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COVID or No COVID – Our Employee Well-being is our Top Priority

Integrating employee well-being into the workplace design strengthens the link between organizational performance and employee engagement. Employees with higher well-being are more focused and productive at work, enjoy their work more, and are more engaged. With 95% of world HR leaders believing that burnout impacts retention, it is hardly a surprise to see increased investments being made into global corporate well-being.

The numbers show the global corporate well-being market growing at an accelerated pace of 7% CAGR and rising from S$53.6 billion in 2018 and expected to touch US$90.7 billion by 2026.

Supporting employee well-being has been a topic of conversation much before the COVID-19 pandemic made its appearance. The pandemic made this conversation loud enough for all those who weren’t noticing to sit up and take cognizance of the situation.

Our organization has been one of those that have had a laser focus on employee well-being right from the very beginning. A recently published McKinsey report highlighted that 62 percent of employees globally considered mental-health issues to be a top challenge during the COVID-19 crisis with most employers scrambling to meet the need of the moment. We are glad that neither our employees nor our organization finds itself in this majority.

The Road to Employee Well-being

Well-being is a skill that cannot be implemented overnight. It has to be practiced every day and has to fit seamlessly into the organizational culture. We believe that a focus on employee well-being goes far beyond superficial activities and perks such as fancy cafes at work or lavish annual parties.

Employee well-being efforts need to be such that help the employees ‘feel’ their best at work and also ensure that they ‘perform’ their best. As such, this requires developing a work culture that is rooted in enablement at work, when work happens, and proactively identifying and resolving the barriers that impact well-being.

Our employees have rewarded us with their loyalty owing to the efforts that we put in towards developing a work culture that is enabling and rooted in employee well-being. Most of our employees have been connected with us for six years or more. The productivity levels in our organization have never experienced any hiccups, and our employee engagement levels have always shown upwards trends. Our policies and processes have been designed such that they integrate seamlessly into our work culture consistently provide employees greater agency, more autonomy, and ample growth options.

Here is how we drive employee well-being on an everyday level at work.

Independent work culture

  • Focus on outcomes: In our work culture, we focus only on the quality of the outcomes. We deliver high-quality, customer-centric implementations, and hence hire people with elevated levels of ownership and accountability along with superior technical knowledge who can thrive in this culture.
  • No micromanagement: We stay away from micromanagement, and you will not find us monitoring hours and timesheets. Given our experience, our effort estimates are spot on and ensure that our employees are not overwhelmed with work pressure and can complete their tasks on time.
  • Trust and growth: Our employees are solution-driven and extremely professional and thrive in this work environment that is rooted in trust and growth.
  • Independence: Our employees are proactive problem solvers and can drive their growth and learning independently. They can work independently with confidence and set and achieve goals on their own. When they need support for the same, we make sure we enable it.

Autonomy and agency

  • Enablement: Instead of being their timekeepers, the managers in the organizations act as enablers of success. While our culture is focused on independence and autonomy it does not mean that it is not collaborative.
  • Autonomy: Our teams enjoy the autonomy and agency that they have to work, exchange ideas for improvement and drive innovation. They have great interpersonal and communication skills that make collaboration and innovation easier even within geographically dispersed teams.
  • Power Skills: These power skills are extremely important to thrive in a global workplace and hold great importance for us. As such, we make sure that we have regular sensitization sessions and training programs to make sure that communication and power skills such as empathy are not lacking or wanting across different levels in the organization.

This approach has helped us weather the pandemic since our employees did not need to fight the battle of perceptions. Our managers and leaders also have been highly sensitive to the needs of the employees and have proactively reached out and supported them whenever the need arose.

We collectively believe that micromanagement is one of the greatest disruptors of productivity, innovation, and employee goodwill. Nothing erodes productivity and employee engagement levels than the feeling that you are not trusted.

Proactive problem solving

  • Proactive: We have always been proactive towards solving any problem experienced by our customers – both external and internal. Our employees are our internal customers, and we believe in driving enablement at work, when work happens. As such, just like we are proactive in solving a customer problem, we proactively address our employee’s issues as well.
  • Well-defined processes: We ensure that we identify problems and issues before their impact is felt by the business or the employees. Our clear and well-defined processes make sure that the employees have the right channels to bring up issues that are impacting their well-being at work.
  • Regular feedback: We also do not look at end of the year appraisals as the time to provide feedback but ensure that feedback is timely and contextual.

A culture that encourages help-seeking

  • Growth mindset: Our culture of trust and empowerment also hinges on our employees being of a solution-driven growth mindset. We believe that every problem is an opportunity to improve and provide our employees with the tools and support they need to navigate issues and challenges.
  • Coaching and training: We also have an environment that encourages and destigmatizes help-seeking. Regular coaching and training programs, a buddy system, and mentor-mentee-like managerial relationships all contribute towards creating an environment where help-seeking is not seen as a weakness.
  • Well-being: We have made sure that in the age of automation, we remember the importance and the frailty of the human mind. This belief is cemented across all levels of the organization, is encouraged proactively by our leadership, and is also rewarded.

Recognize that struggles and challenges are unique

We also recognize that the needs and struggles of each employee can be very different and might at times need a little extra help. We always make sure that our employees feel supported whether it is support for their professional needs or personal challenges.

Our employees can bank on one-on-one support irrespective of their job role, position, or location. Leaders and managers are actively available to troubleshoot or help employees resolve issues in the workplace in a location-agnostic manner.

We also have many of our engineers moving to the USA from different countries. We realize that they need more support to settle into their new roles and the completely new and different environment. Reaching out to them actively, being more vigilant of cues that could signal adjustment issues of loneliness, and ensuring that they feel supported through active communication, support and problem solving are a few things that we do to help them settle in seamlessly.

We do not believe in quantifying levels, especially in personal challenges, and instead provide our employees with all the tools, resources, and training/coaching they need to navigate these issues and emerge victoriously.

It is because of our established systems and strong culture that we navigated the COVID crisis without breaking out into a big sweat. Since we have always taken care of our employees and their well-being, we have been consistently rewarded with low attrition, high productivity, elevated employee engagement, and uninterrupted high-quality work even when everyone was concerned about employee burnout.


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