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Leadership Effectiveness

The key differentiator for India’s Best Workplaces™ in IT and IT-BPM 2021

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In the near future, we are likely to see workplace culture being radically redefined in several ways – more so in the IT industry. Developing and sustaining Employee Trust, however, will possibly become even more crucial when people are not physically co-located. As the global authority on workplace culture, Great Place to Work® has been gathering insights about employee experience and people practices across organisations for over three decades. Every year, more than 10,000 organisations from over 60 countries partner with Great Place to Work® Institute for assessment, benchmarking, and planning of actions to strengthen their workplace culture. Great Place to Work®️ Institute invites applications from IT and IT-BPM organisations to be assessed and evaluated for being considered among ‘India’s Best Workplaces™ in IT & IT- BPM’.

This year for the 7th edition of India’s Best Workplaces™ in IT and IT-BPM, we assessed 263 organisations representing the voice of more than 8 lakh employees. Further, these organisations, including those in the Mid-size (employee strength between 100 to 500) and the Large (employee strength more than 500) categories were evaluated to arrive at the Top 75 India’s Best Workplaces™ in IT & IT-BPM 2021. As part of this evaluation, the organisations are studied through two lenses. The first lens measures the quality of employee experience through our globally validated survey instrument known as the Trust Index©. The survey helps in seeking anonymous feedback from employees and carries 75 per cent weightage when being considered for Best Workplaces™ lists. The second lens is the Culture Audit©, which is a proprietary tool of the Institute that evaluates the quality of people practices of an organisation, covering the entire employee life cycle. This carries 25 per cent weightage. In this article, we will be highlighting the key trends and areas of improvement for workplaces in IT & IT-BPM as well as the benefits of focusing on developing effective leaders.

Employee Engagement at its Best

In line with the trend we observed in the year 2020 (across industries and geographies), the IT & IT-BPM (referred to as ‘IT’ here onwards) industry in India has also seen a significant improvement in employee experience. There has been a 6 per cent improvement since last year in the positive experience of employees – both in terms of the Overriding Sentiment (percentage of positive responses on the survey statement ‘Taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work.’) and the Trust Index© Grand Mean (an average of positive responses to 59 globally standardised survey statements in our Trust Index © Survey) – for the 263 companies who participated in the Great Place to Work® survey over the last one year.

Furthermore, the Top 75 Workplaces (referred to as ‘Best’ here onwards) in the industry have seen an improvement of 2 per cent (still significant considering the high baseline they had from last year). Organisations that did not make it to the list (referred to as ‘Rest’ here onwards) have seen an exceptional increase of 8 per cent on positive employee experience as well. This is testament to the fact that the IT industry in India is offering a more positive workplace experience to its employees today as compared to what they did a few years ago. Keeping in mind the difficult socio-economic conditions, this is truly remarkable.

Retain and Innovate with Effective Leaders

Focus on Supervisory and Below Supervisory Levels

One clear area of concern primarily for the IT industry in 2021 (and maybe in 2022 as well) is Employee Retention. From our survey feedback, we observed that there exists a significant difference when it comes to intent to stay for a long time in the organisation within demographic groups in the IT industry. Not just that, employees who belong to Below Supervisory and Supervisory roles have a higher possibility of leaving the organisation, but also have the lowest confidence in the executive team’s judgment compared to those who belong to Managerial and Senior Managerial roles.

In the qualitative feedback from employees from Below Supervisory and Supervisory roles on ‘If you could change one thing about this company to make it a better place to work, what would it be?’, Opportunities for Career Growth and Involvement in decision making are the topmost workplace culture aspects featuring along with others such as Company Policies and Work-life balance. Best Workplaces™ outperform the Rest in these areas and consistently deliver a positive experience as well. Thus, focusing on these areas may prove to be a deal-breaker for employee retention primarily for Supervisory and Below Supervisory Roles.

Focus on For All Experience

Great workplaces FOR ALL™ are organisations that can maximise their human potential through effective leaders, meaningful values, and a deep foundation of trust with all employees, regardless of who they are or what they do for the organisation. Companies that have succeeded in creating great workplaces FOR ALL™ benefit from improved innovation and sustained financial growth. Our analysis of the survey data for the IT industry shows very significant differences in employee experience when we compare various groups within demographics such as Age, Experience, or Role with key areas such as Pay, Benefits, and Profit Share.

Differences in positive experience between two demographic groups are often above 20 per cent and can sometimes be up to nearly 30-40 per cent. This is noteworthy when compared to other industries. In the Manufacturing and BFSI industries, the differences in positive perception of Pay, Benefits, and Profit share are far lesser than in the IT industry i.e., between 10-15 per cent within a particular demographic.

When every employee has a consistently positive experience regardless of who they are or what they do for the organisation, it accelerates performance. Thus, FOR ALL™ experience matters and should be an area of focus for coming times.

The current gap in experience between the lower and higher tiers of the population in the industry needs immediate attention.

Focus on Leadership Effectiveness

Workplaces with highly effective leaders who consistenly deliver a positive experience to employees excel at retaining them for a long time. Our analysis of industry data for 2021 clearly shows a connection between Leadership Effectiveness (an index to measure how employees view senior leaders on matters such as strategic clarity, even-handedness, and authenticity in their relationships) and employee intent to stay longer.
 Employees from organisations at the top quartile of Leadership Effectiveness have more than 20 per cent higher intent to stay in their organisations for a long time.

Not just that but Leadership Effectiveness impacts organisational culture by encouraging its innovation capacity as well. Our study shows that the employee experience for Innovation Velocity Ratio (a measure of an organisation’s innovation capacity - determined by how many employees consistently experience meaningful opportunities to innovate versus those who find these opportunities lacking, absent, or even threatening) has a high correlation with Leadership Effectiveness. Companies featuring in the higher quartiles of Leadership Effectiveness also indicate a higher Innovation Velocity Ratio. For companies that have highly effective leadership, our data reveals that there are nearly twelve employees who are willing and able to innovate for every two who aren’t. For companies in the bottom quartile, the difference is significantly lesser – at four employees for every two who aren’t. Likewise, we also found that Best Workplaces™ excel at developing effective leaders. On average, the Best return a Leadership Effectiveness score of 80 against an average of 74 for the Rest.

How Can a For All™ Leader Be Identified?

You might be a For All™ Leader if you…

Surround yourself with smart, engaged people motivated to do their best

Lead teams that make innovative products and gain above-average business results

Lead teams that work well with other groups throughout the organisation

Often hear people who report to you say they love their jobs

Can recall at least a few instances where you have supported a direct report in succeeding but haven’t felt the need to take credit for your input

Have little to no voluntary turnover in the teams you manage

Are frequently asked to be a mentor or have helped multiple people advance in their careers

Receive positive performance reviews or 360 evaluations

Have been promoted based on your leadership skills or teams’ success

Are invited to speak about leadership and what your teams have accomplished, or run workshops on the topic

The Way Forward

We believe the case for developing leaders who can connect with employees and teams on a strategic and personal level, regardless of who they are and what they do in the organisation, to deliver a consistently positive experience is a must-do goal for achieving a High-Trust High-Performance Culture™. A workplace with highly effective leadership that can deliver a FOR ALL™ experience is better for people, better for business, and better for the world.