Great Place to Work® has released the list of certified companies for the FY April 2020- March 2021 and Ameyo has created its space in the certified mid-size organizations.
It was indeed a great experience to lead the GPTW certification process and I am honoured to share my experience of this journey.
Ameyo had conducted its first GPTW survey in 2017 and in Dec 2019 when it was decided to again conduct the GPTW survey, the primary aim was to compare the employee survey score results to see if we have improved our employee engagement practices in the past 2 years. Achieving the GPTW certification still looked a remote possibility since with Great Place to work, there is a very stringent process under which they assess all companies aspiring for certification. So obviously when the results were announced, it was stunning news for the entire Ameyo team.
To start with, GPTW considered two major factors, defined as their copyright instruments- Trust Index© and Culture Audit© to analyse the overall culture of Ameyo.
Trust Index©: This was the first step in the GPTW certification, GPTW survey was rolled out org wide to all employees. The questions asked in the survey were focused on the following parameters.
- Credibility of Management
- Respect for People
- Fairness at the Workplace
- Camaraderie between People
Post the completion of this step, to ensure that Ameyo survey was an absolutely upright and fair survey, GPTW randomly spoke to some employees to cross verify that they had filled the survey without any outside influence.
In the analysis process, 2/3 weightage was given to Trust Index© while 1/3 weightage was given to Culture Audit©. For an organization to get certified, 70% or more of its employee respondents should rate the organization as a great workplace.
Culture Audit©: As part of this assessment, HR had to share detailed information on various people related management practices with Great Place To Work® Institute. Culture Audit© Part 1 had questions related to our Organization workforce, compensation, benefits and leave policies etc. Under the Culture Audit© Part 2 we had to provide details of various employee engagement programs like R&R, Long service awards etc. This required the entire HR team to invest a significant amount of time as the culture audit is a comprehensive document and carries 1/3rd weightage in overall analysis.
Post the successful clearing of the first step of employee survey, GPTW team did a detailed audit of Ameyo People practices and interviewed a random sample of employees to ensure that HR team has added true information in Culture audit.
After we received the wonderful news of the certification, and after the initial euphoria I started reflecting on what has changed in the last 1 year which brought us this achievement. I am summarising few points which I feel has impacted employees positively:
The changes which made Ameyo a Certified Great Place to Work
Before I moved into HR full time, I worked as a software consultant and later in a Business Development role. This experience of working on the business side helped me connect to employees and understand their issues better which otherwise I would have probably overlooked had I been only a HR personnel all my professional life.
As I started my journey with Ameyo, I started coaching the HR Operations Team to work as the People’s Success Team. My first ask from HR team was to treat Ameyo employees as
- “Ameyo employees would treats their customers”
- “To try to understand employee pain points as our customer facing teams would try to understand Ameyo customer pain points”.
- “To educate the employees in the same way our teams educate customers when it is customer who needs to adopt to the change”
This completely changed the way HR Ops team interacted with the employees, they became employee centric, listened to concerns raised by employees patiently and acted promptly whenever the issue was found to be valid. Over a period of the time my team analysed exit interview data, I myself conducted more than 60 (1 on 1) meetings with employees at all levels, also visited Mumbai and Delhi offices to connect with remote location employees.
Post our analysis and interaction with employees we came up with a list of issues which needed immediate attention. On top of these issues were travel policy which was not revised in many years leading to employee dissatisfaction, Women’s Safety and Inclusivity and lack of Training were two other major issues. I would like to highlight few programs which we rolled out to address these findings and which has impacted employees positively:
Travel Policy was revised after benchmarking it against companies from similar backgrounds. This has saved a lot of time of management which was otherwise wasted in approving exceptions. Employees are happy as the travel is more comfortable now and the minutest of the details is mentioned in the policy document leaving no scope for any confusion
Women’s Safety and Inclusivity
In my first Town Hall, there was an anonymous post which left a deep impact on me. The post was related to women’s safety during late night stay. Though Ameyo was providing cab facility to female employees who were staying beyond 8PM even then, the process for requesting company transport was not very employee friendly. Many women were not even aware of this. Post this query HR came up with a late stay policy for women employees and instead of putting the onus on them for reaching out to admin for booking cabs we enlisted the guards to help us. Now the guard visits all 3 floors with a register in the evening and checks if any women employee requires company drop and arranges it for them at the time they need.
Rolling out prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) training was one more step towards making women employees feel safe and feel included. HR covered 100% Ameyo employees through instructor led or online POSH training. This training got teams talking and analyzing their individual behaviors and conversations flowed towards what is acceptable and what is not. This showed a ‘we care’ attitude of the company and the managers towards female employees.
The other major area of employee dissatisfaction was lack of training, it could be technical, related to product or leadership development. In the past one year L&D department has rolled out multiple training programs in collaboration with businesses for different employee sets. Some of the trainings were conducted with the help of external trainers like Dale Carnegie Leadership program for first time managers, some were developed in house with help of business like CPP. They have all been very well received by the Ameyo team.
Employee Engagement Programs
We have set the bar very high with the employee engagement activities conducted in the past one year. We had a blockbuster Diwali Mela, Holi Milan program, charity drives, sports events, children’s day etc. Even now during Lockdown employee engagement is going full swing virtually. A big shout out to Saumya, Shashi and Anjali and the events committee for this.
Note of Thanks
I have listed above few of the many programs which were driven by various HR teams and obviously each of these were team efforts:
- The credit for starting a full-fledged L&D department in Ameyo goes to Shubham, our VP-HR and Akash our L&D manager. Shubham and Akash have been working relentlessly for the past 1 year to create different training programs to help Ameyo employees step up in their career.
- Releasing Travel policy required countless meetings between our CEO Bishal, CFO Sachin Verma and the HR team. Everyone was always ready to take out time from their busy schedules and only because of this we could release the policy in 3 months’ time.
- Filling the Culture Audit document was a mammoth task which took a month and I would like to thank Prabhu our Talent Acquisition Lead and his team for helping with the TA part of the document and the rest of the HR team to fill their parts.
And finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude for Arjun for being my guide in this journey to achieve the GPTW certification. He shared his experiences from the first GPTW survey conducted in 2017 since he was leading this project at that time and helped me continuously in the current year’s survey. Without him this whole exercise of GPTW would not have been possible.
When we started this journey of getting certified we decided to do the whole process with due diligence without cutting any corners even though the probability of achieving the certification was remote. And now that we have achieved it, I would like to end this blog by mentioning my favourite quote:
“If you do not cheat on work, it will never cheat on you, the fruit of labor will be yours.”