It all started in 2015, when RPG Group — the Indian conglomerate with diverse businesses in various sectors, with CEAT tyres being one of its popular brands — changed the way it led its employee-engagement agenda. Talking to HRKatha, Supratik Bhattacharyya, chief talent officer, RPG Group, shares how the Company opted to change its employee-engagement model to that of employee happiness. This change, according to Bhattacharyya, was led by none other than Harsh Goenka the chairman of RPG Group himself, truly believing in the same and leading the initiative from the front.
Bhattacharyya reveals that the reason to change to the happiness model, from a traditional employee-engagement model, was very simple and straightforward. The group realised that only when employees are happy can they be rightly be motivated. Creating an environment of happiness had to be the starting point, a bare minimum necessity for delivering on all other missions of the organisation.
Unleash talent, touch lives and outperform
Bhattacharyya elaborates the three missions of the Company. The first mission is to be people first and unleash talent. That means, no matter what the business, the Company should unleash people’s talents. The second is to touch the lives of the people. This means, the Company should create an impact in the lives of the people, irrespective of the type or nature of business. For instance, the way CEAT makes tyres — before anything else, the product is made keeping the safety of people on top, which touches people’s lives. The third mission is to outperform. With the available resources and talent, every business of the Company should thrive and outperform in the market. The Company has realised that it can achieve these three goals only if its employees are happy at work!
The Happiness Framework
While the thought of employee happiness germinated in 2015 at RPG, the Group officially launched the programme three years later, aptly calling it ‘Hello Happiness’. It was in 2020, that the Company decided to go deeper into this subject, because it realised that to drive happiness amongst people, it is very important to know what makes or drives happiness amongst the employees. “We figured that we did inspiring work, because we were a bunch of happy people. We wanted to delve deeper and find out what really makes us happy. What are those little or big things that drive each one of us forward,” explains Bhattacharyya. This desire led to some deep research and interactions with all the employees. Based on the feedback, in 2020, RPG came up with a happiness framework — a collection of insights about the things that keep employees happy at RPG. Though Bhattacharyya is unable to reveal details about the happiness framework due to confidentiality reasons, he does drop some hints on what it entails.
“The RPG Happiness Framework will be the driving force behind everything we do, everywhere, and every day”
Supratik Bhattacharyya, chief talent officer, RPG Group
As he rightly points out, happiness comes in different forms and is almost always a mix of different factors for different people. What emerged from the deep and enlightening conversations with the employees went on to form the new RPG Happiness Framework. “After so much research and in-depth conversations, we can certainly say that, as a company, we know what makes our people happy. This Framework will, therefore, be the driving force behind everything we do, everywhere, and every day,” asserts Bhattacharyya. Henceforth, whatever happens at the Company will be measured basis these insights provided by the Happiness Framework.
Simple and straightforward
The things that make people happy at RPG can range from providing a mix of many different things and moreover giving a meaningful day at work to people. For each one, happiness is derived from different things. While some may gain happiness from growth in their professional life, others gain it from doing something meaningful or purpose led, which impacts the society at large.
The source of happiness in an individual’s life can be very basic or simple. However, in reality, many employees fail to experience such things at their workplaces. At RPG, things are simple and straight forward. Interestingly, Bhattacharyya reveals that, happiness for the Company does not mean organising fun activities at work or throwing parties for the employees every now and then. For RPG, happiness at work means providing the right learning opportunities to the people to grow within the company. Happiness at RPG is about offering the right environment for employees to feel happy in.
Additionally, the Company has a scientific way of determining the happiness quotient, and Bhattacharyya very proudly reveals that as of now, in the very recent survey, RPG’s happiness quotient was quite impressive.
After launching Hello Happiness, the Company has seen a tremendous improvement in productivity, retention, employee well-being and absenteeism. Some of the initiatives at the Company which ensure a happy environment are:
EAP: The employee assistance programme or EPA is also extended to all family members of the company. Anybody going through any kind of stress or tension at work can avail this service.
Leaves: The Company encourages people to use all their leaves instead of accumulating them over a period of time, to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Flexibility: Given the current situation, even after the pandemic ends, all employees at the Group are free to work remotely for 50 per cent of their time. Even employees working at the factories, in the administration department, can avail this benefit.
Transparency: The Company promotes openness and transparency at work. Anybody can ask questions and seek answers.
A professional/work environment that promotes happiness also has a positive impact on employees’ personal lives. If things are good at work, they end up remaining happy at home too. Little wonder then, that Hello Happiness has become RPG’s way of life.