In an earlier blog Collaboration Best Practices in a Hybrid Work Environment, we wrote about the transformed workplace dynamics in the post-pandemic reality and how, like most other organizations, Ultragenic has been aligning its policies to meet the challenges of the hybrid work model.
It has been an evolving process. We have found success with some of our measures, while others have not translated into expected outcomes. We continue to build on the positives and be creative in our approach. We understand that our measures need to align to the new and transformed work models. Therefore, our approach and measures need to be designed for the long term.
The leadership at Ultragenic has led from the front, not only with the ideas but also with their implementation, ensuring that the right message is conveyed to the team. We have developed an ecosystem, which is conducive to the remote and hybrid work models. Parallelly, we have actively created opportunities for online and in-person team engagement, which has gained even more significance towards maintaining high employee motivation, team interaction and alignment to the organizational vision.
Ultragenic’s employee engagement measures
Ultragenic cares: building systems to facilitate the new work models.
We understand and embrace the new work dynamics and employee expectations. Given the permanence of the remote and hybrid-work models, we have developed frameworks to facilitate these models and create clear protocols for the team members.
– Home-based work model. This option is provided to team members based on their experience and skill set, facilitating the home-based work by setting up the requisite infrastructure and protocols.
– Quarterly 2-week on-premises work model. Team members, who otherwise work remotely, are encouraged to work on-premises for 2 weeks in a quarter. We have allocated a budget to facilitate their travel and accommodation. This enables the much needed in-person interaction with colleagues and management.
– Hybrid work model. Soft protocols have been put in place to encourage physical presence in the office at least 3 times each week for colleagues, who have opted for a hybrid work model. The leadership has been instrumental in the success of this model by walking the talk.
– Re-allocation of the human resource budget. With the structuring of compensation based on the work model an employee opts for, the released HR funds are allocated towards employee engagement activities.
An engaging workplace – the physical face-lift
We have invested in a larger office, which is conveniently located for the team members and has ample social hangout places nearby to encourage small-group engagements beyond work. We have also invested in improved physical aesthetics of the office interiors, created spaces for team interactions and providing modern amenities to ensure colleagues feel comfortable, energized and motivated to work from office.
Investing in personal and professional growth
The teams that train together, work together and stay together. We have leveraged technology to ensure that the training and up-skilling culture at Ultragenic has continued through and beyond the pandemic. We started with our virtual engagement program, titled C.U.L.T., which was a series of online events with widespread participation of colleagues and facilitated by professional trainers. We also conduct periodic workshops and trainings for smaller teams and batches, covering such soft-skill topics as communication, working within teams, and storytelling, among others. A team engagement initiative, called North Star, is currently underway. It is a series of interactive sessions with the objective of helping employees identify their motivation that keeps them focused on their professional and personal goals, and then aligning these motivations with those of the organization.
Ultragenic has always had a culture of celebrating as a team. From small to big successes, and important milestones, we never miss an opportunity to express gratitude. In addition to our annual offsite, called Ultra-Utsav, we have added a half-yearly day-long event to our calendar, where we conduct the townhall for colleagues along with engagement and fun team activities. And of course, every festival and special day is celebrated with much fervor. We have had several creative and interesting events over the last several months, most suggested by colleagues, special talk by a guest speaker Major General Balraj Mehta on the occasion of Independence day, Fresher’s welcome party for our new colleagues, Ultra-Bollywood blast, Ultragenic’s celebration of Founders Day and many others.
All our initiatives are focused on encouraging peer-to-peer interaction, trust and bonding. An interesting addition this year has been the introduction of various interest-based clubs. Centered around Adventure, Sports, Cultural activities, Literary pursuits and Computer Gaming, each club is responsible for their respective charter and organizes regular engagement activities.
We setup project war rooms and workshops during critical phases of projects. It is the time where different teams collaborate to make the project a success. It helps newer team members to experience the work culture, appreciate the interdependencies amongst the teams, thus creating stronger bonds across the organization.
With an increasing team, and various work-models in effect, we have consciously focused on ensuring ongoing organization-wide communication. UltraTude, our quarterly internal newsletter is an initiative to keep everyone informed about the latest at Ultragenic. A section in the newsletter is devoted to colleague profiles to ensure everyone knows their colleagues beyond their immediate project team. We also organize regular visits to and from our satellite offices in other cities to encourage organization-wide team engagement.
Employee engagement is not a one-off social event
Engaged employees are ones who feel a kinship and connection towards their place of work. They are involved, enthusiastic, proactive and committed to contribute to the company’s success and to that of their own. Therefore, drivers of workplace engagement need to work on several fronts – encouraging people-to-people interaction, creating avenues for workplace collaborations, investing in the teams’ personal and professional growth, and ensuring that the management is always leading from the front.
It is imperative to develop an engagement roadmap to instill consistency in the initiatives and deliver on myriad employee motivations. Much of the success of employee engagement lies in knowing that it is a ‘process’, which requires continuous communication, innovation and re-invention. And Ultragenic is committed to this process.