The uncommon is the new common for employee policies and practices, and this is definitely keeping HR professionals on their toes. Interestingly, many of them are thinking out-of-the-box to churn up unconventional ideas aimed at enhancing employees’ experiences at work and improving their work-life balance.
There are many facets to employees’ life at work. Experiences are created in many ways, right from a simple cup of morning coffee to more serious affairs, such as career progression. In addition, there are matters relating to the organisation’s exit policy and its stand on transparency, to name a few. We are looking at a large field with infinite opportunities for HR to make a mark. Thus, HR, along with the other C-suite leaders has to take the responsibility of setting a new precedence for the overall well-being of the employees.
HRKatha has curated some of the unconventional practices as follows:
New sanitation officer
Special circumstances require special measures, and our leaders are quick to act in these matters. Recently, Kishore Poduri, country head-HR, DBS Bank India, shared a post on social media, recognising and appreciating an employee, King Hwee, from DBS Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Administration (CRESA). Apparently, King Hwee is responsible for workplace precautionary measures, such as the enhanced sanitation regime and setting up temperature-monitoring stations across the offices to ensure the fast and smooth implementation of operations during times, such as the COVID-19 situation for the ease of employees.
Convention makes it unconventional
The traditional practice of HR professionals meeting employees personally is rare. In the current scenario, when automation has taken over employee engagement, the Vedanta Group has re-started this practice and christened it, ‘HR Connect’. “Our entire HR team tries to meet at least three employees every month. These meetings are to develop a personal connect, become a confidante and also support the employee’s career progression through strategic advising,” says Jayesh Kumar, joint president-HR, Adani Group.
The face-to-face meeting helps the HR to gauge the person’s true feelings with respect to emotions, such as anxiety and fear, and understand each person’s distinct ability and personality. These meetings are held regularly every three to four months, to make the relationship strong.
At Lendingkart, the policy makers have innovated the leave policy to include holidays on birthdays and marriage anniversaries for their employees. Bratindra Sanyal, head – HR, says, “For our unmarried staff, we have a ‘Singles Day Out’, where they are entitled to claim a planned leave at their discretion. In the past, employees were given two optional leaves and observing the pattern of popular choice we noticed that people prefer to take holidays during birthdays and anniversaries.”
Senior leaders are given a chance to rate their peers through a unique programme called ‘Peer Rating’. Here, they give ratings to their peers on the basis of the core principles of the Company. This is done anonymously and gives the employees a fair idea of how they are perceived by their peers with respect to their core principles.
One of the largest players in medical technology, BD, has an uncommon practice of the CXOs reaching out to all the employees of the Company, situated in multiple locations, over a hectic five- to seven-day schedule. Speaking about it to HRKatha, Anant Garg, director-HR, India and South Asia, BD, says, “At BD, twice a year the leadership team travels to five of our regional headquarters and conducts a series of open house/townhalls with our associates there, within a span of five to seven days. This is called ‘Between Us’, and it provides a great platform for us to listen, connect and co-create our people agenda. The entire organisation looks forward to these sessions and it underscores our commitment to walk the talk on associate engagement.”
Bajaj Allianz Life took its homegrown practice of planking — which started in 2018, to inculcate a fitness regime amongst the employees — and turned it into a large wave with time. More and more people from within and outside the organisation joined the planking mission. The Company often posted videos of employees along with senior leaders in the plank position, testing their endurance levels. At present, the Plankathon has become synonymous with the brand and also features in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest number of people in a plank position at one time.