Bizongo, a B2B platform for made-to-order products in India has introduced an interesting policy for its over 300-strong workforce. The startup has empowered all its employees to create new or amend existing HR polices in the company!
Talking to HRKatha, Aarfa Shaikh, associate director-people success, Bizongo, shares that the firm decided to implement this practice a year back. As a result, a couple of policies have been successfully amended at Bizongo in the last one year.
The firm’s tech team has a culture of inviting users from different backgrounds to give their feedback on the tech product. This helps the team make suggestive changes to the product and offer a better experience to their users.
Called ‘bug bashing’, this practice at Bizongo once saw Shaikh participating in a session. That is where the idea struck Shaikh, who decided to discuss it with Ankit Tomar, CTO & co-founder, Bizongo. Fortunately for Shaikh, Tomar was also on the same page.
“Just as the product is close to the heart for the tech team, for HR professionals, our HR policies are close to our heart,” declares Shaikh.
Together, Shaikh and Tomar deliberated on the idea of opening up the HR policies to employees for ‘bashing’. Shaikh admits that there were times when the doubt, “can we be bold enough to take the feedback” did arise in their minds. Yet, they decided to go forward with the idea.
Post the implementation of ‘policy refresh,’ Bizongo shared the list of all HR policies with the employees and everyone voted for the policies that needed improvements and amendments.
In the first cycle, the leave and attendance policy was voted the highest. Post this, the Company handed out forms to all the employees to list all the positive points and negative points pertaining to the leave and attendance policy.
“Though the idea is to improve all HR policies, we also want to retain the good parts of all the existing policies,” points out Shaikh. The employees were also asked to rate the policies well.
“As employers, we tend to just create policies that we think we need and expect everyone to follow the same. However, as a company, we do not wish to have that kind of a mindset”
Aarfa Shaikh, associate director-people success, Bizongo
In the form, employees listed all the suggested changes in the policy. This was followed by a group discussion session. Forums were created amongst the employees to deliberate on the suggested improvements.
“We encouraged them to think like policy makers and entrepreneurs, while discussing the changes,” says Shaikh. During these discussions, the HR team made notes of all the conversations and collated all the points.
The HR and leadership teams at Bizongo then deliberated on the changes and implemented the same on the basis of all the feedback they received from the employees.
The first change made post this exercise was the automation of the attendance- approval process. Earlier, not only did managers have to approve the attendance, but paternity leaves were capped at six days. Now, the latter has increased to 28 days. Fathers have the flexibility to take these leaves anytime during the year.
Changes were made in the probation leave policy as well. Earlier, employees who were on probation were eligible for a limited number of leaves, but now they enjoy the same benefits as the regular employees at Bizongo.
Additionally, Bizongo now has a uniform notice period across the organisation —one month for every employee.
As per Shaikh, the process of improvements and amendments of HR policies at the firm will be a continuous one, one policy at a time. Some HR policies such as leave and attendance took only three weeks to be altered and improved. However, some such as the notice period policy, being sensitive in nature, may take relatively more time.
Apart from amending exiting policies, Bizongo has also witnessed some new policies being created, tenure leave being one of them.
As per the tenure leave policy, irrespective of the number of years an employee completes at the firm, an equal amount of leave days are added to the leave package.
For instance, an employee who has completed three years will see three leaves being added. “I personally found this to be a great suggestion from an employee. It is like the Company trying to give back to the employees — in some way— the amount of time they spend away from their families for work, so that they can make up for the lost time to some extent,” asserts Shaikh.
All the improvements are announced at the townhall meet. Not just that, employees are given credit for certain good policy suggestions too. For instance, the ‘tenure leave policy’ was suggested by an employee in the finance department. The said employee’s name was announced at the townhall meet, and he was given applause for the same.
With the ‘policy refresh’ campaign, Bizongo wants to build a culture of empowerment. “As employers, we tend to just create policies that we think we need and expect everyone to follow the same. However, as a company, we do not wish to have that kind of a mindset,” says Shaikh.
This move has certainly brought happiness amongst the employees, as observed by Shaikh. Recalling one incident, Shaikh shares how during one of the interviews, the candidate expressed his exciement at meeting Shaikh. When asked why, he revealed that one of the interviewees had told him about the ‘policy refresh’ campaign at Bizongo, which he had found rather impressive. “Employees take pride in telling people about this move Bizongo has taken. There’s nothing like our employees becoming our own brand ambassadors,” reveals Shaikh.