Namita Bhardwaj, Senior Director Elara Group Housing

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“The tenets of building a great workplace lie in valuing your people and everything else follows.” – Namita Bhardwaj, Senior Director Elara Group Housing(PropTiger & Makaan)

In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Namita Bhardwaj shared what makes work culture at Elara Group (Housing-PropTiger-Makaan) Unique, what were the key strategic HR moves transformation journey that made the (Housing-PropTiger-Makaan) now Elara Group, the most preferred one to work, what should be the revised performance framework for remote employees more. Read the full article.

 

Namita, you have been working towards building a unique and engaged work culture at Elara Group (Housing-PropTiger-Makaan), tell us what makes what makes Elara’s culture unique.

Elara’s uniqueness comes from its authenticity. In an industry devoid of trust, Elara Group emerged with a vision of delivering trustworthy experiences that people cherish for a lifetime. This is true for both customer experience and employee experience. We keep the experience of people at the highest pedestal and every decision is made keeping this philosophy at the core.” Everyone, right from our CEO to all the leaders and managers believe that engaged employees bring passion and fortitude that can help organizations win all battles.” This belief and commitment to create a workplace that can boast of superlative employee experience is what makes us tread this path. Our people philosophy of Feel@Home governs all policies and practices and we ensure that our people find PropTiger a home away from home. Our culture is all-inclusive, republic and meritocratic. There is genuine care camaraderie for everyone in the organization and each individual is treated with deep respect.

 

You got the PropTiger Makaan rank in the top 100 companies to work for in the coveted GPTW survey in 2017 and Housing-PropTiger-Makaan yet again ranked in the top 50 in 2019, share the key strategic HR moves transformation journey that made the company the most preferred one to work.

The tenets of building a great workplace lie in valuing your people and everything else follows.

When we embarked upon this journey of building a great workplace in 2015, the first step was to listen to our people. When you listen to people; you show care, you show interest and you show respect. This not only helped us curate programs for our people that they wanted but also gave them the confidence that they form an integral part of the organization their opinion matters.

The second step to our transformation journey was speaking. If you want people to sign up commit to your mission, then need to know your purpose.

 

We emphasized on the importance of speaking with all the leaders and managers to ensure we are creating an organization full of ownership and drive for results.

Once we established the significance of having a seamless robust communication channel within the organization, we ensured that we built all policies, programs, and processes on the below principles:

 

  1. Fairness– devoid of bias of any sorts

 

  1. Transparency– honest disclosure and access to information

 

  1. Meritocracy– just and timely reward for good performance

 

  1. Community– one for all, all for one

 

  1. Co-created– based on people’s views and measured constantly for success improvement

By ensuring the above, we have been able to win the trust of our people and unite them for a common purpose.

All this not only helped us rank amongst the 100 best companies to work for in India in 2017, but also move up and place ourselves in the top 50 in the year 2019.

 

What should employers keep in mind while revising the performance framework for their remote employees?

Building a robust and propelling performance management framework had always been a point of debate with HR practitioners in the dynamic environment we have been operating in and this has got further complicated with your workforce going remote.

A few things that, as per me, employers must focus upon in today’s time to get the most out of their performance framework are these:

 

  1. Communicate often more –one of the things leaders often fear going missing in remote teams is accountability. A simple yet effective solution to that is staying connected. The more your people hear from you on where the business is headed and how are they contributing to it, the more likely they are to exhibit ownership in how they operate remotely.

 

  1. Set shorter milestones and celebrate achievement. Annual objective setting and evaluation once a year had anyway started to drift away in the organizations, but the need to do so has been accelerated with teams going remote. Organizations must set goals for shorter durations as it’s easier to stay on course without losing much focus, gives better visibility of accomplishments, and helps keep morale of people high when they see themselves reaching the milestones defined.

 

  1. Build frequent continuous review mechanism. Even if you shorten the length of your goal setting review process from annual to say a quarter, it is perilous to not review progress periodically even in that duration.

 

It might not necessarily position you as an organization lacking trust, but rather involved and committed to set their people up for success support where needed.

 

  1. Reward generously and reward often.Disconnected from the social network physical access to people, remote teams have higher need to be recognized. Your performance framework in the new age of remote working must have special and unique recognition programs, which run at a much higher frequency than before. Curate reward programs that are a blend of monetary benefits, accelerated growth plans, learning opportunities, time-offs and wellness programs.

 

Pay cuts became one of the ways for most of the companies to navigate through this turbulent time. However, it has taken a lot of employees 3 to 4 years behind, with such a situation seems to prolong for a while, what alternative reward strategies organization can consider to implement helping coping up their financial loss.

There are several theories that lay stress upon intrinsic and extrinsic motivators and it is a misnomer that you can keep people motivated with only money. Having said so, one cannot undermine the impact of a financial loss for an individual, however, to minimize the impact and to make this loss short-lived, one must invest in preparing people for future.

The biggest learning for all of us from this unprecedented situation was ‘readiness for change’. How ready are you to deal with first-time situations is a function of a core competency called ‘learning agility’? Organizations must invest heavily on developing the competencies of its people that can prepare them to face complex and first-time situations that one is bound to face in this VUCA world.

 

Today’s workforce, full of millennials and centennials, highly value rewards in the form of learning opportunities. I would, therefore, recommend considering learning as a powerful reward mechanism, not only as an alternative, but also otherwise as a part of your total rewards strategy.

 

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