THE GIG ECONOMY

CACTUS is a global medical communications agency with a unique business model. To meet their customers’ requirements for speedy turnaround and specialized subject matter expertise, their workforce includes a large number of freelancers. Their freelancers can work from anywhere and can select the number of hours they want to devote to working with the organization. They also conduct freelancer surveys to engage with freelancers and send them regular updates and bulletins. Their system allows freelancers to mark their unavailability. Therefore, jobs are only allocated to them when they are free to take them on. Their freelancers also have the option of developing their skills through organization’s academic resources. The organization also offers incentives and bonuses for regular high-performing freelancers.

ANGREZI PAATHSHAALA

Marico created a brand with a purpose (Nihar Shanti Amla) and 5% of all proceeds from the sale of under this brand is contributed to the cause of children’s education. As part of this, the organization launched a first-of-its-kind mobile phone based tutorial – ‘Angrezi Mobile Paathshaala’, a missed call based English learning platform. Through this initiative, people are encouraged to give a missed call to a designated number. Following this, they receive a call back which leads to a series of interactive nine English language learning modules. The outcome has been phenomenal as the Angrezi Mobile Paathshaala has been able to garner upwards of 16.20 Lakh unique callers since its inception.


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THE RED BOX

Everything begins with an idea. At Adobe, they strongly believe in empowering employees to explore, evaluate and evolve their own idea through the Red Box Process. They fund early exploration of the ideas through a pre-paid innovation credit card directly given to the employees with a certain budget and empower them with about 20% of their time to work on new ideas. The red box program has generated more new ideas from more employees, faster and at a lower cost than previous innovation efforts. The red box has also earned strong enthusiasm and commitment from employees who have consistently given the program a Net Promoter Score of over 90 percent. In the program’s first three months, few innovators had already earned blue box funding and started on the path to turning their dream into reality.


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PAUSE. IT’S A MOMMY.

Pitney Bowes, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, has introduced a unique policy for women employees on maternity breaks wherein performance rating for the new mother is sealed basis her last two years’ performance. The same is calculated by taking last year’s rating or the average of last two years’ rating, whichever is higher. This gives a fair chance for career growth and development to women on maternity breaks.


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OFFER THEM TIME FOR LEARNING WHILE EARNING

90 percent of the people who join McDonald’s (India), start at frontline roles and come from tougher socio-economic backgrounds. Noting this trend and closely analysing the needs and desires of this group made the organization realise the value of education in the mind of these employees. Since then, McDonald’s has partnered with educational institutes to offer undergraduate and post-graduation programmes at subsidised fees to their employees. All those who join these courses under the Learn-While-You-Earn program also get 48 days of paid leave during the year to study. By looking at people as more than just resources and willing to impact their lives positively, leaders at McDonald’s have been successful in building high levels of respect and loyalty that drive performance.


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THE ULTIMATE TRAINING PROGRAM

How does Google nurture a culture where its people are always learning? At Google, 80% of all tracked trainings are run through an employee-to-employee network called “g2g” (Googler-to-Googler). Their Googler-to-Googler program makes this possible by offering Googlers the chance to share their passions and expertise with other Googlers. Many of the most popular classes as part of this program focus on general professional skills, like negotiations and leadership, and role-related skills, like sales training and Python coding. It’s also helped upskill huge numbers of employees around new opportunities. For example, as mobile computing on smartphones exploded, thousands of Googlers went through an Android training bootcamp run by the very Googlers who worked on Android.


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SPEED MENTORING

Our analysis shows that the world’s best workplaces are particularly adept at nurturing people growth. Cisco’s Speed Mentoring Program, modelled after speed dating, focuses on quick-hit information, time-efficient networking and the methodical pursuit of a mentor. Speed mentoring facilitates the development of mentoring relationships by providing a forum for getting to know multiple individuals in a single setting. A given mentee meets multiple mentors, spending 5 minutes with each – this simulates a multi-level, time-bound approach to networking and relationship building that helps participants quickly identify individuals with common goals and mutual interests.


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NUKKAD NATAKS

Organizations in India are required to implement awareness programs according to the sexual harassment prevention guidelines. American Express, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, partnered Be.Artsy, a social enterprise that offers several innovative products to increase awareness on such social issues, to design a play Nukkad Natak to create awareness for their millennial employees. This form of street theatre is very popular as it enraptures the audience with its sheer energy, presentation and delivery and is also a medium by which they can engage a large audience in a single forum. The pilot for the series, conducted in May 2015 garnered a heartening response from the leadership as well as from their employees and covered 1250+ employees.


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GUERRILLA HIRING

The term guerrilla marketing is a concept that was first popularised by Jay Conrad Levinson in his book in 1984. At its core, it involves catching the attention of your audience with your message when they are not expecting it. Lemon Tree Hotels, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, uses recruitment cards to assist in talent acquisition. These are the size of visiting cards and come in red, green and yellow, Lemon Tree’s brand colours. The main intent behind these cards is to hire people who went out of their way to provide good service and really made an impression. When an employee sees someone (for instance at a coffee shop) going the extra mile and could be hired, a recruitment card is shared, instead of the personal business cards. This helps maintain anonymity and also points the prospective employee in the right direction to establish formal contact with the organization.


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COURTING FUTURE EMPLOYEES

Stories are one of the earliest social tools to unite people towards a common goal. Organizations have been telling great stories to their potential customer for years to build the brand over time. Most organizations start engaging potential customers even before they express interest in buying a product, but, they do not start engaging with potential employees until they apply for a job. Zappos stopped posting jobs on career sites and set up a Zappos Insider Program. Instead of applying for a job, job seekers can now introduce themselves and become “insiders”. Zappos Insiders are people who might want to work for Zappos sometime down the road. It’s a way for people to stay in touch and learn more about the organization’s culture even before applying for a job. Most people sign up to receive updates through social networks or emails.


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LESS KNOWN TALENT SOURCES

Organizations look for different things in people for different roles. However, most times, two traits are common requirements across roles. Does the potential employee relate to the organization’s vision? Does the potential employee understand the organization’s customers well? Instead of limiting referrals to existing employees, Ujjivan Financial Services, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, requests their customers to refer potential candidates who can join the firm. There was an instance where a customer took a loan from the company to run a small business; her son went on to act as a field agent for the company, collecting those loans and educating others about their services. This has another advantage, the new employees come from the same socioeconomic background as the customers, and therefore they can easily relate to the organisation’s core mission and culture.


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NO MORE #METOO

Many people at work are still blind to the way that personal remarks, offensive jokes and the like can make a workplace hostile. While most organizations talk about zero tolerance, sexual harassment is still prevalent in modern day workplaces. Most victims and witnesses do not speak up out of fear. Manipal Hospitals, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, rigorously implements their sexual harassment prevention program. They have trained over 650 people, including doctors who spread awareness within the organization. Last year, their efforts covered 25000 employees across the group.


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CAN EMPLOYEES AFFORD TO RETIRE?

People don’t like to think about pension and routinely underestimate the costs. At Forbes Marshall, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, counseling sessions are organized for all members retiring that year from the organization on issues such as health and finances. Post-retirement, members are encouraged to remain associated with the organization as consultants and mentors. The retired members are supported in one of the most difficult life stages and the organization gets to retain their expertise.


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THE MACHINES ARE COMING

The Economist recently argued that with the disruptions in the modern economy, particularly technology, ongoing skill acquisition is critical to persistent professional relevance. The People Leader Learning Path programme at American Express, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, aims at developing capabilities of each individual on a continuous basis and helps create a pipeline for succession planning and a supply of talent for leadership. By identifying needs that go beyond the immediate job, the programme develops the long-term potential of people and provides a formal approach to leadership development.


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DO YOU NEED A GYM AT WORK?

According to a Leeds Metropolitan University study, on days when employees visited the gym, their experience at work changed. They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues. Salesforce, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, offers its employees reimbursement up to INR 5,000 per month under its wellness reimbursement scheme. The scheme covers a host of options like health club membership, sport training facilities, yoga, and massages. Not all organizations need a gym at work, but, all can benefit from healthier employees and people are far more likely to stick with activities they genuinely enjoy doing.

OBSERVE, NOT JUST MEASURE

Building a high-performance culture involves engaging employees, the extent of which can be measured in several ways. At Intuit India, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, these measures go beyond just self-reported data. The team that works on their intranet examines search terms to extract useful information, while their news team releases reports to understand what stories get the most views. While applying latest marketing technologies to explore how their business-specific information is being received by their employees, they track viewership of broadcasts and other blog posts. This helps to observe employee engagement.


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HOW TO INSPIRE EMPLOYEES?

Ujjivan’s mission is to provide a full range of financial services to the economically active poor who are not adequately served by financial institutions. Around 8000 of their employees serve over 2.5 million active customers making it one of India’s leading microfinance institutions. The organization publishes a monthly note to all employees sharing turnaround stories of successful enterprises of their customers. Such stories display how the customer was able to transform her life with the help of microloan extended by the organization. This gives a sense of pride and adds a special meaning to the work each employee does in the organization.


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NUDGING MANAGERS TO MANAGE BETTER

InMobi, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, is disrupting how organizations build great managers. Studies on what drives a high-performance culture have unanimously zeroed down on day-to-day actions of people managers as the key. The organization believes that not all high performers are equally prepared to become people manager. The competencies needed to manage an organization’s culture are unique and important. InMobi has built a nudge based system to support new people leaders in acquiring these competencies and not leave the job in hands of those who are unprepared.


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GUESS WHO GOT PROMOTED?

Our study of workplace culture shows that the best organization maintain their significant edge over the rest by being more fair. At INautix Technologies, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, promotions are reviewed and recommended by an independent committee with representation from various teams. To ensure absolute fairness, nominations for managerial promotions also require at least three additional sponsors who would have been direct stakeholders of the nominee’s performance.


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HOW TO GENERATE MORE REFERRALS?

Majority of people now access the internet through mobile phones. American Express, a Great Place to Work® Certified Organization, launched a mobile app that allows people to apply for jobs at AmEx using smartphones. But they didn’t stop there. The app makes it extremely easy for prospective employees to connect with the current employees and get referred for. Internal referral hires perform better than hires from other sources. In less than a year, 30 percent of their applications are now coming through mobile phones and the organization has received 2,000 additional referrals every month since its launch in 2015.


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HELPING EMPLOYEES FIGHT STRESS

According to WHO, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental disorders at some point in their lives. Lost economic output on account of poor psychological health will amount to USD 1.3 trillion between 2012 and 2030 in India. Atria Convergence Technologies introduced a 24/7 counselling helpline which is equipped with counsellors proficient in various regional languages who can be accessed through both phone and email. Employees can schedule a session whenever the need be and utmost confidentiality is maintained throughout. Going one step further to ensure collective wellbeing, the organization has also extended this facility to employees’ immediate family members.


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WHY EMPLOYEES REALLY QUIT

Exit interviews, in itself, may not be the most scientific way to understand the reasons why employees really quit an organization. A churn analysis compares perceptions of employees who took part in two consecutive employee engagement surveys (the loyals) and perceptions of those who exited the survey in the second year (the churned). A fast-growing health insurance company partnered Great Place to Work® Institute and identified that employees from the churned group had significantly lower perceptions on areas such as job security, fun at work, fair appeals and pride in organization’s accomplishments. Such an analysis can help organizations understand the real reasons why their employees quit and keep a check on these areas to manage their attrition better.


Learn more about the biggest ideas behind building a high-performance culture from over 20 speakers at Great Place to Work® Conference 2018. Register here >


 

HEARD OF CHILD TRAVEL POLICY?

Room To Read, one of India’s best NGOs to work as per a recent report (download full report from here) by Great Place to Work® Institute, has a Child Travel Policy for any employee who is a parent traveling for business with a child under the age of 2. The organization aims to reduce long-distance travel for working moms who are breastfeeding. However, in situations where travel is a must, the organization supports the moms by giving them the opportunity to bring the child along. The cost of travel and stay for the child and caregiver is borne by the organization. The policy is open for male employees as well.


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HIRING FOR CULTURE

Leaders at organizations across the world have started to recognize that hiring related decisions deserve deliberation equivalent to that is given to other strategic decisions. Hiring individuals that fit the organization’s culture, is being given equal or greater attention as compared to other criteria being evaluated by organizations. Research on best practices uncovers a well-known but underleveraged insight for getting hiring right. The people best suited to work well with any organization’s existing best performers, and most demanding customers, are the friends of these very employees and customers. Instead of limiting referrals to existing employees, Ujjivan Financial Services, an Indian microfinance firm, requests their customers to refer potential candidates who can join the firm.


Learn more about the biggest ideas behind building a high-performance culture from over 20 speakers at Great Place to Work® Conference 2018. Register here >


 

FACE-TIME WITH THE CEO

A large part of building a strong business involves creating personal connections. Being a CEO involves not only drive and passion, but emotional intelligence as well, embracing their humanity and engaging with their workforce. At Make a Difference (MAD), the City Team Leads get to meet the CEO once a month to gain perspective on strategies and projects. This helps to align them to the common goal on a frequent basis, creating a highly mobilized and enthusiastic team. Understanding why your human resources do business is more important than understanding what they do, and this kind of understanding is only attainable through in-person interactions. At MAD, this face-time with the CEO helps to give Team Leads their higher sense of purpose and ultimately make the difference they set out to make.


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BUSTING BUREAUCRACY

In a world where organizations aim to be agile and innovative, corporate bureaucracy continues to play speed breaker. In 2011, Google, a Great Place to Work-Certified Organization, launched the Bureaucracy Busters Program to cut down on internal red tape and make administrative processes more efficient so that Googlers could get back to the stuff that matters. Instead of creating a committee of senior leaders to conduct an internal review of various processes, Googlers were asked to post their bureaucracy-cutting suggestions on an internal site and vote on the ones that they found the most promising. Last year, close to 5,500 Googlers voted on over 1,600 Googler-generated ideas.


Learn more about the biggest ideas behind building a high-performance culture from over 20 speakers at Great Place to Work® Conference 2018. Register here >


 

HOW GOOGLE INNOVATES?

DeepMind, the Google sibling focusing on artificial intelligence, has announced the launch of an “ethics and society” unit to study the impact of new technologies on society. How does Google nurture a culture where its people are always learning? Their Googler-to-Googler program makes this possible by offering Googlers the chance to share their passions and expertise with other Googlers. More than 70% of all Googlers have attended a training led by a fellow Googler. These classes include Introduction to Laser Cutting, Baby Sign Language, Wilderness Skills, and pretty much anything else one can think of. The organization has put multiple programs in place to develop the skills of G2G facilitators. One of the most popular courses – The Creative Skills for Innovation brings together a diverse group of Googlers in one room to tackle challenging questions like: ‘How would you change the experience of commuting to work?’ One such lab generates around 15 insights from user research, 400 ideas, and 10 prototypes.


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CultureInShorts

NO AVERAGE PERFORMERS

In 2016, nearly 60% of employees scoring below 30% in their key responsibilities in a given quarter that joined ‘Magnificent Comeback’ program at Mahindra Insurance Brokers, made a successful comeback. On identifying employees for this program, leaders consciously arm these employees with the constant support and reinforce a sense of belief. For a period of three months, immediate teams and the management ensure that the employee does not feel left out or overlooked and try to build their confidence gradually.


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CultureInShorts

NOT SO ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK

In most organizations, 360-degree evaluation is often an anonymous process. People offer comments that are personal in nature rather than constructive. Organizations should ensure that everyone understands the purpose of the exercise is to be constructive, not personal. The 360-degree feedback session at Marico is a live face-to-face feedback to an individual by a cross-section of members of the organization. This live face-to-face 360-degree feedback is unique to Marico and the success of this can be attributed to its culture of openness and transparency.


Learn more about the biggest ideas behind building a high-performance culture from over 20 speakers at Great Place to Work® Conference 2018. Register here >


 

CultureInShorts

MIND GAMES FOR GOOD

There is extensive research that suggests that mental health is linked to a range of development outcomes, including better health status, enhanced productivity and economic output, improved interpersonal relationships, and improved quality of life. Thousands of employees at American Express, a Great Place to Work-Certified organization, spend time at what the organization calls the elevation zone. This dedicated space provides a mentally stimulating environment for employees to energize their minds by way of physical activity and mind games. This involves activities which help employees reduce stress and rejuvenate, and improve their physical fitness.


Learn more about the biggest ideas behind building a high-performance culture from over 20 speakers at Great Place to Work® Conference 2018. Register here >