Nikita Zutshi is a driven human resource professional with over 13 years of experience across industry and domains. She specializes in Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, Leadership Development, Transitions, Business partnering, Change Management, Employer Branding and HR Automation in Product Development, Startups and large scale organisations. Nikita currently serves as the Director – Human Resources at MakeMyTrip and leads the ‘org effectiveness’ vertical. She has helped brands like Dell, Accenture, and Bank of America shape up their HR operations. Nikita holds a degree in International Masters in HR from the University of Bologna.
Today, employees value happiness at work more than other on-job factors like salary and career prospects. Therefore, it is imperative for employers to create working spaces where employees enjoy their work and not be bogged down by it. Does it sound like your workplace? If not, let’s understand how you can make it a happy one.
A Happy employee is a productive employee. Today, Millennials are looking inside the workplace for ways in which employers can add value to their lives, save time and money, and improve their work-life balance. For them, salary and career prospects are not necessarily as important as a happy and healthy lifestyle. Workplace, therefore, should be a fun place to be in where employees enjoy their work and not be bogged down by it. But how do you really create a happy workplace? Let’s understand.
What Makes a Happy Workplace?
Culture is defined by the shared values, belief systems, attitudes that people swear by at a workplace. It’s important to effectively communicate and live your core values. Your values should be part of the DNA of your workforce and they should act as a north star while taking critical decisions. Be proud of your values. It is crucial that your values are reflected in your behaviour so that your employees trust and feel a personal responsibility towards these values. Encourage people to take risks, be curious and creative without fear of failure and trust your employees to do the right thing. With freedom comes responsibility and by giving autonomy to every employee, you are also making them accountable. This, in turn, will increase their capacity to learn, adapt, change, think critically, and challenge themselves to look at possibilities and no problems. By doing this, you are paving way for a creative and positive workforce where employees treat the organisation as their own.
Spend time communicating with your employees. Have leaders lead the way by having regular catch ups with employees across levels. Spend time listening to employees and being open to feedback. Use the forum to receive feedback on concerns of employees and take time to address them, find what employees could do to get involved, and have them share great ideas to help build the company for the future.
For employees working out of remote locations take help of technology. At GO-MMT (stands for MakeMyTrip, Goibibo & redBus) we use an Artificial Intelligence- based chatbot to help us solve this challenge. This chatbot is used to create touch points based on the employee’s level and tenure in the organisation. It helps us take timely and proactive measure.
A nice side perk: you get to know your employees a little better and learn more about them. This helps them be more engaged and ready to go the extra mile at work. A win-win for both.
When employees are collaborating they are also innovating and delivering better products or services. Create forums for employees to collaborate. Be it cross-functional projects or goal setting. Have employees come together to set goals and understand their role in the bigger picture. When employees clearly know their role, have what they need to fulfill their role, and can see the connection between their role and the overall organisational purpose, that’s the recipe for creating greater levels of engagement and in turn employee happiness.
Employee Friendly Programs and Policies
Sure, it’s called work, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a drudge. There should be a purpose for programs at work and they should directly correlate to productivity, output, energy and job satisfaction.
At GO-MMT, our Holiday experts channel has 750+ women working from home and selling holiday products to our patrons. We also have an uncapped leave policy, where employees can take as many leaves as they want, within the given framework and subject to approval by their manager. We want our employees to think like owners and consider what’s best for both themselves and the company. Letting employees figure out their own vacation time shows that we trust and respect them, which in turn strengthens their commitment to the company.
Rewards & Recognition
Fostering a happy and motivated workforce is not only about offering financial benefits and incentives to employees. These benefits are as much about attracting the best people in a competitive employment market, as they are about retaining and making staff feel valued. Define career paths for employees, build a transparent policy for career progression, create personalized learning programs for up-skilling and clearly define measures of performance.
No single behaviour more viscerally and reliably influences the quality of people’s energy than feeling valued and appreciated. Loudly and proudly acknowledge and appreciate employee commitment, meritocracy and relationships. Recognize these behaviours in the form of monthly, quarterly and annual awards, team building trips, project completion/target achievement celebrations, off-sites and many more such activities. Imbibe the culture of Everyday Recognition and encourage positive behaviours in the workplace. An engaged employee is contagious.
Reaping the Benefits
Happier workplaces lead to increased retention, productivity, efficiency, reduced absenteeism, better employer brand and employees acting as advocates willing to make the workplace a home, rather than just a stepping stone.