Move over team-lunch. Organizations are now doling out newer employee engagement initiatives to retain top talent – and it starts even before getting them on board.
redBus, the travel company have rolled out a comprehensive pre-joining engagement program in conjunction with the hiring managers. This is to ensure that offered candidates continue to remain excited about the opportunity by keeping them updated on important organization level milestones/achievements as well as initiatives in their work area. As part of this engagement, candidates are encouraged to use redBus services to book buses and hotels for a short vacation before they join. They are then reimbursed these expenses after they join.
Neeru Mehta, Vice President, HR, GlobalLogic, an offshore software R&D services company said, “Nowadays, most organizations do agree that engaged employees – those willing to ‘go the extra mile’ – can have a very strong effect on the success of a business and so are seeking effective techniques that will allow them to build engagement. In today’s knowledge economy, employees today are looking for opportunities to learn and improve their skills and to have an open valve for imagination, creativity and ideas; senior management interest in employee wellbeing; and to work for an organization with a reputation as a good employer."
From food trails to free lunch at work, there is more to employee engagement than you can think of. The idea is to make employees feel that they belong to an organization, and once a sense of belonging settles in, it’s far easier for them to work well.
Sameer Khanna, CEO & Founder, Orahi said,
We know that people will forget what we said, people will forget what we did, but people will never forget how we made them feel. All our initiatives revolve around this experiential learning. These practises are cultivated from day to day experiences that we get."
The travel company has different engagement programmes including 40-minute post lunch break where an employee can even take a power nap. Since their average employee age-group is 24, and stay at various Paying Guest accommodations, the company provides lunch for free and it has impacted the employee relationship and engagement.
And these engagements are not just an eye-wash, it’s a great learning and development experience as well. At GlobalLogic, engagement is done in such a way that a 360 degree learning experience is provided to the employees, right from the time they get on-board and through various stages of employee life-cycle. For example the company’s First Time Manager Workshops is a series of workshops done for the first time managers aiming to enhance and develop the competencies of the new managers. Toastmasters International is a prestigious corporate club with a structured curriculum and a sturdy framework on communication and leadership. GL Vantage is a High-Impact Personal Development program to strengthen Business Communication & Soft Skills. These programs are just a few of the many that they offer.
So why are companies making this extra effort for an improved engagement?
According to Prakash Sangam, CEO, redBus.in, necessity is the mother of all inventions and this is no exception. Since the job market is very dynamic, for general and also for engineering function, there is a big gap in the demand and supply of qualified professionals often leading to a candidate with multiple offers at a time. “In this context, improving the joining ratio of offered candidates was a critical business requirement and the pre-joining engagement program has helped in improving this ratio by 27%. The allowance for using redBus services for a vacation with reimbursement post-joining helped candidates experience the redBus product first-hand and was also a smart device to assess the commitment of the candidate to join. If someone did not partake in this benefit, chances were high that they would not be joining and that served as early warning to the recruitment team to create a back-up pool of candidates,” he said.
What’s the real ROI?
Neeru of GlobalLogic affirms that no matter what the product or service is, organizations need people. Investing in the continued professional development of people is beneficial, for both employee engagement and for the organization’s bottom line...ROI means for what you spent to engage people, you get an acceptable return. The real ROI for GlobalLogic has been the retention of our top talent (95%) and their involvement in our key initiatives.
“Our strategy to empower, engage and groom for leadership roles have worked a lot better. Our retention rate is 100% for the first six employees and so far it is 93% and we believe it is great for a start-up,” said Sameer of Orahi.
And these activities are facilitated by HR for days at the beginning of each quarter or at time slots convenient to the group in such a way that it does not get in the way of employees achieving their work goals.
Akshay B, a redBus employee said on the pre-joining program,
I liked the idea of this initiative very much because it helped me to overcome stress and other issues of my previous organisation and spent happy and joyful moments with my family. These kind of initiatives very much necessary before starting to work in any new organisation as I can start working from fresh n free mind.”
Neeru from GlobalLogic believes that organizations are shifting focus towards creating more and more of their HR policies aligning work-family/work-life balance practices with a broader, more strategic focus on fostering employee engagement. “The Indian IT industry has become increasingly cognizant of the work-life balance and therefore organizations devise several initiatives that would help strike a balance in improving employee commitment, productivity and motivation. Flexible work arrangements, telecommuting, and a variety of leaves, family support and wellness programs are more often integrated and aligned with business objectives,” she says.
Organizations decisions depend on what if the company trains them and then they leave Vs. what if they don’t and they stay.