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India’s Best Workplaces IN IT & IT-BPM
India's Best Workplaces in IT & IT-BPM 2020 Study reveals the leadership’s 3C – Continuity, Compassion and Communication – framework of response to the Covid crisis By Sakina Ghiya & Wilma Mohapatra
Photo Credit : Shutterstock
India's Best Workplaces in IT & IT-BPM 2020 Study comprises of 240 organisations that nominated themselves to be assessed. Being an annual study, the research has employee experience data from organisations that participated during a pre-Covid timeframe and those who took the survey in the subsequent months as well. While the top 75 winners are determined through a standardised global methodology, the findings presented in this article goes beyond the research insights gathered in the last one year.
This article’s timing presented us with the unique opportunity to understand the crisis response of the leaders of the best workplaces in IT and IT-BPM to determine if there were some core principles that they shared.
Our numerous interviews with the leaders of these best workplaces reveal the 3C framework to crisis response:
Focus on continuity of performance & people
While some organisations were better equipped and prepared to transition to remote work, no one was ready to transition to the 100 per cent work-from-home mindset. An organisation's first response was:
1. Business continuity planning to ensure that while remote, work gets done
2. Service and commitment to customers are delivered
3. Agility to respond to stakeholder needs were not compromised
At Vuram, the individuals that have historically always worked from home got together to educate the rest of the organisation and mentally prepare them for what was about to come. They addressed the soon-to-be-reality that life will interrupt work. That would mean people may not respond immediately, leaving you anxious. Creating the necessary awareness from the very beginning helped make the transition easier.
Where work gets done as a location has changed. And with that, how we view employee experience has changed too. It is well established that employee experience is not completely determined by the physical workspace or a building but is intrinsically linked to the employee's relationships with leaders, managers, and co-workers.
Therefore, the focus was to ensure the continuity of trust, pride and camaraderie even when working remotely. And so, the best workplaces continued to:
•Develop their People
What changed was how they did it. Abhishek Paul, Culture Shepherd at Kissflow, says, "The idea was to ‘replicate and not create’. Fun and learning has always been a part of the Kissflow culture, almost like a ritual for the last six years and so we just continued doing that virtually. Having invested a lot in culture over the years, the approach was to adapt than create. Instead, energies were diverted on new hire experiences."
Care. Compassion. Empathy
Care at the workplace is demonstrated by supporting employees at times of significant life events and providing platforms for employees to help each other. Going a step further, leaders at the best workplaces consciously operated from a space of compassion when it came to their people.
Here’s how they do it:
•At great workplaces, empathy stems right from the top. It reflects in leadership actions and behaviours when they put people first. This alignment at the top is what helps in faster decision making.
•Leaders swinging into action, each taking accountability for each section of the organisation’s employee experience, and each leader was reaching out to their set of people individually.
•Going beyond employees — extending insurance coverage, counselling, EAPs to family members.
•Acknowledging that as the pandemic progresses, there is a shift in people’s mindset. Understanding that shift by taking an empathetic approach and then acting in accordance
Our study of the best workplaces reveals that people’s psychological and emotional well-being is a key driver that correlates with their motivation levels.
With the limited social connectivity, people have started to miss in-person interactions and everything else that comes with it — right from interacting with people outside your team, to those spontaneous in-office experiences. At Genesys Telecomlabs, they held the following events to replicate these moments:
•Ensured that even though remote, employee engagement activities went on
•Quick impromptu coffee sessions organised by leaders
• Hosting virtual dinners with teams, clients, and partners
• Virtual annual day celebrations
• Stand-up comedy performances
• Virtual treasure hunts
Organisations have been creative in keeping their family-like culture alive by organising Saturday cookery sessions, pairing random individuals across the organisation for short catch-ups, hosting live musical performances and extending their efforts to the family members.
Great workplaces have historically always believed and practised open and transparent information sharing. The Asakai ritual (daily morning meeting) at Rakuten focuses on transparency and aims at energising people before the day begins. Rakuten employees across geographies join, and everything is shared and discussed. The local Asakai is where local updates relevant specifically for employees in India are shared. Leaders share business and project updates, policy changes and use this platform to informally recognise teams and individuals. While it is evident that consistent actions and behaviours must be demonstrated over time, all the time, there is an intangible and invisible thread of Trust that binds
these actions and behaviours together.
It's only when you Listen can you respond relevantly! Good organisations invite their people to share their feedback periodically. Great organisations and their leaders continuously listen using formal and informal tools. They pay attention to psychological safety needs and create channels for employees to work through their anxiety. They create safe ways for people to state what they are confused about, frustrated by, afraid of, and hopeful for.
Here's how they do it:-
• Various touch points across the employee lifecycle —
right from the hiring stage.
• Creating smaller groups relevant to an employee's lifecycle -- parents, individuals away from home, etc.
• Creating dedicated forums for individuals to discuss and share personal challenges. Leaders would slot dedicated time to understand individuals outside of day-today work.
• Use more than one format to listen, such as groups, one on one, skip-level, anonymous channels, third party listening tools.
• Addressing managers' evolving role and providing them with the necessary tools, guidance, and training to effectively communicate with teams.
The best workplaces have always focused on building a sustainable business performance based on a high trust work culture where leaders demonstrate Credibility, Care, and Career Growth Opportunities for their people. When faced with unprecedented uncertainties, the leaders of these best workplaces worked to renew their people's trust in leadership and their organisation by ensuring Continuity of business and employee experience, assessing the impact of decisions and actions to be taken with Compassion, and creating a high degree of transparency and actively listening to their people by championing open Communication.
Who is responsible for the engagement, development, and retention of the remote workforce now?
The answer lies in a mindset shift that needs to occur amongst both leaders and employees where the relationship is no longer that of a provider/thinker and executer but that of partners. It will mean that leaders will need to move past their instinct to command and control and instead actively empower their people to work independently and take decisions in the best interest of their customers and organisation. In turn, employees must seek to be active collaborators within their organisation and ensure a personal sense of accountability and ownership toward their job, co-workers, engagement, and career. The concept of a High-Trust, High-Performance Culture™ is more relevant now than ever before. Those leaders, managers, and employees who know how to win and sustain their stakeholders’ trust will become the real “key talent” at their workplace.
Ghiya is a Senior Consultant - Client Experience at
Great Place to Work® Institute, India. Mohapatra
is Vice President – Assessment & Recognition at
Great Place to Work® Institute, India