Today there are very few limitations when it comes to office design. The comforts and sociable environments of home are being duplicated at the workplace, fostering creativity and imagination in the workforce.
Aptech Limited has transformed its workplace into an open office by demolishing the cabin culture. The leadership team sits in an open office space called ‘Aquarium’. This glassed arena represents a clear and trustworthy interaction between the leadership team and the rest of the organisation.
Enthusiastically speaking about the Aquarium, Anil Pant, CEO, Aptech, tells HRKatha that the cabinless office fosters collaboration, quick action and continuous feedback. “Previously, every CXO had a separate cabin, with little or no communication amongst them. If you look at our office today, we can just lean across the table and speak to each other.”
For the unplanned and ad-hoc conversations they have sit-out areas. These areas provide a comfortable and official, yet informal environment which facilitates discussions amongst the employees.
An open workplace promotes democracy, a free-spirited mind and creativity. Collaboration amongst the employees is high and it helps to create a ‘happy environment’ at work.
The benefit from the new layout, says Pant is, “The number of mails I receive each day has gone down to not more than ten now.” The CXOs have become more accessible to the rank and file of the organisation.
Typically, in a hierarchy culture, one has to go through a reporting manager but Aptech is changing that with its boundaryless workplace. The C-suite is as accessible to a management trainee as it is to the division manager.
Not having physical walls around leaders must be such a reassuring feeling for the employees!
We are living in an era where innovation starts with breaking rules and the same can be said about an open workplace. Moreover, agile workplaces are gaining significance because they can be easily re-configured to accommodate changes.
Innovation in performance appraisal
“While the numbers tell you one story, they miss out on other important aspects that need to be considered’
With the intent of super aligning an employee’s purpose with that of the business, Aptech has transformed the performance appraisal system. Now, in its second edition, the technically agile process enables a positive performance culture through continuous feedback and mutually-agreed objective setting.
While the previous model focussed more on performance oration, the new one is more about performance conversation. It encourages employees to be accountable for their own performance metrics.
“While the numbers tell you one story, they miss out on other important aspects that need to be considered,” reasons Pant. “To measure the potential of a manager starting a new business, it will be unfair to evaluate her/his performance based on numbers in the first year,” he adds.
To ease out the wrinkles arising from these circumstances, Aptech has introduced an appraisal management that identifies behaviours that drive high productivity through assessing individual’s competency.
For facilitating the understanding of the functionalities of the robust appraisal process, Shourya K Chakravarty, CHRO says, “We are conducting trainings at a Pan-India level to ensure the understanding of the new system and a smooth implementation.”
The overarching appraisal system will lead the mangers to chalk out a plan for the learning and development of employees.
Being a vocational training organisation, learning is in Aptech’s DNA. On one end, training is a business enabler and on the other, it is integral to capability enhancement. The leadership team is personally involved in the learning and development of employees.
“We are conducting trainings at a Pan-India level to ensure the understanding of the new system and a smooth implementation”
Besides the formal classroom training and outbound training, learning happens through the following:
‘Gyan’, the CEO’s workshop: This is meant for building the entrepreneurial abilities of employees. As part of these workshops, that are facilitated by the CEO, the leaders, including the CEO share their experiences with the employees.
‘Let’s Share’, the knowledge-sharing forum: This is a monthly activity aimed at sharing the best practices of individual brands and departments and creating a platform for continuous improvement through discussions and exchange of ideas between employees.
‘Away Yet Within’, the weekly snippets: HR shares snippets on a weekly basis with the idea of ‘Away Yet Within’.