Article: Experience 2.0 is about creating a more personalised, engaging and meaningful workplace: Niva Bupa’s Tarun Katyal

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Experience 2.0 is about creating a more personalised, engaging and meaningful workplace: Niva Bupa’s Tarun Katyal

Tarun Katyal of Niva Bupa sheds light on how leaders can drive a powerful organisational culture while aligning it with rapid business growth.
Experience 2.0 is about creating a more personalised, engaging and meaningful workplace: Niva Bupa’s Tarun Katyal

Tarun Katyal, Chief Human Resources Officer, Niva Bupa is a veteran in the HR space with almost over 25 years of extensive experience in companies such as Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Aditya Birla Retail Ltd, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Limited, Bharti Airtel and Vardhman Group. He had a significant role in Niva Bupa earning three consecutive Great Place to Work recognition and has a strong understanding of the demands of the organisation and a unique approach to problem-solving. Tarun is responsible for developing and executing a human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the company. 

In this exclusive conversation with People Matters, Tarun shares his insights on what makes Experience 2.0, how leaders can drive a powerful workplace culture, strategies for effectively collecting employee feedback and more.

Here are some excerpts from the conversation.

In the current disruptive and dynamic marketplace, what is the value of a powerful employee experience? Why should organisations prioritise it?

In today's business environment, organisations are constantly facing a combination of newer challenges and opportunities. In a bid to stay ahead of the competition, organisations need to create an adaptable and innovative work environment where employees remain engaged, motivated, and productive.

Employee experience is the sum total of every interaction an employee has with an organisation, – across the employee life cycle – from Hire to Retire. It includes everything from major milestones and personal relationships to technology use and the physical work environment. Several workforce-related research reports have validated that when employees feel like they belong, and feel good about their work, they are more likely to be engaged and showcase high productivity. That’s essentially how they define or comprehend an employer’s brand, culture or purpose. Moreover, they are also more likely to be creative and innovative. 

Additionally, a positive employee experience can help to attract and retain top talent. In today's competitive job market, employees have more choices than ever before. They are more likely to choose to work for a company that focuses on offering a conducive employee personal experience and offers upskilling at every stage of their professional journey.

Being a leading health insurance company in the country and managing a workforce of 7500 people representing varied roles and responsibilities, we feel that creating a valuable employee experience becomes our topmost priority.  To support this endeavour, we have designed a 5C Talent Strategy that helps us create a pathway to define HR vision and set measurable goals and have regular engagement interventions with our employees. The 5Cs are Cause, Capability, Culture, Career and Connect.

How would you define "Experience 2.0"? What differentiates it from traditional approaches to employee experience and culture?

Experience 2.0 is a new approach to employee experience that is focused on creating a more personalised, engaging, and meaningful workplace. It goes beyond traditional approaches to employee experience, which were often focused on providing employees with a good benefits package and a safe work environment.

Experience 2.0 is also about creating a workplace where employees feel connected to their work, their colleagues, and the company's mission. It is about providing employees with the tools and resources they need to be successful, and it is about creating a culture of trust, respect, and collaboration.

Some of the key differences between Experience 2.0 and traditional approaches to employee experience include:

  • Experience 2.0 focus on personalisation: A workplace that is tailored to the individual needs and preferences of each employee.
  • Experience 2.0 focus on engagement: A workplace that is engaging and stimulating for employees.
  • Experience 2.0 focus on meaning: A workplace where employees feel like they are making a difference.

At NBHI, it’s our endeavour to create an engaging culture right from the time an employee is interviewed to the time they are associated with the company. It results in increased engagement levels, enhanced productivity and improved business results. Through action planning exercises, we seek inputs from employees and launch new initiatives, or revamp other processes (if required). Before the next survey cycle, we keep employees informed on the actions taken through the ‘Because you Matter’ campaign using mail, WhatsApp and Employee town halls, as the communication channels. The proof of the pudding is an increase in the Trust index score, year after year reflecting the rise in the employee perception and a reassurance for the company that we are on the right path.

We are also working with different sets of cohorts such as working mothers wanting to work a few hours a day and onboarding them on a part-time model.

Another interesting initiative, at NBHI, is Unnati— which lays the way for progressive and rewarding career growth for our employees by redefining the benchmark of success. It aims at providing growth-oriented rewarding opportunities and anytime appraisals for all our employees for frontline sales. 

The company created the "Anytime Appraisal" system to honour these front-line heroes' remarkable achievements. According to the new appraisal system, the performance of the frontline employees can be incentivised, and they can achieve their targets anytime during the year and be rewarded for it. This implies that if an employee achieves 100% of the objective within eight months, they will get the appropriate reward followed by renewed targets that they need to concentrate on in the future. 

How can leaders actively contribute to creating a positive work environment? How can they align organisational culture with the rapid growth of a company without losing sight of core values?

Leaders can actively contribute to creating a positive work environment by:

  • Setting a clear vision and direction for the company. This gives employees a sense of purpose and helps them understand how their work fits into the company's overall goals.
  • Communicating effectively with employees by providing regular updates on the company's progress, as well as listening to employee feedback.
  • Creating a culture of trust and respect by creating an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up and taking risks.
  • Providing opportunities for employees to grow and develop helps employees to feel valued and motivated.
  • Recognising and rewarding employee contributions. This shows employees that their work is appreciated.

Leaders can align organisational culture with the rapid growth of a company by:

  • Ensuring that the company's core values are reflected in its policies and practices. This helps to create a strong foundation for the company's culture. At Niva Bupa, the employee policies are carefully designed with values being at the forefront. People Policies like the Goal Setting (Commitment, Transparency and Collaboration), Whistle Blower Policy (Transparency), Day Care Support Program (Empathy), Anti-Fraud (Commitment and Transparency) etc. are a few examples. These also contribute towards building a Values-Driven Culture.
  • Creating a culture of innovation and risk-taking and allowing the company to adapt and grow as the market changes.
  • Providing employees with the resources they need to be successful. This includes training, tools, and support.

It is important to note that creating a positive work environment and aligning organisational culture with the rapid growth of a company is not always easy. Therefore, in all areas of operations, including tech-enabled domains, Niva Bupa is fostering an atmosphere where employees may succeed and contribute to the expansion of the company. 

Moreover, all employees, regardless of gender, are subject to the company's commitment to perpetual learning. The business provides extensive learning and development courses that are beneficial to people at all levels.

In fast-paced organisations, employees often face increased workload and pressure. How can we support employees' well-being while maintaining high performance and achieving business objectives?

While the work environment considerably remains the same across industries, providing employees with flexible work arrangements may allow them to have more control over their work-life balance.

Offering wellness programmes and resources also help employees to manage stress and improve their overall health. At Niva Bupa, we follow a body-fit and mind-fit approach. We have an emotional wellness programme for all our employees which includes counselling services, sensitisation sessions and sharing digital wellness literature. Similarly, for physical well-being, we have annual health check programs for all employees across age brackets.

Some of the other ways to support employees' well-being in fast-paced organizations, while maintaining high performance and achieving business objectives include:

  • Creating a culture of work-life balance and encouraging employees to take breaks, vacation time, and casual days make them come back fresh and rejuvenated. 
  • Also, investing in employee mental health by providing access to mental health professionals and resources time-to-time and making them feel wanted by the company. 

Moreover, NBHI is recognized as the fastest-growing company in the SAHI sector. The perseverance and determination of our employees help us achieve the audacious goals we set for ourselves. But this also requires constant recognition and appreciation, to motivate our employees. In order to foster this, we have designed an inclusive Rewards and Recognition framework. The framework allows us to recognise and celebrate meritocracy on a continuous basis.

Employee feedback is crucial for improving experience and culture. How can HR teams in fast-rising organisations collect and act on feedback effectively to drive positive changes?

Employee feedback is a valuable tool for HR teams in fast-rising organisations. A constructive employee feedback programme can help organisations identify areas where they can improve the employee experience and culture. For instance, we engage with Great Place to Work on an Annual basis for running a dipstick on employee feedback. In the last survey, we covered close to 5000 employees; and YoY our feedback has only improved and we feature as part of the Top BFSI companies to work for in the country.  However, often collecting and acting on employee feedback effectively can be a daunting task.

Here are some tips for the HR teams on collecting and taking action on employee feedback effectively:

  • Providing a feedback form on the company intranet, setting up a suggestion box, or using a digital feedback tool makes it easy for the employee to share thoughts. These forms should include the option of sharing anonymous feedback across levels. 
  • Considerate actions should be taken against the feedback shared and making changes to policies, procedures, or training as and when required. 
  • Communicate with employees about the changes that have been made. This will help to ensure that employees are aware of the changes. Moreover, they will also feel reassured that their feedback has been heard.  For instance, at Niva Bupa, we run the ‘what you said, what you did’ campaign to regularly update employees and it has received tremendous traction from our internal audience. 
  • A reminder of the company's mission and values to the employees will help them understand their role in the organisation better and would make them feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
  • Create a culture of trust, respect, openness, and transparency with employees, and give them a voice in decision-making.
  • Provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop at certain intervals by offering training, mentoring, or job shadowing opportunities. And celebrate employee successes to boost morale and motivation.

Could you share a success story or a best practice that significantly improved employee experience and organisational culture in your organisation? What is the greatest learning you would like to share with our HR Community?

Niva Bupa transitioned from Max Bupa Health Insurance Company and we communicated this transition to life by working with our partners and various stakeholders to complete our brand transition. A well-charted communication strategy was created. The communication strategy included a series of communication like CEO Webcasts, Employee town halls, and team meetings. HRBPs also conducted employee town halls to reinforce refreshed values and translate Values into a blueprint of behaviours.

In addition, Transparency is a core value for us at Niva Bupa and that transpires in the form of openness and honesty in our communication and action.  To add, we believe in over-communicating what, why and how, as employees are more likely to trust what they can see. At NBHI, communication is a way to create excitement and engagement among employees and paves the way for a stronger connection to Business strategy. 

Through multiple forums (as listed below) we build a 2-way communication model with employees: 

  • Annual Business Meet
  • Quarterly Leadership Webcast
  • Functional Meets 
  • Monthly Newsletters

We have witnessed strong two-way participation in our communication exercises and we believe it has contributed a long way in building a culture of transparency and empathy; where every employee's voice is valued. 

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Topics: Leadership, Culture, #Leaders Talk, #HRTech, #EmployeeExperience, #SMEcorner

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