Engaged employees are at the heart of building a people-centric business. In the context of our industry, one barrier is to do with work-life balance and health and well-being. Being a sales driven organization, with about 80 percent of the workforce in the sales profile, the pressure of performance is one that stands in the way of effective engagement. This has been a challenge that we identified among multiple feedback sessions with managers, performance cycle data and with inputs from the HR department.
Here's how the company aligned its key activities to keep employees engaged.
Digital outreach: The focus with the use of technologies (internet portal and mobile applications) is to build a culture of engagement. We encourage a two-way communication using these tools. Our objective is to talk to employees and understand his or her concerns. There are also periodic opinion polls that are conducted. For example, when we were thinking of organizing a health event, we used these technologies to ask employees and capture what illnesses employees were suffering from. And this data was used to organize an acupressure camp. As a follow-up to that exercise, there are now mailers on health and safety that go out to employees. Going online has helped maximize our cross-location engagement.
The key challenge for us is how do we keep engaging employees? given the many ways that technology has evolved.
Engagement activities: There are multiple events planned throughout the calendar year that aim at enabling employees to balance professional and personal priorities.
- Meeting-cum-event: Two to three times a year, a half-day event is designed in a manner where a couple of hours are dedicated to team-building activities or town hall discussions and the rest of the evening is an informal gathering with family members. These include performances by celebrities and other fun filled games. These activities enable employees to break free from the monotony of office work.
- Excursion tours: These tours are annual organization-wide initiatives that are linked to performance. Employees get to travel to local, national and international destinations. High performing employees are rewarded with a family vacation on an all-expenses paid trip. Linking engagement with our rewards and recognition strategy has helped to keep our employees motivated.
- Fun at work: On every special occasion, we explore the opportunity to celebrate them at work. On festivals like Diwali, we get together for an evening of performances by our employees. On Children's Day, we call the children of our employees for a drawing competition. Other special occasions include birthdays and anniversaries as well as sports events.
Listening to employee voice: Given the nature of the business, the focus is on the individual contribution and often the sales workforce is not connected to the employee business. As part of the quarterly business review town hall meetings, apart from business insights, there is an open house session for about half an hour, where employees ask questions and share their perspectives on anything related to the company.
There is a distinction between the expectations of an intergenerational workforce; we ensure that we capture the perspectives of all our employees. Younger employees or Digital Natives are extremely enthusiastic about any new activity that we undertake, so they play an important role in the design, conceptualization, and execution of our engagement activities.
As we're already in the midst of a digitally disruptive workforce, the key challenge for us is to do with ‘how do we keep engaging employees?' given the many ways that technology has evolved. It is not a surprise that the shelf-life of an engagement exercise is very less. It is the job of the HR to identify innovative new formats and programs and keep engaging employees.