Why is happiness important for an Organization?

happy-employeesIn corporate life, most of us believe that once the position is filled, the job is done.

It is assumed that the individual would perform the given duties to the best of their abilities. Most of us still believe in the industrialized form of people management, where people are seen as elements of production and not human beings. This thought and process stemmed from the fact that industrialization and mass production at the beginning of the century started the whole chain of activities to align people to meet the industrial demand of that time.

“ Employees look for a career as their first option.Salary is not the top criterion “

The education system was designed to suit such industrialization where human emotions and happiness had no place. Human beings were mere elements in the production line supposed to perform the work irrespective of whatever is the situation. A lot of such humans were subsequently replaced by machines, which automated the same work.

After more than hundred years after this revolution started, we have come back to a state where a lot of perception has changed. IT companies have realized the need to have greater people engagement while a lot of manufacturing companies have either completely automated, have large labor unrest issues or have adopted better people management methods to grow.

While all these changes have been happening primarily to keep the human element of the organization happier and more productive, our education system still lags behind and has not fully evolved. Human resources team in most of the Indian organizations still focus only on salary management and hiring.

People engagement is still very new to this part of the geography.

To most of us, unusual ways to entice employees in Silicon Valley looks comic and totally out of the way, the message however comes out clear, employee engagement and happiness is the way to go in future
If we want our organizations to remain profitable and on growth path. The free spa, yoga sessions, sports ticket, free cycles to ride home and exotic free meals of Silicon valley may get a local flavor in India with time to chill out with colleagues in office cafeteria, a small gym, cricket on TV and a samosa.

The focus everywhere is better employee engagement.

The question however remains that do the free facilities alone help better employee engagement and happiness? I would say, NO.

There is a lot more to it and companies’ worldwide must transform quickly for a stress free work environment and a true focus on a happier work place. While it is almost impossible to make everyone happy given the tough business scenario and a ecosystem with different employee practices, I have experienced a lot of success by adopting methods which are different than what is the general belief.

The key to this is the basic understanding to what an employee actually wants. While I will detail out mo re in my subsequent blogs, I would list out some of the key facts.
a. Employees look for a career as their first option.Salary is not the top criterion.
b. A transparent and trustworthy management team helps in creating better confidence and reduces stress with employees.
c. Every employee looks forward to working hard and keeping themselves busy. Too much free time triggers anxiety and attrition.
d. While the legacy of hierarchy still rules in most of the traditional companies, those who adopt flatter organizational structures have better trust levels. The flatter organization however is not about eliminating the levels and growth options in the company, but about create a job-based team and not a Boss based team.
e. Money plays an important role till the time; the needs and wants of the employee are reasonably achieved. Beyond that, it is the opportunity, which takes over. I can guarantee that those organizations, which will adopt better employee happiness methods, will have huge dividends coming their way.

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Alok Kumar

Alok Kumar is Managing Partner of SRKay Consulting group, a private equity company, nurturing innovative ventures. Alok also serves on the board of ICCL (Indian Clearing Corporation Limited - A subsidiary of BSE- Bombay Stock Exchange) as an external advisor for technology and information security. Prior to this, Alok had been Managing Director of Sears IT & Management Services India Private Limited (SHI) since its inception in December 2009 and served in the same position till very recently. Having been in senior IT management positions in Fortune 500 companies, Alok has won several national and international awards. Alok is instrumental in planning and setting up SHI and thereafter growing it to a multi-locational thousand-plus people organization. Over the last five years, with his strategic vision, Alok helped SHI grow roots in India, develop and support technology applications and infrastructure across core mainframe, cutting edge e-Commerce and big data technologies. With his unique people-oriented transformational leadership style, Alok turned SHI into one of the most valued investments of Sears, garnering great ROIs, and creating value much beyond cost arbitrage. Under his tutelage, SHI has filed two patents and is recognized widely for its best practices in various areas, the latter, currently featured in Indian Institute of Management (IIM) case studies. SHI also became a CMMI Level 3, PCMM Level 3, and ISO 20000 certified organization. Alok is a widely acclaimed corporate leader in India today. He regularly participates and leads various forums as a keynote speaker and is an author of several books in different genres. Alok has several awards to his credit. He is particularly known in the industry for his people management skills and innovative ideas in improving the productivity of employees through unique people practices. He has been credited with the following industry awards: ¬ Emerging Leader of the Year award 2013 by IndiasGreatest.com ¬ Game Changer CEO of the Year 2013 (SHRM) ¬ CIO 100 - The Bold CIOs - 2008 (Reliance Infosolutions) ¬ CIO - Ones to Watch Award 2008 (Reliance Industries) ¬ Extended Manager Award - CIOL 2004 (Tata Teleservices) As an able leader of SHI, Alok got SHI recognized widely in the industry with the following several awards: ¬ CII Award for HR Best Practices in 2014 ¬ Global Excellence in Outsourcing Award - AIOP (Phoenix 2013) ¬ IT Innovation Award (Design & Engineering) - Computer Society of India 2012 ¬ Golden Company of the Year - Economic Times 2011-12 ¬ 7th Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Mumbai, India) 2013: • ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ Award • ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with business • HR Leadership Award • Talent Management Award by Bloomberg TV India ¬ Employer Branding Awards - World HRD Congress (Singapore, Asia) 2013: • 7th rank in ‘Asia’s Best Employer’ award • Award for ‘Best HR Strategy’ in line with the business • HR Leadership Award Other recognitions: Alok had served on the distinguished panel of NASSCOM's GIC (Global In-house Centers) National Council members. The council members play a key role in major initiatives of the industry and include the torch bearers of IT industry as panel members. Books and Papers: Alok is an established author, with three books to his credit. Alok’s third and latest book, a novel, “The Spy from Unaula” is a 2015 publication. A handwriting analysis enthusiast, Alok collaborated with his wife Nandani on the book, “Handwriting Speaks” in 2006. “Value Sourcing – Future of IT Outsourcing” was co-authored with Keith Sherwell (currently CIO, Altice USA) and was released in 2013. Alok also researched and published two whitepapers: a. “Creating next generation captives” talks about the best practices that are helping generate higher value from the IT company captives.

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