To emerge as a leader in today’s hyper-competitive talent market, every organization needs to begin by asking itself a question – “What do our current and prospective employees expect from their workplace?”
REA India embarked on this quest with Great Place To Work® in 2015. Ever since this partnership began, REA India has seen consistent evolution and refinement in its approach towards building a High-Trust High-Performance™ culture. This has led to them acquiring a place in the Top 3 of Best WorkplacesTM 2023 in India and 4th rank among Best WorkplacesTM for Asia 2023 – both fantastic feats!
To top it all, REA India is also recognized among the Top 10 Best Workplaces in India for Millennials – one of the largest cohorts of the global workforce.
India’s median age according to the 2021 estimate by the CIA World Fact book is 28 years. This means half of the population is under the age of 28 years. With the immense talent and potential that can be tapped with the millennials, it is becoming increasingly essential to acknowledge the generational context of diversity – REA India has got it right!
Unique celebrations keeping in mind the diverse workforce including Millennials. Glimpse of a ‘Stand Up Comedy’ show from Diwali celebrations
What characterizes REA India’s culture to foster a millennial-friendly workplace culture?
1. Creating an Equitable and Fair Workplace
An equitable workplace aligns with the Millennial values of prioritizing fairness and inclusivity. Millennials want to work where their contributions matter and where they can grow personally and professionally.
As per Great Place To Work® India 2023 research, when people in Retail industry feel they are “paid fairly and treated fairly, as well as provided with the better work environment,” they are 5 times or more likely to respond to their organization being a great place to work.
REA India’s hiring process ensures equitable offers, determined by internal role equity, batch parity, and pay structure alignment. To maintain industry competitiveness, they collaborate with respected experts for compensation benchmarks, ensuring the employees remain aligned with industry standards.
“The organization has a streamlined flow for reviews & promotions. We have a quarterly review process where the employee & reporting manager both get a fair chance of assessing the employee’s efforts based on the work they did in the quarter. The same thing is done in the mid-year review process.” (Senior Software Engineer)
“Initially when I joined, I received the compensation which I asked for but later within the mid-term the leadership team approached me for increment as the pay was not fair compared to other team members of same level. Soon after 1 year I received another increment based on my performance, so I strongly believe that this strength makes REA India a great place to work.” (Senior Interaction Designer)
2. Developing For All Leadership
As per the Best Workplaces™ for Millennials 2023 Report by Great Place To Work®, 39% of the millennials are in managerial roles today. REA India vests complete autonomy in its people managers which reflects in the significant investments made in developing managerial capability.
REA India introduced the People Manager Learning Series, designed to equip their people managers with the essential knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for effective leadership through tailored Individual Development Plans and learning programs. These learning programs focus on diverse aspects of Leadership and include masterclasses, personalized coaching, and group workshops.
For example, REA India’s LEAP (Leadership Excellence through Awareness & Practice) is a 5-month program tailored for leaders at middle to senior levels to elevate self-awareness and action-based leadership.
This has a two-pronged advantage:
– Many Millennials transitioning into leadership positions and emerging as future leaders feel empowered to lead effectively – a proactive approach to succession planning.
– Great Place To Work® research suggests that For All Leadership, on an average, results in 62% more employees finding meaning in their job, making a difference, and creating a better future
3. Genuine Care for the wellbeing of the employees
Wellbeing is at the forefront for employees as the pandemic has reshuffled the priorities for many; more so, for the younger generation that wants its leaders to connect with them at a personal level.
Wellbeing, however, is multi-faceted. The research team at Great Place To Work® has identified six key levers that drive the wellbeing experience in the workplace. Notably, REA India has implemented practices that effectively cater to each of these aspects.
Responsible Leadership: In tandem with their regular townhall meetings, they have a practice known as ‘Coffee and Conversation (C&C) with the CEO’, held monthly. The aim of these sessions is to provide the team members with an avenue to engage with the CEO on an informal level about work and beyond.
Supportive Managers: Quarterly ‘Unfiltered Sessions – Skip Level Connects’ have been established as an integral initiative for leaders to engage directly with their teams, foster meaningful relationships, encourage expansive thinking, and extend support, especially useful in a hybrid setup. Similarly, the quarterly ‘Feel @ Home Hour’ sessions by the Regional HRBP Leads have only one agenda – to understand and address unresolved concerns.
Autonomy and Fulfillment: REA India has established a Talent Management Framework that guarantees a clear trajectory of advancement and recognition for every type of talent within the organization. It entails talent assessments, psychometric tests, and 360-degree feedback to uncover the unique skills and capabilities possessed by everyone. This approach effectively creates customized growth plans and empowers their employees to find enduring fulfillment through a deeper sense of purpose in their work.
Enabling Work Environment: The ‘League of Legends’ is an initiative to reward performance and align recognition efforts across departments. This monthly R&R program directly links performance metrics to KRAs, acknowledging top performers within the organization.
“We’ve some good recognition for the work in the form of spotlight awards, You’re\ Awesome cards, League of Legends, Hall of Fame, promotions, Mid-year reviews etc., This keeps the morale high of our team.” (Engineering Manager)
Sense of community: ‘AutoVALUEgraphy’ is a practice at REA India that invites stellar stories from people about critical incidents where they displayed organizational values. In true spirit of collaboration, people could share stories of their colleagues also.
CEO, Dhruv Agarwala interacting with AutoVALUEgraphy winners
Health: REA India’s comprehensive wellness programs prioritize both proactive health management and immediate medical support during emergencies. In line with this commitment, they’ have introduced complimentary full body check-ups for employees and discounted check-ups for their dependents. They also have a robust Employee Well-Being & Assistance Program (EWAP) which is aimed at the mental well-being of people and provides them with the support and resources they may need to address any personal or work challenges that may affect their well-being and work performance.
This comprehensive approach towards wellbeing resonates with millennials by addressing their holistic needs.
4. Tailoring Workplace Solutions for Unique Needs
The younger generation highly values inclusion as they have grown up in a diverse socio-economic environment. As a reflection of their own values and aspirations for a just and equitable society, millennials prioritize workplaces that actively drive a sense of belonging and inclusion.
Recognizing the fact that different teams and departments function remarkably well in different set-ups during lockdowns and subsequent reopening of offices, REA India embraced a progressive Future of Work Policy – a policy that encompasses a versatile ‘work-from-anywhere’ model.
This contemporary approach allows their team members to decide between office-based or remote work, tailored to their roles. It also demonstrates the full confidence REA India has in their employees’ ability to outperform, regardless of their chosen work environment.
“In the extraordinary situation of the pandemic, management was quite empathetic and benevolent to give us first a hybrid and then a permanent remote working policy. This has given immense support to be with the family and at the same time contribute to the company’s goal in an efficient manner.”(Senior Director)
The ‘Future of Work’ policy which allows people to work form anywhere brings talent from various parts of the nation to the REA India family
In line with their commitment to adaptability in this VUCA world, REA India also understands the importance of financial wellbeing. That’s why they have introduced the innovative ‘Early Cheque-In’ practice, a one-of-a-kind initiative that enables their employees to access a portion of their salary on the 15th of each month. This forward-thinking approach empowers their team members to effectively manage their expenses and achieve greater financial flexibility.
5. Promoting Open and Transparent Dialogue
The digital age has given millennials unprecedented access to information. They expect organizations to be authentic and forthcoming with information and authenticity often goes hand in hand with transparent communication.
While quarterly townhalls have proven effective to cascade information downwards, initiatives like the Blank Canvas Sessions are dedicated to inviting employees to speak their minds.
Millennials are more likely to contribute fresh ideas when they feel their voices are heard. REA India recognizes this and collaborates with all employees to co-create policies, encouraging them to determine what supports their optimal growth and performance. These co-created policies are proudly marked as “Co-created by: People at REA India,” reinforcing their commitment to valuing every individual’s input and fostering a true sense of organizational inclusivity.
REA India encourages creative thinking and constant improvement through its platform called ‘MYDEA’, which is an online idea generation tool where people can park their suggestions for improving company products, services, policies, and practices, for enhancing customer and employee experience. The ideas with merit are then picked up for implementation by various departments. This creates a sense of empowerment among people, and they feel deeply connected with the purpose of the organization.
‘Ide-o-clock’ is another unique practice tailored for their Product, Design & Technology teams to spark innovation. This involves quarterly meetings using design thinking, promoting creative brainstorming and fresh ideas. Several ideas that emerged are in process of implementation, reflecting the impact of these sessions.
“I love this one, my ideas, my opinions are heard and given a stage. I have a voice here in very important decisions. Even in the branch, I never felt that we are away from head office, I can reach out to anyone anytime. They will respect my opinions.”(Manager-Human Resources)
REA India ensures that people experience isn’t impacted because of the work mode. Glimpse of virtual monthly engagement fun
If an organization can check the boxes for these five important characteristics, they will not only become a great workplace for millennials but become more adaptable to the Gen-Z needs. As millennials currently form a significant part of the workforce and Gen-Z is the future, aligning with millennial preferences and values serves as a stepping stone to effectively accommodate the upcoming generation’s needs, preferences, and work dynamics.
In conclusion, focusing on millennial talent is crucial for organizations to remain adaptable, innovative, and competitive in a rapidly changing business landscape. Dexterous organizations like REA India exemplify this principle.