Sarabjeet is an HR professional with 10+ years of extensive experience in the technology field, with specialization in HR Transformation, Talent Management, Performance Management, OD, People Analytics, Employee engagement, HR Operations and Automation of HR processes. He was recently recognised as one of the 101 Top Tech HR Minds in India by World HRD Congress and CHRO Asia. He currently serves as the Associate Manager - HR at GS Lab.
A happy workplace doesn’t just emerge but it is a work of labour. And it’s all in the hands of the company leadership how they use culture to craft a happy workplace and foster growth.
We all talk about setting up the right culture in the workplace but what makes up this “culture” is something we always miss taking into account. Workplace culture is about the shared values, belief systems, attitudes, and the set of assumptions that bring people together in a workplace.
I really liked an analogy of concrete used to define workplace culture in one of the blogs that I read. Because, when concrete is first laid, it is flexible and can take many shapes. However, after some time, it will harden and then it’s very hard to change.
When an organisation grows, one of the biggest challenges is to hold on to and imbibe the company’s culture in new hires. I have seen companies being split into different cultures and then it’s like multiple companies with multiple cultures running under one umbrella. A lethal culture can derail any organisation causing it to lose key employees in the organisation who were actually part of their growth. You may say that no one is indispensable but there is a cost attached to every risk that we are not able to mitigate on time.
When goals are positively reinforced, and achievements are recognized, it leads to employees feeling valued which in turn creates a positive feeling in the workplace.
To avoid such a fate, we have to be proactive. Get out in front of the issues and uncover the blind spots. SO, WHAT DO WE DO? How can we say if our company’s culture is on the right track?
I have these 3 retrospective questions for you as an HR Leader or CEO of any organisation, which you should ask yourselves in order to evaluate how successful the culture at your workplace is –
Have we lost any employees whom we didn’t want to lose? What happened and why did they leave?
a) No attrition report does a focused retrospection like this. Let’s change the way we look at voluntary turnover.
b) Hard fact to accept – People do not change jobs hastily. Even a “job-hopper” needs to stay at a job for 12-18 months. This means that if someone is leaving, it’s not for performance issues, the company and leadership is partly responsible.
Important Point To Note –
How do you treat the employees when they plan to leave us?
Solution – Create clear goals and rewards for the employees to retain them instead of always running around the bush. When goals are positively reinforced, and achievements are recognized and celebrated, it leads to employees feeling valued, which in turn creates a positive feeling in the workplace.
How are problems solved?
a) No organisation is perfect. Problems are a part of the growth process and the structure of the organisation requires different approaches. So, how do we address them is very important.
b) Do your employees feel worried about losing their job if they present any problems to the management?
c) Do you feel we can comfortably challenge leaders in the organisation if they practice anything wrong?
d) Do not be an ostrich and ignore problems to an infinite loop. This leads you to be in more of reactive management of issues. In fact, welcome the problems as it gives you a chance to work on it and do this consistently.
Solution – Foster collaboration and communication among teams to solve the internal problems instead of HR and leadership addressing it all the time.
What usually gets talked about in your company’s one on ones between your employees and leaders? Do you know the top 5 problems discussed in the workplace?
a) Capture Hypocrisy: Have they done everything they ask their team to do, or are they headed down the path of “do as I say, not as I do”?
b) Remember, by the time people are frustrated and get a job offer, it’s too late for us to retain them.
Solution – Create an inclusive work environment. An inclusive workplace is one that values individual differences in the workforce and makes them feel welcome and accepted.
If you think that you are practicing all the above things positively, then you are crafting a happy workplace.
I met the CEO of a growing product company in one of the conferences where we shared dice. I clearly remember the topic of the panel discussion “every company is a mess”. And the conclusion of the discussion was – It’s all in the hands of company leadership to decide whether the company is able to achieve workplace happiness or not. Even the best company with a great culture will still have some work to do in some of the above areas. But the only reason for their survival is that they are in front to address the problems rather than ignoring it.