With the festive season already having kicked in, people are soaking in the spirit of merrymaking. However, the energy, enthusiasm and festive aura is not only limited to family and friends, but spreads into the workplace. People eagerly look forward to the various fiestas, consequently contributing a few of their work hours to these celebrations.
Times like these may seem to be less productive at the workplace, but at the same time it is a great chance for businesses to derive the best out of their employees. But how? What can be possibly done to keep employees’ motivational level high and hence, maintain the company’s productivity? It is up to the HR teams to make that happen. Some HR experts we spoke to, say that companies can design their shifting patterns in such a manner that everyone can take advantage of the festival.
Sharad Sharma, SVP and head-HR, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance, says, “You can run some specific contests and specific themes around that festival. For instance, someone who gets the maximum business logged in can get a kicker of five per cent or 15 per cent on the incentive earned on that sale. They may even be offered a vacation over and above the financial incentives earned.”
He suggests that people may be given some extra points that add up when the company considers employees for promotions; or an opportunity may be offered to the best performers to be a part of a forum or a special invitee at leadership team discussions or meetings.
The methods can vary from industry to industry and it also depends on what kind of population the organistion is targeting. Most of the youngsters form the migrant population, so they will want to have an environment where they can be a part of the festival while being away from their families.
Another area of concern is how organisations can maintain productivity when employees go for long leaves during the festive months. It is common for employees to take time off during festive months to be with their families and it is difficult for companies to refuse them, but they can certainly make provisions for the same.
“The festive season tiptoes up on you quietly. It is, however, possible to maintain productivity. Plan for it and organise leave for teams, plan holiday coverages, and anticipate sickness. Create backup for temporary staff and use trainees, consultants and moon lighters. You can announce official long-duration shutdowns, work additional weekends in advance, and use the work-from-home option during this time effectively. Inform your stakeholders in advance and prepare them to expect delays. Be firm with clients on deadlines,” says Sriharsha A Achar, group chief human resources officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.
While some feel that organising theme-based activities and introducing contests where the employees can participate will hinder the focus level of employees, and further impact the productivity of the company, Mangesh Bhide, head-HR, Reliance Jio Infocomm has a different take on it. He says, “I don’t think that productivity will be hampered during these days because the employees will be working for the same five hours as they do usually and for the remaining four hours they will be engaged in participating in different activities.” On a daily basis, people tend to do actual productive work only for five hours in the said nine hours of office duty.
“I have observed in my career that in this process, whether it is engineering, manufacturing, telecom, software development or BPO, people are willing to participate in a time-bound way. Hence, they complete their task more quickly than normal days. I feel that it hardly ever affects their productivity because speed and efficiency is higher during those days, ” says Bhide.
All organisations knows that they need to engage their employees, but the method adopted for the same depends on the industry you are dealing with. “If you are targeting a BPO population where the maximum shrinkage happens, they are more interested in how you give them extra kicker in the incentive rewards. For a sales organisation, you need to give them the advantage of vertical movement — may be a vacation voucher which they otherwise cannot afford,” shared Sharma.
Festivals are times when companies can derive maximum productivity from their workforce because each employee wants to carry home more cash and gifts, and grab the opportunity to earn that extra money. Everyone wants to put in that additional effort so that they can spend more with and for their families.