What Makes For A Great Workplace?

Date:   Tuesday , June 14, 2016

Headquartered in Mumbai, Snapdeal is India\'s largest online marketplace featuring over five million products across a broad spectrum of categories like mobile phones, electronics, computer peripherals, apparels & accessories, cosmetics, footwear, kitchenware and many others

To become one of most celebrated start-ups, a company should be powered by a young, ambitious workforce hungry for growth. Also a rewarding environment is very crucial that they aspire for. In a nutshell, a perfect talent management philosophy can be summed up as empowering every individual to lead their own as well as the company\'s success. A fairly young company in an emerging sector doesn\'t have any set-in-stone templates to follow. Instead, they should keep their ears to the ground, developing an understanding along the way of the unique nature of the industry and their workforce.

Ownership & Recognition Are Important Motivators: Bootstrapped companies do not succeed in a top down environment, and despite their massive growth, that scrappiness remains in their DNA. In successful companies, employees are encouraged to take complete ownership of the results, with a clear understanding that \'you are what you deliver\'. One dominant and reassuring feedback they receive from employees is that the exposure and experience they have been able to gain during a short stint at the company, compared to multiple years spent elsewhere. They proudly are aggressive in chasing their goals, and that shows in every aspect of their work culture.

The people\'s performance and management system should be designed to reward this go-getter attitude. It should include goal setting, regular feedback & appraisal, own your development and win with the company. It is a transparent and agile goal setting and appraisal system, which lets the company and the employee course correct every six months. Additionally, they should have a robust and crowd-sourced rewards and recognition (monetary and non-monetary) system, where employees can routinely adulate co-workers for a job done well. Employees who get the maximum nominations from cross functional teams should win big titles and monies, not to mention recognition from across the company.

Employees Appreciate A Balanced Life: In the always-on world of start-up industry, it can sometimes be tough to strike a balance between personal and professional necessities. A company should set a goal to build a workplace that removes a lot of this unnecessary friction. One part of this is infrastructure based; the campuses should be designed to provide all key amenities of the modern urban life. This includes a state of the art recreation centre, a fully equipped gym and yoga room, a unisex salon, free shuttle services and a cafeteria that offers healthy eating options and likes.

The second part is building processes and policies that allow more flexibility around daily work and life needs. A range of options like flexi-timings, work-from-home & comp off options, extended maternity leaves, concierge services, night-time cab facility for female employees - together help create a worry-free and frictionless working environment for employees.

Learning On The Job: According to a recent study, \'learning opportunities\' ranks among the key value propositions that attract young Indian talent to a company. One should invest in creating formal and informal learning platforms for their employees. Programmes should be designed around not just core skills development, but also on soft-skills development to help employees learn how to successfully navigate challenges in corporate setups. Several initiatives should also be introduced to foster a healthy culture of tech innovation, within the company.

Last but not the least, as part of the mentorship and succession planning program, the companies should identify groups of high-potentials and train them to drive key business initiatives, and to emerge as the next wave of company leaders.

Diversity Is The Key To A Thriving Workforce: A truly diverse workforce is the hallmark of a great organization. It is a sign that you value the varied strengths and differences your employees bring to the table. For a company, diversity should not be just \'nice-to-have\' but \'must-have\' because a company should know that today\'s business challenges need new solutions and unique insights; and not more of the same old. Therefore, building an inclusive work environment is something they should prioritize from get-go. As part of the flagship diversity initiative, they should regularly engage employees to enhance awareness and encourage them to build an environment conducive a diverse workforce.

Among other things, they should conduct special hiring drives targeted at women, returning mothers, and the differently abled. Additionally, they should create a progressive policy structure to ensure an inclusive work environment. For instance, as part of the Reasonable Accommodation policy, they should provide differently abled employees with physical aids or assistive technologies that support them in performing their day to day activities, with more ease.

Putting It All Together: As the company grows, the needs of employees will continue to evolve as well. To ensure that as a company, they should keep pace and conduct the Great Places to Work Survey annually. It works as an invaluable pulse-check of the employees and also helps to chalk out any required interventions.