READ the November 2021 issue of our magazine: Well-Being By Design
Employee burnout is on the rise. Organisations globally are striving hard to decode the triggers behind the issue and implementing employee benefit schemes that cover all aspects of worker well-being. This is a critical moment for leaders to prioritise wellness and bring forth situations that provide people psychological safety and also make them trust the organisation as one that openly talks about and addresses things related to employee well-being, says Sahil Mathur - Global Head of Human Resources and Culture at InMobi Group, in an interaction with us. Previously, Sahil held various positions at InMobi including Head of Partnerships and Head of Global Revenue Insights and Delivery. Prior to InMobi, Sahil was the Head of the Hyderabad Office and Head of Operations for Facebook. He also held leadership roles in sales, business development, and customer delivery at Google, Coors Brewing Company, and Cognizant Technology Solutions.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
According to several studies, business leaders are adapting their approaches and shoring up commitments to employee well-being in a bid to future-proof their businesses. How is the workplace benefits (and well-being) scenario transforming?
With substantial shifts in the workplace environment and the onset of virtual connections, businesses are rethinking their operations and adapting to the new normal. So are employees. It has become imperative to have an engaged workforce in this environment to be able to stay relevant in the future.
InMobi has taken detailed steps to understand the requirements of people across technical/functional/behavioural/leadership upskilling. The focus is to ensure that there is a learning stroke for all folks in a scalable yet personalised way. Amongst all of this, there is a deep focus on employee well-being. Sessions are offered in various ways - e-learning, virtual sessions, blended learning along with individual and group coaching sessions. All are related to mindfulness, mental health, emotional well-being, physical well-being, and the likes. The core philosophy is to help people discover themselves with a strong emphasis on a growth mindset. There are structured coaching programs, mentoring mechanisms, a network of psychotherapists and counsellors, assistance programs, confidants in the system, managers being trained on addressing well-being situations, and leadership coaching. Along with this, we are also adding additional days of leave for addressing well-being scenarios. There are benefits being provided for gyms and also in-house trainers for physical exercises daily. Besides, we are moving towards flexible benefit plans across geographies where employees have a say in choosing the benefits that matter to them most.
Despite the sizable investments organisations make in well-being initiatives, many fail. What’s your advice for employers to move from the conventional organisational benefit programs to weave well-being into the fabric of the organisation by design?
Businesses have always run based on numbers, profits, and revenue, and it’s on the leaders to help focus on employees. As an organisation a culture of keeping employee well-being and care at the front and center is important. At InMobi, we have that stand. This week, we are celebrating our 14th anniversary and our employees are the ones who have helped the business to grow and flourish, and we need to give them an environment that is rooted in their well-being. We have moved on from the conventional aspect of viewing well-being as a supplementary project to making it one of the focus points of the organisations. Understanding work-life harmony and being empathetic towards employees is the key factor to drive any initiatives focused on employees.
Leaders should strive to become a pillar of support for their employees to whom they can turn in times of crisis. We need to support and bring forth situations that provide people psychological safety and also make them trust the organisation as one that openly talks about and addresses things related to employee well-being.
While savvy employers are keeping a check on health performance indicators to meter what is working and what is not and identify opportunities for improvement, but isn’t it challenging to tackle given the level of burnout and fatigue employees are going through? How can organisations tackle such challenges?
The dynamics of work is diversifying and given the pandemic, remote working and lack of physical connect, the level of fatigue and burnout that employees are facing is high. It is on the company culture and values, and its leadership to have focused attention to employee’s wellbeing. As the intensity of fatigue rises, leaders need to make a conscious decision to help eliminate the reasons that lead to it.
To support our employee's well-being, we have taken various initiatives such as No meeting Fridays, Wellness leaves, Counselling Networks, grief addressal sessions, mindfulness series, body-mind integration workshops, therapy support and more. Over the past few months, we have seen our employees can simply address, acknowledge, and recoup effectively.
How would businesses justify the business case - in terms of adaptability, innovation, and employee experience, for investing in well-being? What metrics do you factor in to measure the RoI?
The changes we have seen since the pandemic began have pushed firms to make added efforts in reinventing and strategising on the priorities. The substantial shift in work culture has positioned HR into the forefront to be able to make conscious efforts to address employee well-being, the upskilling race and the future of workspaces.
I strongly believe employee engagement and satisfaction scores are to be looked at in different dimensions. A few key metrics that could provide direction and guidance could be promotion and attrition rates, employees utilizing the benefits provided, learning programs that they got themselves enrolled in, stretching beyond normal working days to overtime presence and so forth.
There is no one size fits all. The leadership at any company needs to be cognizant of their own culture fabric and track the metrics in a holistic manner as it must impact the business and therefore company growth rates. All of this while not ignoring employee well-being, as one leads to another.
Where do you see the workplace benefits landscape two years down the line?
The workspace is continuously evolving keeping in mind the current scenario and employees wanting to have a more flexible environment. Working from anywhere has become a norm for all of us now, and with no geographical barriers for talent, this has given us the ability to hire employees from anywhere around the globe. We believe our employees are the backbone of our business, and even two years down the line, we want to ensure our employees get necessary benefits and have the flexibility of choice, being more agile and providing psychological safety and customisation at the workspace.