Monday morning blues may belie the concept of love for work and workplaces, but happiness at workplace is far from a myth. Especially at hundreds of organisations that care for their employees and deliver some of the coolest workplaces, in India and abroad.
That's why your favourite HR survey 'Best Companies To For Work' has been re-imagined and revamped as 'India's Coolest Workplaces'. Yet, it remains true to its character - an open, non-aligned survey that captures the perceptions and aspirations of India's workforce.
2020 saw unbelievable changes in human resources as work transcended the boundaries of 'workplaces' and 'work timings'. As employees adjusted to a boundary-less, virtual, and accessible from anywhere work-life, what kept them glued to their organisations is the care, empathy, flexibility and 'coolness' of employer.
Such 'hybrid' work life will be the keystone of new-age organisations, says deputy editor Ajita Shashidhar in the opening essay of this special issue.
Progressive organisations are also convinced that while focusing on physical health is a curative process, attention to emotional health can be preventive and pre-empt illnesses. Sonal Khetarpal explains why annual health check-ups and vanilla insurance plans may be passe. Firms are catering to emotional and preventive wellbeing with meditation leave, mandatory day-offs for me-time, bereavement leave and even digital detox time.
The Coolest Workplaces have gone out of their way to protect and comfort workforce in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. In a difficult year, the initiatives Google - ranked No.1 - took for the welfare of its employees appear to have delighted them: A sizeable work-from-home allowance of $1,000 enabled Googlers to procure equipment, work furniture or online fitness classes; and a 14-week paid 'carer's leave' so that Googlers could look after kids while schools were shut.
At TCS, ranked No. 2, with nearly half a million employees on its rolls, anything the firm does needs scale. A 360-degree programme on health, wellbeing, lifelong learning, building careers, living with values, serving communities and social collaboration has deeply engaged its 4-lakh-plus associates within the year. Buoyed by how fast it could scale up its Secure Borderless Work Space platform to 95 per cent of employees working remotely soon after lockdown, TCS also took the bold call to target 75 per cent of its workforce working from home as soon as 2025. It's a leap of faith.
At Bajaj Auto, MD Rajiv Bajaj took a pay cut while top management gave up increments to ensure other employees not just felt secure but also got increments and bonuses on time. The prospect of growth and learning got thumbs up at Bajaj Auto. Employees can learn from 65,000+ modules in the content library on the go, at their pace and from the device of their choice.
Amazon India, meanwhile, went on a hiring spree. Not only did it honour all hiring commitments made the previous year, in September last year, it announced 1,00,000 seasonal positions ahead of the festive season. It launched the Alexa Day-One Skill to onboard new employees and to answer basic queries such as policies, benefits.
These and other such examples are peppered across our coverage in the following pages. They point to how human resources are transforming across the length and breadth of the country. Hear out from the coolest ones.