If there is one word which has got a well-defined space in our vocabulary, "Cool" would be it. As I started writing this column, I tried to list the different expressions which this four-lettered word encompasses for me. And would you believe me, the list is already 50 plus (and counting)? Well, while the ubiquitousness of this slang wasn't the reason the new avatar of this two-decade-old Business Today - Taggd survey was christened 'India's Coolest Workplaces,' it does explain the myriad of factors that come to a young employee's mind before he or she rates a company as the Coolest in the country. And that is precisely what we have tried to cover in this edition, which for years has tried to understand the psyche, perceptions and aspirations of India's working population. However, if you were to wear a CHRO's or a Chief People Officer's hat momentarily, how would you know whether you were meeting those said and unsaid expectations that your employees, existing as well as potential, have? The starting point would be introspection, and here are a few questions to begin with.
1. Is People Care at the centre of your programmes?
If there is one thing that has been a common thread in choices made by employees - it is People Care. This prods employers to introspect whether their HR policies, well-being initiatives, growth and capability programmes, are designed keeping people's individual and collective needs at the centre. Almost 40 per cent respondents said clarity of goals and well-crafted growth opportunities increase the coolness quotient of an employer. Well-being initiatives are a close second with 35 per cent respondents voting for them.
2. Are you keeping up with the pace of change?
The past year brought an unparalleled acceptance for a different way of working. But as per a recent report by Mckinsey Global Institute, hardly 20 per cent of the total workforce of India has the potential to operate from home without any projected productivity loss. So, whether we like it or not, the hybrid way of working is going to continue. In addition to this, the adoption of gig (flexible) workers into our workplaces will go up. When we asked our respondents if they would consider moving towards a gig way of working in the near future, 66 per cent answered with a resounding YES. With this speed of change that is going to continue, our workplace practices and tools need an overhaul to not just support remote working but also hybrid and gig working situations. The importance of this kind of change is visible in how employees have chosen the coolest workplaces in India. The top 10 companies have received at least 45 per cent higher scores compared to others.
3. Are you setting benchmarks beyond business?
It is widely known that the younger workforce is joining workplaces which help them connect with a larger purpose in life. Places where they can innovate, places where their differences are accepted and often celebrated, and in short, places where they get the freedom to be themselves. If, as a people leader, you aim for your organisation to be an aspiring place to work, focusing on creating an inclusive, equal workplace where people are encouraged to experiment and innovate is extremely important. This is the voice of thousands of employees, 33 per cent of whom have chosen these parameters as key components that contribute towards a company's coolness quotient.
Gone are the days where merely a good pay package was enough. While that might be a good enough reason to get a person to consider a job, their choice of ultimately joining and then staying on and contributing to your organisational growth ultimately does depend on your organisation's coolness quotient! Its, therefore, time to up our "cool" act!