Innovating HR! Interesting policies from around the world
Try Googling “define work” and don’t be surprised when the system throws up synonyms like ‘toil’, ‘exertion’ and ‘drudgery’. The fast-paced modern day life expects us to effortlessly juggle between work and personal life. But it often leaves us wondering ‘If only things were different’. Some of us also feel, ‘If only my organization allowed that” I’d seem more under control!
An increasing number of organizations now realize how overwhelmed employees are. And they are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that employees don’t have to worry about the things they usually worry about! For example, Organizations like Google, InMobi, Mashable, Mars Confectionary (of Mars Chocolate Fame) and Amazon allow pets at work! So you’d never have to worry about leaving your pet home alone anymore. While onsite facilities like gyms, laundry/dry-cleaning, supermarkets make life easy for employees – there are also policies that categorically help employees focus and do better at their job! Closer home, startups like Flipkart and Zomato have some creative people policies as well. Other organizations are also changing with the times. Let’s look at some of the innovative people practices from across the globe –
At InMobi, India’s most talked about mobile advertising company, employees do not require their supervisor’s approval for up to 6 days of leave! Tata Teleservices has done away with its attendance swiping system. Globally, companies like Facebook and Netflix also don’t have a fixed attendance and leave policy. Employees are considered responsible to take decisions that are in the best interest of the company. Naturally, such policies empower employees and instill a greater sense of ownership who then are committed to perform better
When Apple and Facebook decided to offer $20,000 to female employees to freeze their eggs, many brows got raised. The organizations’ argument was simple – we are helping female employees plan their families when they are ready thereby not impacting their professional growth just because biological clocks are ticking! While the policy may have attracted its share of controversy, yet I personally feel the intent was try an offering. Of course some policies work, some don’t, but the idea is to come up with a set of benefits catering to diverse needs of the employee base. Sometimes it can be as simple as what SAP Labs India offers. They offer cab transportation during and post pregnancy - a simple gesture that goes a long way! And this is not it. A lot more is happening in perhaps one of the most exciting areas of people benefits.
Recently, Facebook announced a 4 month paternity leave for new fathers in addition to its existing maternity benefits. Organizations in India are also not far behind when it comes to extending support to new mothers/parents. Few examples to list:
Flipkart has an extended maternity leave policy of 6 months with additional four months of flexi-working hours with full pay. Further, if required, new mothers can also avail of a one-year career break without pay
Citibank also offers an extended maternity leave of 6 months whereby the women employee can decide to take the leave in one go or in batches. “It also offers a childcare allowance up to Rs. 1.32 lakh a year, in addition to their salaries, for spending on daycare services of their choice”
Vodafone offers 4 months of fully paid maternity leave and full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after their return to work
InMobi’s flex maternity policy includes four months of paid leave, followed by half-day paid leave along with work from home facility for up to 6 months
Some out-of-the-box policies
And then there are some ‘cool’ policies that make employees working in these organizations take pride in their association. Have a look.
The ‘Free look’ period – Companies like InMobi, Zappos and Amazon pay people to quit! Yes! If a new InMobi recruit quits within a month, he/she gets a quitting bonus — three months' salary! Zappos and Amazon in the US have similar policies as well
Donate Leaves to Colleagues – Accenture India has a policy whereby employees with spare leaves can donate them to their colleagues who are in need of them (for medical emergencies etc.!)
‘Learning Wallets’ – Employees at InMobi get $800 annually as a 'learning wallet' which they can utilize to learn anything they want— cooking classes, scuba-diving lessons, learning a new language or simply mastering new technologies
While most of the examples emerge from Silicon Valley in US, yet they do indicate that times are changing and the future of work is lot about employee centricity. Organizations in India are also beginning to make this shift. While some of the policies might be experiments, some might work and some may not – but what is positive about this shift is the intent to put employees at the core of business operations. As they say “happy employees equals happy customers”. Hence more power to HR to enable this transition that aids employees’ productivity and professional growth, thereby resulting in business success.