What are some of the top priorities for you as an organisation when it comes to people development?
Our intent is to ensure that all our employees find their success in the firm’s success story and we have been steering our people practices to achieve that and the pandemic has only accelerated our journey.
The workforce today expects evidence-based, authentic, and hyper-personalized people development practices. Firms that are able to pivot to that fact will thrive and continue to attract top talent.
Some key questions that we have been asking ourselves as we develop our people practices are – How can we celebrate our employees for their successes at work, and outside of it? How do we inspire employees as a whole and not pieces of them? How can we help our people connect with and discover other aspects of their personalities while working with us?
Those are the new goals of a firm set for growth in the pandemic era.
As a forward-looking employer we have developed new anchors, rituals and benefits for our people to create a more forward-looking workplace with the right intent to carry us forward. Just like the way we aim to provide a superior experience for our customers, we strive to do the same for our people. We want in the true sense of the word, our people to feel that they belong here, that we are concerned about them and their families’ well-being and that we are invested in their career success. Very critical for a firm that has grown sixfold through the last couple of years.
Right from onboarding, to training and retention, we ensure that we align and integrate our people and their families with the company’s growth journey and that people do not feel socially distanced due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 has pushed companies to rethink the traditional role of HR. How do you engage the new workforce?
There is something exciting and new happening in the hiring marketplace with regards to us as an employer, and we are stoked about it. While it is clickbait-ish, it is also flattering to come across yesteryears’ movie stars memes doing the rounds on social media on how candidates react when they get a call from Better.com – and this is extremely telling of our employees being our biggest brand ambassadors.
And that is the shift we work towards on a daily basis. What we know so far is that traditional routes to HR will not take you into the future.
For instance, when a candidate joins Better’s growth journey, they get vested with the firm, like a true owner. This is across levels and a huge game-changer. They truly are in that sense ‘owners’ of the firm.
Our people have the opportunity to build their own success stories, they hit the ground running soon after joining. Our learning programs and platforms make knowledge accessible to our employees at their fingertips and they can contribute to building and curating our knowledge resources.
There are ample opportunities for growth, lateral and vertical. Our policies don’t impose long tenure restrictions to stay in a role. Our analytics constantly tells us about our employee’s performance, highlighting those who perform exceptionally well and those who need support. This helps us keep our performance and feedback process real-time and realistic.
Innovation is a cornerstone for us and we encourage our employees to constantly think about how we could improve our processes, ideate, and create and we reward successful ideas instantly.
Our employee support and recognition goes beyond our employees and engages their family members. Our employees and their families have access to coaching programs, concierge services, free medical support, and overall key people benefits programs. We’ve set out with the intention to do better for our people and their families and we see the impact in our employees becoming our brand ambassadors.
Explain how Better.com has responded to growing employees’ needs during the pandemic by expanding its benefits to cater to employees?
Our concierge services, the exclusive parental concierge support for all parents of employees helps to take care of and assist with daily needs. During the pandemic, our concierge partners – Club Concierge – provided supplies, testing kits, and medicines in far-flung areas, thereby supporting our employees at a very tough time.
Further, by tying up with YourDost – one of India’s largest online mental health and emotional wellness platforms – we have launched virtual wellness and coaching sessions with licensed therapists and coaches to help improve overall mental health; our employees’ family members also participate in the coaching program. This has been especially helpful during the pandemic since a lot of people have had anxiety and stress-related issues due to social distancing. We have thus enabled our people to benefit by approaching experts for their emotional wellness without hesitance to navigate the pandemic successfully.
We also partnered with Portea for medical support for our employees in case any of their family members were suspected or were asymptomatic or had a mild case of COVID-19. This was made available to our employees free of cost. Aside from this, we continue to support our employees with paid leaves and primary care-giver leaves as well as vaccination benefits.
The focus for us is on hyper-personalization; and that our people should experience authenticity and their success as we grow as a firm. Company partnerships with like-minded organisations have become life-savers for our people during the pandemic. Our tie-ups with companies such as YourDost communicated to our people that we are truly for them and their family’s well-being as an organisation. At the end of the day, employees want to be looked after, and one of our biggest learnings has been to support our people – even beyond work-life.
What is the role of technology in ensuring companies provide better employee wellbeing and enhance performance?
In order for HR to become a Truly Human relationship function, it has to rely on digital technologies and analytics. Businesses are now beginning to realise the importance of talent insights that digital and analytics provide.
When it comes to people analytics, companies can learn much about their talent, their engagement levels, learning patterns, and marry those with other parameters to identify risk areas and areas of good progress. Engagement heat maps, when combined with employee demographics can become a powerful source of actionable insights, benefitting the organisation holistically.
HR technology transformation that is designed around an employees’ experience ensures that they are able to navigate people processes with ease. Right from employee’s retention analysis to candidate profiling and productivity indices, analytics can add immediate value. This allows HR professionals to truly focus on benefits, rewards, individual development plans, coaching, mentoring and much more – all of which help an employee feel invested in.
The workforce today also looks for employers’ who make wellness a strategic priority with an eye on creating a values-driven employee experience – and this is possible with implementing analytics that helps companies gain actionable insights across the hire-to-retire cycle.