A growing body of research shows that organizations that create more human workspaces are the ones that enjoy greater levels of employee engagement, productivity, and retention. While these are great reasons for organizations to work towards creating encouraging, open, enabling workspaces, one key reason to do the same is because this is, simply, the right thing to do.
Employees are an organization’s greatest assets. They are the backbone of any business. And if we want this backbone to hold up the weight of the organization, we need to make sure we take all the measures to ensure its health – mental, physical, and financial.
In a bid to keep employees happy and provide them with better balance many organizations have had remote work/work from home policies in place amongst other initiatives. However, if we see the fine print, there’s almost always a corollary – one that reads, time ‘at’ work is held in higher regard than time ‘on’ work. For the employee, the perks then are just superficial…almost a trap.
Thankfully, some of this attitude has melted owing to the COVID crisis that pushed even the most vehement critic of working from home and remote working to accept that this trend works, and works well. But at the same time, we heard reports of work-from-home burnout during the pandemic owing to completely blurred lines between work and home.
The true mettle of an organization is gauged not when things are rosy, but when things get tough. The pandemic was the time when the employees could clearly separate the wheat from the chaff and identify if the organization really cared for them or was it only profits that they were after. It is everyone’s guess which organization would see retention once the market bounced back.
Luckily for us, our employees have been extremely happy with our performance pre and even post (optimistically) the pandemic. We can boast of an extremely ethical, empathetic, common sense driven, people-oriented, workplace. Being a small organization, that huge fancy café might be missing from the office premises, but the things that truly matter are right there.
Here are a few things that Benison offers its employees:
Results and goals matter – timesheets don’t
As an engineering design firm, we solve challenging problems for our clients. Our engineers are technology enthusiasts who have built some of the leading products in the world. It is a high-energy office environment but despite that, we understand that all our employees are unique individuals who function differently from one another. We understand that to do creative work you need to be given the freedom to think and work.
Being a young and progressive company, we steer away from traditional models that operate from a place of control. Given that we have a strict hiring process we make sure that our engineers are a good fit within our organizational culture that ranks ‘trust’ very highly.
Because of this, you won’t find us raking up timesheets or managing employee hours to evaluate an employee’s value. We are a goal and results-oriented organization and as long as the employee is meeting this, we don’t feel the need to go down the time-sheet route, because at last the results and goals matter.
Empathy and understanding are essentials of our culture
From the very beginning, we wanted to build a humane company…a company that can value humans for who they are. While we do want our employees to be high-performing, and they never disappoint us, we also understand that humans are not machines – there will be challenges, difficulties, and hurdles along the way.
Empathy and understanding, as such, are two of our core values – ones that we hold in extremely high regard. Employees are like our extended family and believe that our association with them is not work-related alone. For example, recently one of our employees was expecting a baby. Given the pandemic, we felt a deep sense of responsibility and made sure our office boy delivered groceries, vegetables, and other essentials to her house.
In another case, one of our employees who was living alone did not report to work on two consecutive days. His manager realized that this was uncharacteristic behavior especially because this employee was not even answering his calls. We promptly sent someone to check in on him and discovered that he had passed away. We contacted the employee’s family who was in the U.S and even concluded the last rites of the employee since the family could not be here.
We feel that it is the little things that go a long way, and we have not been wrong in thinking so. As employers, we feel it is our duty to help our employees navigate the challenges they face, irrespective of whether they are professional or personal, and help them along the course.
It is easy to look after your employees when things are good. But the true mettle of an organization is determined by how they treat its employees in times of crisis. While we mobilized the remote working and work-from-home model and made sure that our employees were enabled with technology and tools when the pandemic hit, we made sure we maintained professional boundaries to make sure our employees did not burnout. We understood this was not a normal remote working situation and that employees were under extreme duress due to the crisis.
We realized that one of the biggest concerns for employees across the globe was that of job security and getting their payments on time. The news reports on job cuts, companies shutting down, and other such negative trends did not serve anyone’s mental health.
To make sure that our employees were appeased and could work unconcerned we made sure that not a single lay-off happened during this pandemic. When business got tough, the management took a pay cut but not a single employee was subjected to the same. We also made sure that as soon as things got back to normal and our coffers started filling up, our employees got their increments promptly.
Lead by example
There are no two sets of rules at Benison. What applies to the employees, applies to their managers and the management. This is because we believe that trust begets trust and when employees see their leaders walk the talk, they are motivated to do so themselves. We are big believers in ‘actions speak louder than words‘ and expect that the actions of those in management roles are worth emulating.
Over time, this aspect of our company culture has been appreciated by all and has helped us build a culture of ownership across the ranks. It has also been one of the key reasons why we have enjoyed employee loyalty.
Respect is mandatory
If there is one thing that we do not stand by is the lack of respect. Treating each other respectfully, irrespective of hierarchy or position is the hallmark of our organization. Establishing a rather flat hierarchical structure has been an intentional decision to make sure that rank never gets into anyone’s head or the perceptions of hierarchy don’t seep-in and start clouding interactions and conversations. From the president of the company to the office boy, every Benison member enjoys the same degree of respect from their peers.
While the pandemic shows us all that it is critical to embrace humanity and be understanding and caring as individuals, this holds true for organizations as well. Prioritizing the human side and taking care of employees with the same intention as we care for our clients is imperative. Those who do so will reap the benefits when the storm passes.
Let’s connect if you want to work in a high-growth, high-energy, and healthy work environment.