Happiness at the Workplace – Mumbai Edition
Event Articles

Happiness at the Workplace – Mumbai Edition

May the Fourth saw the return of the All Things Talent Community in Mumbai, bringing some fresh ideas on the Table on the subject ‘Happiness at the Workplace’, with over 100 HR Professionals on a Saturday, there were some wonderful keynotes, best practices, some inspiring stories & valuable anecdotes!

We had the pleasure of hosting our panelists for the session:

  1. Nimisha Pathak – Director HR at Alvarez & Marsal
  2. Katyayani KrishnaHead HR – South Asia at Maersk
  3. Colin Mendes – General Manager – HR & Admin at Voltas Beko
  4. Aalok Purohit – Director – Global Talent – North America at Zycus [Now, Director – University Relations and Campus Branding – APAC at Optum]
  5. Naveen Venna – Head- Talent Acquisition and Talent Management at NIVEA India
  6. Poonam Ajgaonkar – Human Resources Director (India) at Experian.
  7. Babita Basak Associate Director, Human Resources at Edelweiss Financial Services

The event began with a crisp 8 minute – Best Practices Session from each panelist! 

First on board, we had Katyayani Krishna, who shed some light on wellbeing, income, social support, health, freedom, trust & generosity on being some indicators of Happiness at the Workplace.

Stating that being in HR makes the leaders have an OCD to measure stuff, Katyayani is a strong believer of:

We sometimes look at metrics while being in HR, happiness according to me is beyond metrics. 

Katyayani Final copy


Moving forward with happiness being something which is very specific to individuals, finding the purpose and meaningfulness in what one is doing is something that is very essential for happiness, is also what Katyayani believes in. 

She concluded by adding some emphasis on physical & mental health, the families get thankful for taking care of their member who works in the organisation, and in this mindfulness journey, one is able to deal more & take in more. 



We had Nimisha Pathak take the lead next. 

She began with the idea of the key factors attracting talent in this industry – It’s the quality of work that they do. Having an experience working with Consulting Organisations, she believes:

We only have our people. We have nothing else. We don’t have machinery, technology, we don’t have tools. We have people. That’s what our assets are.

She comes from the opinion that it becomes very critical & important for an organisation to choose the right leaders, to choose the right people to go to the next level. 

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It is also felt that there is a constant need for the leaders to ensure that when they are promoting & hiring people, the right talent is hired, not just from an IQ perspective but also from a high EQ perspective.  An organisation needs people who respect individuals, leaders who give a sense of motivation & take pride in their people, to make them work & achieve happiness at the workplace. 

She concluded with most of us are not even being aware of what makes us happy. If this is enquired with someone, they will take a pause, a moment & then answer.

Aalok Purohit followed suit after Nimisha’s session.

A session of contrary opinions than the other panelists, Aalok began the session on India being a predominantly unhappy country, being ranked 140 on the Happiness Index. 

I think we are the most predominant and profitable country as well, which means happiness & productivity and happiness & profitability are totally inconclusive.

Being of the opinion that happiness is over-quantified, Aalok felt that if they are in the constant endeavour to make people happy at the workplace, then they are not preparing people for work. Essentially, a culture of pure, sheer happiness doesn’t work. 

Aalok Purohit

It was also felt by him that the nature of the business is dynamic &  the strategy constantly changes, which brings uncertainty to the minds of the people. He felt that there was a constant need to:

  • Trust the people. 
  • Remove the bureaucracy & the chain of emails that one would like to inculcate because people would want something in black and white.
  • Enquire from the people whether they know what their meaning to work is? Whether they are aware of what they are doing & why they are doing the work?

The session continued with Naveen Venna laying some light on the topic of discussion.

Not all experiences can turn into remembered happiness or not all remembered happiness are actually experienced happiness.

Naveen was of the opinion that happiness is something that is very personal. When an individual is all set to join an organisation, they would like to know what kind of investment is going to be made on them on a professional note. 

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He is a believer that there is a lot of frustration & misalignment that may arise when the goals are not set. He is of the opinion that as an HR, it needs to be ensured by them that all people are aligned to one common purpose that the organisation is driving. 

Some key take-aways suggested by Naveen were:

  • Ensuring that the teams celebrate – Celebrations always work & make a huge difference by enabling to bring out the best in people!
  • Making jobs entrepreneurial in nature would enable giving the employees exposure & the ownership to drive things na,turally within the organisational guidelines. 

The All Things Talent Community welcomed Poonam Ajgaonkar back, who had already been a part of the Mumbai Edition of the All Things Talent Event earlier.

Happiness at the workplace is not one thing, it’s many little things. What we do miss out sometimes are the micro-experiences that can actually make a difference to our employees.

Answering the question of what happiness meant to Poonam, it was bringing their whole self to work. 

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Poonam felt that as HR Professionals, they feel so responsible to create happiness at the workplace, however she is of the opinion that happiness is everyone’s business. 

What you bring to the table as an employee, is also going to impact your team. It is not HR’s business alone or the manager’s business alone, it is everybody’s responsibility to create a happy workplace.

Saving the best for last, Colin Mendes brought a series of fresh ideas to the ongoing conversations. 

Beginning with the question in talks: What does happiness actually mean to both the individual & the organisation?

Creating a positive environment or having an environment where you actually bring out the best in people.


Colin Mendes.jpg

He also laid emphasis on the Work-Life-Integration. Creating and synergising an environment that is able to integrate both work & life, a facilitator to the same would be to celebrate accomplishments & achievements, which is something that everyone loves, people love to feel recognised & appreciated. 

After breaking for an intermission to connect & rejuvenate, our seventh panelist for the afternoon, Babita Basak joined us to share some of her thoughts on the subject.

The Panel Discussion was focused at getting some Best Practices in place & taking some unanswered questions from the audience.

Babita was of the opinion:

To me, happiness means energy. You walk into the organisation and you feel the energy of the organisation, what does the energy look like?

Further adding some valuable pointers on the table, it was felt by Babita that there is a changing context in the organisations & a lot of elements that encompass the happiness of an employee. There are two aspects of this: one is centric towards the aspirations of the employees & the other with the engagement of them. The same differ from one employee to the other, thereby making it very complex for anyone in the organisation to think through how the happiness quotient should look like. When you look at the aspirations, what would an employee want to see?

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In addition to the above, Babita was of the opinion that Organisations are made of people, if the organisation needs to look happy, the same comes from the people who work there, irrespective of the level. There should also be a common feeling from the leaders that they are bringing some purpose to the work & they should be able to find meaning to the overarching vision & mission of the organisation. 

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Taking some unanswered questions from the audience, our panelists shed some opinions on the discussions centred on being able to drive Workplace Happiness initiatives, the impact of pay on happiness, taking care of the employees during downsizing, some interventions & some metrics on workplace happiness  of organisations and furthering the up-skilling & re-skilling of the targeted folks in an organisation. 

Some fresh opinions, out of the box thinking, interesting highlights & most importantly, a great audience & our highly experienced panelists drove the event to such a success!

A huge vote of appreciation to all the HR Professionals who spent their Saturday with us, adding value to the set of conversations that took place!


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