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BW Businessworld

The Year That Demonstrated The Power Of Leaders Who Care

Leaders at Great workplaces demonstrate care regularly. They don't just recognize and reward their employees on achieving milestones but consistently appreciate them for their hard work. Moreover, they actively listen to suggestions, and ideas of their employees, but most importantly they act on the feedback!

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The 5th year of Great Place to Work® Institute's study of 'India's Great Mid-size Workplaces' coincided with an unprecedented experience of human suffering and economic disturbance.

Many employees worked-from-home or worked under various restrictions, and many organizations struggled to quickly adapt to the new scenario. While organizational size may have mattered less, what mattered most was the way leaders took care of their people.

This year, the Trust Index© Grand Mean* of the participating mid-size organizations, stands at 82% - the same as that of the larger organizations. Interestingly, during a challenging and uncertain year, the Great Mid-size organizations have surpassed their larger counterparts in almost all other areas of experience.
 
An organization's culture is often defined as a sum of its People Practices and Leadership Behaviour. Mid-size organizations often have simple structures and limited power distance cultures. Therefore, relational trust in these organizations is pivotal. Leaders play an important role in maintaining this trust and enhancing employee experience.




Fairness - The Cornerstone Of Trust
Trust-building initiatives tend to fail when employees perceive a lack of openness, fairness and justice at their workplace. Fairness refers to an employee's perception of a fair playing field when it comes to decisions that impact them. In a Fair work environment, everyone plays by the same rules.



This year, Great Mid-size workplaces have further strengthened the perception of fairness, which plays a significant role in differentiating them from the Rest.

Greatest Assets of Great Mid-size Workplaces
In Great workplaces, Leaders have been successful in bridging the gap between practices and experience. An organization may have best practices but espousing these practices starts from the top. Leaders shape culture.

In 2021, Leaders of the Great Mid-size workplaces have demonstrated care, sought suggestions & ideas, and provided career opportunities.

Leaders at Great workplaces demonstrate care regularly. They don't just recognize and reward their employees on achieving milestones but consistently appreciate them for their hard work. Moreover, they actively listen to suggestions, and ideas of their employees, but most importantly they act on the feedback!



Team Members Matter
For many employees, workplace culture is embodied in the behaviours of their immediate manager and team members. On analysing the qualitative feedback of employees about what they found 'unique about their organization that makes it a great place to work', we find that the most commonly featuring aspect is "Team Members." Coincidentally, it also features as one of the most common concerning area of experience, making it a critical focus area. Great Mid-size workplaces are not only able to attract great talent but are also successful in retaining them. This is evident by the finding, 88% employees in the Great Mid-size organizations feel that their 'Management does a good job of attracting talent for key positions' while 90% employees want to continue to work with their current organization.

Mind the Gap - Invest in Training Opportunities and Benefit Programs
The simple and straightforward structure of Mid-size organizations (defined by Great Place to Work® Institute as those that have 100 to 500 employees on their payroll) help management teams deliver exceptional employee experience. However, they struggle to provide systematic training opportunities and unique benefits to their employees as compared to their larger counterparts.

On the other hand, Great Mid-size organizations have overcome the challenge of institutionalizing robust systems. They have managed to provide great training opportunities to their workforce as well as support them with unique benefits. 82% employees in Great Mid-size workplaces believe that they have special and unique benefits at their organizations as against only 65% employees in the Rest. Similarly, 87% employees in Great Mid-size workplaces feel that they are offered training or development at their workplace, in comparison to 75% employees in the Rest.

The Way Forward
For Leaders to create, sustain and enhance a great workplace culture they must do 3 things:

1)    Invest in Future Leaders - Develop Great People Managers
2)    Continuously Track & Act - keep an eye on your Culture Map!
3)    Develop an Inclusive Mind-set

Invest in Future Leaders: People Practices are core to workplace culture, rooted in the company's values and in the ways of working. Simply put, it is defined as 'the way things are done around here.' For culture to thrive, existing Leaders must identify and nurture future leaders. They must invest in developing effective People Managers who will uphold their company values and culture.

Continuously track & act:
Leaders need to keep an eye on their culture map and understand whether people practices are translating into strong positive experiences for their employees. They must consider the relationship between employees and their managers as crucial. Leaders should prioritise continuous feedback, map the gaps, collaborate to find solutions, close the loop and repeat.

Develop an inclusive mind-set: Leaders must become more inclusive in their practices and sensitive in their behaviour. They must learn to effectively interact with employees from diverse backgrounds and strive to build a culture of belonging.  






__________________________________________________________________________
Author: Anantadeb Bandyopadhyay, Senior Associate, Great Place to Work® Institute, India
Co-author: Gurab Virk, Consultant - Research & Product Development, Great Place to Work® Institute, India

Supported by: Rohit Radhakrishnan, Suraj Jadhav