Best workplaces

In a previous edition of LMD, we discussed the uncanny nexus between employees and customers. We said that while engaging employees may be easier than delighting customers, you won’t succeed without having a mindset of ‘employee equals customer.’

THE FUTURE Last year, over 700 companies registered with Great Place to Work® Institute in India to carry out a workplace culture assessment. Yet, in a study by the Economic Times and the institute, of the 100 Best Companies to Work For only 19 were new!

So what do these companies do to create such great employee experiences as evidenced by the lofty entry requirements to the list of 100 best workplaces?

It’s because the best workplaces create a high trust high-performance workplace culture by using the following levers.

GROWTH Bajaj Finance has been able to grow its business consistently over many years because the bulk of its front line staff promotions are automatic upon meeting preset criteria. This practice of automatic promotion creates transparency, a sense of fairness and positive ambitions in many employees.

At Classic Stripes, the highest weight in the key result area of each manager’s appraisal is given to developing the second and third line managers in their functions.

PRIDE Any employee at NTPC knows that every third bulb in the country is lit from electricity produced by this leading Indian power company. Employees may have small dreams but helping them achieve them generates a sense of pride.

The personal goals of new ‘Eurochamps’ (the sales force of Eureka Forbes) are noted on ‘dream cards,’ which are filed in personal HR folders. During quarterly reviews, the employee’s team leader checks where he or she is with regard to fulfilling their dreams and helps them map out plans to achieve such goals. These dreams could be simple but they’re important – like buying a car or contributing financially to a sister’s wedding.

FAMILY Contrary to assertions by some business leaders that they’re pro-team and not a family, evidence suggests that the best workplaces aren’t much better than others in weeding out nonperformance. They don’t have to try because they’re considerably better at transforming workers into performers.

Eighty percent of employees in the best workplaces believe their culture is marked by high trust and discretionary effort compared to only two-thirds of the rest. No wonder then that Salesforce, the number one workplace in the world, takes pride in its ohana culture.

In Hawaiian culture, ohana represents the idea that families – that are related by blood, adopted or intentional – are bound together… and that family members are responsible for one another.

When Marc Benioff created the Salesforce Foundation in 1999, he made sure that ohana was part of the company’s culture. For every company that is embarrassed to use the word ‘family’ in the context of its culture, there’s a best workplace like S. C. Johnson & Son that proudly advertises the fact that it is “a family company at work for a better world.”

BY Prasenjit Bhattacharya