Article: Key to nurture young talent: R&R, learning and career opportunities

Strategic HR

Key to nurture young talent: R&R, learning and career opportunities

To effectively engage with Gen Z employees, companies should foster a culture of performance excellence, encourage cross-functional collaboration, and instil a deep understanding of the business to facilitate their learning and career growth, says Shamita Ghosh Head of HR at BookMyShow.
Key to nurture young talent: R&R, learning and career opportunities

What constitutes a great work culture? Is it rewards and recognition, employee engagement initiatives, wellness programs, or employee-centric initiatives? In an exclusive conversation with People Matters, Shamita Ghosh, Head of HR at BookMyShow, shares valuable insights on how organizations can enhance the employee experience and boost productivity in the ever-evolving workplace dynamics.

Here are the edited excerpts:

Do you believe that R&R (Rewards and Recognition) programs effectively engage employees and boost productivity?

Rewarding employees often tends to be associated with quality work only being celebrated or appreciated through monetary-driven outcomes. Foundational and critical aspects and pillars of culture creation, employee engagement and nurturing as well as retention tend to fall through the cracks in a concept that has the potential to be such a significant binding force in any organisation. Recognition of an individual’s work is far more effective when it is a well-rounded approach that helps form a sense of belonging and builds connection, value and acknowledgement for an employee’s stellar work. This, in turn, helps build longer-lasting and deeper relationships with employees, creating a culture of one-ness. 

Recognition can be in any form - at an organisational level through face-time with senior leadership in a casual setting or in smaller groups with specific teams and managers. The sense of being valued or supported is influenced by the underlying purpose behind it and it doesn't always have to involve financial rewards. In fact, at BookMyShow, we place great importance on immediate recognition. When employees excel in a task, project, or activity, we believe in acknowledging their achievements right on the spot, in front of their team members and others on the floor. Recognition also needn’t just be restricted to work, it could be for an achievement of personal growth outside the workplace.

In recent years, at BookMyShow, we have been sending letters expressing our gratitude to the families of our employees for being a consistent source of support and encouragement. Investing in your employees means going that extra mile as an organisation first and then expecting the same from the workforce. Living the values that we aspire to build across both sides is really the critical aspect of truly rewarding and recognising individuals for what they bring to the table at and beyond work. 

In a global context, what measures or resources do you believe organisations could provide to support employees' mental well-being?

In the ever-evolving landscape of workplace dynamics, organisations are increasingly recognising the significance of supporting their employees' mental well-being. It is evident that the biggest challenge in this context remains acceptance and addressing it requires a comprehensive approach that encompasses physical, mental and emotional health. Just as companies invest heavily in wellness programs for physical health, it is imperative to accord equal importance to mental health, recognising that the two are intrinsically linked and contribute to an individual's overall well-being.

To achieve this, the first step towards nurturing mental well-being is to raise awareness at a company-wide level. This can be accomplished through channels such as workshops, seminars, leadership discussions and most importantly embedding mental health awareness into the company's culture. To break down the barriers surrounding mental health, it is crucial to encourage one-on-one conversations between employees. By creating safe spaces for individuals to discuss their mental health concerns, organisations provide a platform for open dialogue. 

Additionally, fostering acceptance of mental health concerns is essential. Employees could be educated about mental health, including learning how to spot the signs. This can be achieved by normalising discussions around mental health, providing a platform for employees to openly talk about their experiences and emphasising the importance of taking breaks, practising mindfulness as well as, spending time on self-care.

Organisations must strive to create a company culture where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, problems and ideas without fearing repercussions. Encouraging open conversations reduces isolation and helps others identify mental health warning signs early on. By prioritising mental well-being and fostering a supportive environment, organisations can contribute significantly to the overall health and happiness of their employees.

Supporting employees' mental well-being is not just a trend but a fundamental requirement for organisations in today's world. By embracing a holistic approach, organisations can create a healthier and more productive workforce, where individuals are not only valued for their contributions but also for their well-being. This, in turn, contributes to a more positive and compassionate work environment, ultimately benefitting both the organisation and its employees.

Reflecting on your own journey, can you share strategies or approaches that have worked in enhancing employee experiences? Additionally, do you have any recommendations for providing support or guidance to Gen Z employees to help them integrate and thrive?

I have always believed that nothing works better than empathy. Human resources has and will always be centred around people, necessitating a deep understanding of employees, their thoughts, concerns, issues and needs. The act of listening to employees and showing them respect transcends any other HR responsibility. There's no secret sauce beyond understanding the pulse of your employees, comprehending their emotions and then implementing policies, reforms, or making decisions with compassion and empathy.

In addition to empathy, another essential component for achieving the perfect blend is HR's comprehension of the company's business and industry. To genuinely contribute to the organisation's overall growth, it's imperative to have a deep understanding of the business, its day-to-day operations and the intricate details, just as any other business function does. Having insights into the broader ecosystem in which your organisation operates, along with a keen awareness of industry trends and dynamics, significantly assists in recruiting individuals who not only align with the company's culture but also possess the necessary skill sets. This understanding also plays a pivotal role in shaping the organisational structure and crafting employee-friendly policies that prove invaluable in strengthening the company's resilience through both prosperous and challenging times.

GenZ, or the young professionals who are now entering the workforce, bring a wealth of passion, rigour and fresh perspectives that companies are embracing and highly valuing. Nevertheless, it's crucial for organisations to harness this enthusiasm and guide it in the right direction. To best work with GenZ employees, companies could cultivate a culture of performance excellence, promote integrated work through cross-functional collaboration and inculcate a deeper understanding of the business to effectively navigate its intricacies for these young guns to effectively learn the ropes and scale the ladders. 

In alignment with global workplace trends, what specific actions or initiatives do you think HR can take to further enhance and promote the desired company culture?

Company culture is an emotion, an intangible essence and a set of principles that must be instilled throughout the entire organisation, starting from its leadership. When you step into a company's premises, culture is what you observe and experience.

At BookMyShow, our culture is about always staying humble and equally nimble to face adversities with strength and a can-do attitude. It's also centred on promoting equality through diversity and upholding high-performance standards based on meritocracy. Mindfulness is another integral aspect, as we remain rooted in our origins and value the contributions of every individual throughout our journey spanning over two decades.

To ensure that our commitment to this culture isn't just a superficial effort as well as to integrate and incorporate a deep-rooted understanding of the BookMyShow value system, we have developed a specially designed in-house employee assessment system. Here, every employee’s journey is mapped not just over their job performance but also for how well they are able to execute their jobs while keeping in mind the company's core values which have been built as the baseline for overall conduct. These values include customer centricity, a bias for action, the ability to engage in constructive disagreement while maintaining commitment, fostering collaboration and effective communication, taking ownership and accountability, building trust and embodying integrity and humility. This is also a regular intervention wherein we can reinstate BookMyShow’s values and imbibe them through any and every task across all roles across the company. The idea is to develop and maintain a system that enables reinstating and living values through everyday performance that the firm works to build and sustain.

Can you provide insights into employee-centric initiatives at BookMyShow and how these programs have benefited employees across different levels, from executives to entry-level positions?

At BookMyShow, we place a strong emphasis on ensuring that employees have the necessary resources that act as facilitators, enabling them to excel in their work performance. Empowering employees to comfortably focus on innovation and performance involves creating an environment that aids them in fulfilling their responsibilities successfully. Culture plays a pivotal role in unlocking our employees' potential, significantly influencing their performance. We are deeply rooted in our values, which serve as the foundation of our organisation. These values are kept relevant and context-specific so that employees can relate to and readily incorporate them. As an organisation, we are committed to being employee-friendly, tailoring our policies and benefits to provide flexibility and freedom, essential for our employees to give their best at work.

Accessibility to and interaction with leadership is hardly a challenge at BookMyShow. In fact one of our core values of employee engagement is the easy availability of leadership to employees across the board and to ensure that it trickles down across the value chain to ensure conversations become easier. Employees across the board have complete access to leadership including the founding team for any guidance or free-wheeling conversations that they wish to have with regard to work and life at BookMyShow. To further this atmosphere and maintain the richness of what varied employees can take away from such instances, we frequently facilitate both formal and informal leadership interactions not just with our leadership beyond what employees can get access to but also with leadership from similar industry and organisations outside BookMyShow. This helps employees get a direct insight into the workings, thought processes, solution-oriented, and cultural insights of companies of various kinds whose best practices we can draw from and upgrade ourselves constantly. 

Our inter-department town halls offer employees the chance to engage with senior managers and leaders from other departments, gaining insights for their own teams and a macro-level understanding of the company's operations to be able to stitch their understanding of the firm better. BookMyShow frequently organises leadership discussions and engagement sessions with employees. During these sessions, they share their vision for the company and the specific verticals they oversee inviting feedback from employees across the board to constantly find ways in which the firm as a whole can keep evolving and being in tune with the value system of the organisation in the long term. They provide insights into exciting new projects they are involved in and outline ways in which every employee can contribute. Additionally, they discuss industry insights that can be incorporated to elevate BookMyShow to new heights. We also host a recreational hour called ‘Brew With The Crew’, enabling valuable and useful face-time with our leadership in an informal setting. 

At BookMyShow, we host a series of engaging workshops bringing industry experts to share their views, expand the horizons of understanding and awareness or educate employees about aspects critical to and on the periphery of their roles and industry. We have conducted workshops on prioritising mental health, recognising and dealing with anxiety, stress management, diversity and inclusivity, vertical-specific workshops such as ‘Design Week’ with deep dives into product design, creative ideation and customer-centricity or something fun like culinary skills from a leading chef! We also love our entertainment and encourage employees to indulge in some healthy competition over table tennis, inter-team cricket leagues and more. 

We offer numerous medical benefit programs, including partnerships with online health assistance platforms, which grant access to a group of qualified doctors for any medical assistance that employees may require. Furthermore, BookMyShow provides various employee empowerment initiatives, such as recreational facilities like gyms, yoga and indoor games, along with training and team-building programs. We also support hobby and interest groups related to trekking, movies, travel, books and more, partially funding their activities. These initiatives enable our employees to have a well-rounded experience at work, aligning with our ongoing commitment to their growth and development.

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Topics: Strategic HR, Employee Relations, Learning & Development, #HRCommunity

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