India is on a roll. A 7.6 per cent GDP growth is forecast for the next year, and the ‘start-up’ buzzword has created a positive circle of influence in the overall ecosystem. As almost every segment throws up its own unicorns, the employer brand is experiencing interesting changes. And the same is visible in the Business Today-PeopleStrong Best Companies to Work For study.
For the past five years, the study has been bringing interesting insights on employee perceptions and aspirations, right from the need for differentiated HR strategy for employees of different genres and geographies (2010), to driving coherence for the employer and the consumer brand (2011), casualty of the bosses (2013), and relationship between ethical leadership and employer brand (2014). This year provides a glimpse of how the start-up and digital agenda are impacting the employee psyche, as entrepreneurship goes mainstream and college pass-outs want to venture out and experiment.
It’s not just the challenge that drives the pull towards start-ups, or because it is cool. Since the roles in start-ups are complex and need understanding of not only how an organisation works, but a deep understanding of the market as well, an individual gets to perform roles in the initial two years that one would otherwise get after 10 years of hard work.
This opportunity along with excellent compensation and a fun work environment are driving the attractiveness of start-ups. The hidden message from these young people: de-layer the organisation, give us more accountability, we are okay to do a hands-on job, but make it meaningful and with the right compensation. This new reality has to be carefully mapped by organisations to bring in parity in roles and growth that are offered to campus hires and millennials as well.
Diversity is another issue that organisations have worked on globally and in India, with gender being the primary thread. But what is heartening to see is that companies across all industry verticals have this on the agenda. This is good news. But the bad news is: employees are saying this is not enough. They want concrete measures around both diversity – gender or ethnicity – and inclusion. In short, companies with a culture in which differences of all sorts are recognised, accepted and respected, are the ones considered successful in nurturing a truly diverse workplace.
Communication is never enough, and this is true for all times when the message has to travel to the last mile. There is a clear correlation between this dimension and the overall satisfaction scores with HR practices. What’s interesting is that it’s not about top-down communication, but about two-way channels that are available.
Clearly, the mandate is to leverage technology like never before. It’s the only way a continuous, two-sided communication can be sustained. But ensure that you don’t stop at social media and collaboration. Organisations have to go beyond and look at each interface of the employee on a regular working day – for example, can the reimbursement option be completely automated, can we make attendance process intuitive through an HR app, etc.
The future of the workplace is going through some fundamental changes as the nature of work and preferences evolve. Part-time working, multiple jobs and making the work more complex, and the experience of the employee through mobile and digital are realities.