we were a bunch of happy people. We wanted to delve deeper and find out what really makes us happy. What are those little or big things that drive each one of us forward”, said Somraj. This desire led to deep research and numerous in-sighting conversations with a large section of employees. Voices and feedback from more than 6,500 employees led to the formation of the RPG Framework, which has now become the driving force for the Group.
“Happiness comes in different forms. For us here, it is not just a feeling, it’s a promise that we have made to ourselves and to every employee, of being a place where we meet some amazing colleagues, learn from the most inspiring of leaders, and do meaningful work that truly leaves an impact, to our businesses and lives around us”, said Somraj.
In the drive to build a great workplace, there was a shift from focusing beyond just employee engagement to including employee wellness, which wasn’t limited to their physical wellbeing but to how happy they actually felt working in the organization. RPG remains concerned about the experience of its employees at work and beyond.
Implementation by leadership
“The promise of Happiness comes from the Group’s leadership,” shares Anammika.
Group Companies were enabled with mechanisms and practices that would lead to each one of them living this promise for each employee. Employee wellbeing took centerstage. Extensive conversations and townhalls were held to ensure that the Group gained last mile understanding of what the Happiness Framework stood for. Existing policies and practices were revisited to ensure alignment with the promise of ‘Happiness’.
When the discussion regarding challenges came up, Somraj and Anamika spoke at length about how the Group went about “walking the talk”.
How does one give this abstract thought of happiness a concrete form? This was done through designing of tangible interventions to give it meaning and form.
A transition had to be carried out from the earlier parameters that were used for measuring wellbeing to focusing on measuring happiness per se. Clarity of design and its implementation helped to a great extent.
How does one build credibility in the framework so that every individual employee can look up to it as a tool of communication and a reference for understanding the various elements of happiness? To achieve this, openness, transparency and authenticity played a key role.
Lessons learned on this journey
“We recognized that there was a need for collaboration not just between employees and managers, but also within teams and amongst peers. We needed to reach out wider. It necessitated inclusions of all our partners as our allies. One needed to get personal in a professional workplace and to do that there was a need for an honest deep-dive into understanding how employees experience and perceive wellness and happiness in their lives. From this understanding could one build a language that communicated organizational culture and personal happiness quotient of employees. This would finally create a workplace that thrives and grows on the foundation of happiness,” said Somraj.
By being cognizant of challenges, and by offering a personal touch to ensure that the framework caters to a diverse audience, RPG was able to move ahead on its journey to measuring and embedding happiness. The manner in which implementation was carried out varied depending on the scale and business of different units within RPG but the key deciding factor was intent. As mentioned earlier, RPG’s mantra is, happy employees will inevitably lead to outperformance – both internally and externally. So, ensuring a happier workplace which caters to the wellbeing of its employees was RPG’s secret sauce of creating a vibrant growing organization.
People Matters is the exclusive media partner for Mercer's 2021 Regional HR Virtual Conference.