The dynamics of trust and collaboration vary across organisations as everyone will have nuanced differences in their definitions of these terms. The same holds true for WOW Skin Science, an Indian wellness and beauty brand.
“The foundation of trust and collaboration, for us, begins with understanding the sentiments and well-being of our employees. Understanding how our employees feel is crucial to provide them with what they need,” points out Smriti Khanna, VP-HR, WOW Skin Science.
To achieve this, the company has implemented a robust mechanism, including the use of ‘Employee Net Promoter Score’ (eNPS) surveys. This survey gathers comprehensive feedback in both subjective and quantitative forms, which the company meticulously analyses and examines closely to identify specific pain points that employees may be experiencing.
“The significance of this approach lies in the fact that when an employee shares feedback, and we respond with concrete actions, it builds a sense of trust. Employees feel heard, and there’s a collaborative spirit as they recognise that we are actively working to solve problems. This process eliminates the perception that their voices are unheard or that collaborative efforts are futile if individual contributions go unrecognised,” opines Khanna.
“The foundation of trust and collaboration, for us, begins with understanding the sentiments and well-being of our employees. Understanding how our employees feel is crucial to provide them with what they need.”
Smriti Khanna, VP-HR, WOW Skin Science
The company conducts these assessments every three months. Subsequently, it shares comprehensive macro-level results with the employees, collaborating with various leaders to enhance function-specific experiences. This iterative feedback loop ensures that insights are integrated into its ongoing process, fostering trust among employees that their concerns are acknowledged and addressed.
Khanna recalls that amongst the numerous suggestions they received, one of the most desired for by employees was ‘decompression’. Hence, the company made sure to gather and consider this feedback seriously. “Subsequently, we designed activities that align with employees’ preferences for easy use and flexibility. Following the implementation of these activities, we have observed positive responses from employees who appreciated the fact that their feedback had been heard. During events or activities, they tell us, “I remember suggesting this, and you took that feedback into account.” This has created a positive atmosphere and a sense of acknowledgment among employees,” she added.
The company has an excellent reward and recognition system in place as well. It ensures that projects of all sizes receive acknowledgment through various platforms including monthly and quarterly town halls. “These events are dedicated to recognising both significant and minor tasks. By showcasing well-executed cross-functional work during these sessions, we encourage collaboration and ensure that achievements do not go unnoticed,” enunciates Khanna.
Another aspect that makes WOW’s eNPS more effective is the involvement of leaders in the process. When pain points, problem areas, or areas for improvement are identified, leaders ensure that the initiatives are driven both from the top down and actively supported from the bottom up.
Giving another example, Khanna shares how they receive feedback regarding the processes in cross-functional areas, and how they usually organise collaborative sessions with cross-functional team members to address it. Additionally, each leader takes ownership of their functional eNPS charter and it’s integrated into their goals, emphasising the importance of maintaining positive eNPS scores within their teams.
“The employee experience within each function is a goal for all leaders. We make sure to address any functional feedback received. If there’s a particular emphasis on improvement in a specific area within a function, we concentrate on enhancing that particular aspect of the experience. Both at the organisational and functional levels, our focus is on providing tailored solutions to enhance the overall employee experience,” reveals Khanna.
The company actively focuses on fostering collaboration among its cross-functional teams and departments. Additionally, it also places great importance on respecting diverse work methods, thoughts and ideations. Everyone is encouraged to express their opinions at the table, fostering an environment where individuals have the right to share their views and engage in constructive discussions, including presenting counterarguments when necessary.
This mutual respect for diversified ideas has helped the company create a ‘cool culture’, driven by how the company not only hears the feedback but also acts on it. “Our leadership is easily accessible, and our office setup is designed to be more enjoyable and less traditional, allowing for greater flexibility and openness. Our environment is characterised by fun-filled elements; it’s not restrictive, and there’s a playful atmosphere,” points out Khanna.
When it comes to maintaining its cool culture, the company hosts ‘Fun Friday’ events to contribute to building team cohesion. It provides an interactive work environment, which is both relaxing and vibrant. This initiative encourages easy interaction and a blend of work and play, fostering a lively atmosphere in the office.
“Fun Fridays play a dual role in fostering team cohesiveness. First, they serve as a means of decompression for the hardworking and dedicated team, emphasising the importance of rest and relaxation after a demanding week. Second, they contribute to creating an engaging and enjoyable office environment, breaking away from a strictly formal setting,” believes Khanna.
Collaboration of individuals across functions not only fosters familiarity with colleagues, but encourages healthy competition. This approach enhances teamwork skills with lesser-known colleagues and also facilitates deeper connections among team members.
Additionally, the company also celebrates various occasions, including sports and new product launches to build an environment that values its work, appreciates diverse ideas, perspectives and thoughts.
Keeping up with its cool culture, the company also offers informal setups for employees across all departments. These rooms are versatile spaces that cater to the different needs and working styles of WOW’s team members, encouraging them to create their best work in a way that suits them best.
The rooms cater to diverse preferences, accommodating those who prefer quiet concentration as well as those who thrive on interaction and sharing of ideas. Equipped with beanbags, informal seating, a music system and a generous supply of snacks and coffee, these rooms offer employees the freedom to work individually or engage in collaborative activities. Additionally, the rooms provide a scenic view of Central Bangalore District, enhancing the overall working atmosphere.
“In designing such informal spaces at WOW, the emphasis is on the value of respect, where employees are made aware of project expectations, and autonomy is given to determine the best approach to reach goals. We allow individuals to adapt their workspace designs to suit their needs and follow methods that work best for them. We observe that people often adopt a blend of informal and formal setups, effectively contributing to our organisation’s success,” concludes Khanna.