“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go” - Dodinsky
I am a firm believer of ‘vibe’ and its effects. Good vibes strengthen and construct almost everything; be it relationships, communication, productivity, et al, whereas bad vibes only reduce, destroy and discourage everything in its path. This strongly corroborates with workplaces too.
An unhealthy work environment is one that has unclear communication, no feedback loops and no retrospection. Such bad vibes hamper the willingness of an employee to come to work, or meet deadlines and can also cause mental and physical health issues, including anxiety, depression, hypertension and so on.
Alternatively, a workplace with good vibes propagates a feeling of comfort, energy, and happiness, which makes employees look forward to coming to work. It supports the employees’ emotional, intellectual, and physical well-being.
However, the definition of workplace has changed a lot since last year. Thanks to the pandemic, the workplace now has an extended dimension that extends beyond the four walls of an office space. Today, it can be someone’s coffee table, living space, even an hourly rented cubicle; sometimes, even all of these options put together with teams working remotely.
This remote working culture has strongly impacted the dynamics of the workplace ecosystem. While some find solace in comfortably working from home, which results in increased productivity, some find it difficult to separate their personal life from the professional one. This resulted in either over extended work hours or over extended breaks, neither of which adds an iota to employee performance.
A progressive workplace is one that continuously evolves
Change is the only constant. At a workplace, change is expected with new employees joining and old employees leaving the organization. It can also be due to a change in business goals or even evolving industry standards. So, to maintain a positive and productive environment, company leadership needs to build the work culture, based on a solid structure that is open for modification, from time-to-time. Of course, sudden knee-jerk changes tend to disrupt the workflow and rhythm of the employees. Therefore, small and monumental modifications are easier to incorporate and follow.
The management of an organization takes cognizance of their employee mindset, experience, productivity, work culture, etc., through different surveys, seminars, feedback mechanisms, town hall meetings and so on.
When at work, an employee should feel valued, have enough opportunities to learn, and be able to communicate freely across the organizational hierarchy. The inability to communicate or unclear communication is one of the key indicators of a toxic workplace. Hence, this is why reputed certifications, such as ‘Great Place to Work’ serve as a support and point of introspection for employers.
Great Place to Work® Certification is the most definitive Employer of Choice recognition that organizations aspire to achieve. The certification is recognized world over by employees and employers alike and is considered the Gold Standard in identifying and recognizing Great Workplace Cultures
In their own words, “Great Place to Work® Certification is the most definitive Employer of Choice recognition that organizations aspire to achieve. The certification is recognized world over by employees and employers alike and is considered the Gold Standard in identifying and recognizing Great Workplace Cultures”.
This certification encompasses a detailed survey, which helps the employer understand the trust levels between employees and their organization, compare their culture with competitors and the best companies, and discover how employees perceive top management and company practices.
For external viewers, it vouches for an organization's commitment to improve workplace culture, how well they project themselves as a brand, and how they stand in terms of domestic and global recognition.
Srijan received the certification this year, making it the 5th year in a row.
We received the certification this year, making it the 5th year in a row. The survey also revealed some noteworthy statistics:
- The trust index rating for the year 2021 is 82, higher than 77 in 2020 and 74 in 2019.
- The Credibility of Management stands at 83, higher than 79 in 2020 and 72 in 2019.
- Respect for people is 80 in 2021, compared to 77 in 2020 and 74 in 2019.
- Fairness at workplace is also 80 in 2021. It was 72 in 2020 and 71 in 2019.
- Pride: 85 in 2021, 78 in 2020, and 76 in 2019
- Camaraderie between People: 82 in 2021, 80 in 2020 and 76 in 2019.
- Compared to the top 50 mid-sized companies, Srijan scored 83 in ‘credibility’ compared to the average 90, 80 in ‘respect’ against 89, 80 against 86 in ‘fairness’, 85 to 92 in ‘pride’ and 82 to 90 in ‘camaraderie’.
We strive to be a ‘work-in-progress’ workplace
For us, it has always been a people-first approach. To ensure that we always adhere to this objective, we have certain practices and standards that form an essential part of our work culture.
- Feed-forwards and not feedbacks
Feedback is an expected norm at evolving workplaces. However, feedback alone does not impact the productivity and performance of an individual; it requires a few more concrete steps. We believe in feed-forwards. It not only focuses on sharing insights about performance, but also about paving the way to achieving additional goals.
- Timely surveys to understand workplace preference
From employers to employees, everyone agrees that the COVID-hit world poses a different set of challenges and experiences waiting to be unraveled. Among these, going back to the workplace is an important conversation that needs to be had. This requires forging a new relationship between employees and the organization. Realizing this, we let the autonomy lie with the employee. We conducted timely surveys to understand the major work options that employees are in agreement with. We narrowed them down to three: Working from office, hybrid working, and remote working. Employees have the freedom to choose for themselves, while as an organization, we are prepared to support all three.
- Choice to go fully remote
Interestingly, removing the pin on ‘the importance of location’ is beneficial for us too. Over the past few months, we have been able to hire pan India. For an organization, it opens doors to employ the right talent, as per the required roles and responsibilities.
- Mental Health support
This pandemic is not only about the virus, it is also about the far-reaching, psychological effects. They range from dealing with the loss of a loved one, inability to socialize, feeling of isolation, dealing with post COVID19 stress, and so on. All of these are highly potent factors that can deeply affect one's mental health. Taking a cue, all Srijan employees have access to a mental health assistance program. When needed, employees can seek help from a professional counselor regarding their mental health and this cover also extends to their immediate family members.
- COVID care leave
Understanding the severity and urgency of the situation, we have removed the cap on the amount of leaves that an employee can apply for. In case of COVID19 infection of self or family members, the employee can apply for leaves, in addition to the leaves allotted specifically for COVID19.
- L&D initiatives
Even before the advent of COVID19, learning and development has been an important part of our culture. Employees can take up any course that they feel will be beneficial for them and discuss the same with their reporting manager.
The future of workplace - Ignorance is not bliss
Our experiences have led to the realization that assuming or simply going by data is not enough. Of course data does add value to your decision making, however, direct communication and emotion analysis is the most effective way to understand what your employees need. It is only with effective communication that we can achieve our aim to become a collaborative and democratic workspace that is everyone’s happy place.
Ready to explore more about Srijan? Read about our culture.