How we encourage belonging among employees: eCommerce fashion brand Myntra
The key drivers of employee engagement shifted significantly during 2020 – belonging and well-being are now at the top of the list. So how can your organization create a culture where these drivers thrive?
Cultivating a sense of belonging emerged as the strongest driver of employee engagement in the 2021 Employee Experience Trends report - replacing “confidence in senior leadership to make the right decisions for the company” from last year.
Alongside this, employee well-being rose to become a core metric of the employee engagement model with businesses working to support their employees during the pandemic.
Importantly, the study quantifies the impact creating a sense of belonging and prioritizing well-being have on the workforce. And it’s good news. Both help increase engagement and tenure.
As businesses move forward from the events of 2020, there is a huge opportunity to reinvent the workplace around these new focus areas and unlock the plethora of positive benefits they will bring.
Cultivating a culture of belonging and well-being
Myntra, India’s leading e-commerce destination for fashion and lifestyle products, is already progressing on its journey to cultivate a sense of belonging among its employees.
“When the pandemic hit and people moved to working from home, employees were telling us it felt like the boundaries between their work and home life were starting to blur,” says Sneha Arora, Vice President of Human Capital at Myntra. “In this new reality, we knew mental well-being was critical and cultivating a feeling of belonging even though teams were working remotely was imperative.”
In response to the situation, Myntra initiated various new benefits and policies to support employees during COVID and enable their well-being. From launching new working norms giving people time to focus on the jobs at hand – such as ‘No-meeting Wednesday’, to ‘Myntra For You', which reimburses up to 20,000 INR for COVID tests, home office setup, COVID essentials etc.
“We also enhanced the medical insurance policy for our employees to make it more relevant for the emerging needs driven by the pandemic and took our partners and delivery staff under the umbrella of the enhanced policy.
Myntra also extended our employee assistance support programs to include families by running activities like yoga sessions, meditation and emotional wellness webinars. “We recently launched unlimited wellness leaves for our employees, to give them the flexibility to take time off anytime, without worrying about leave balances, and focus on their physical, and emotional well-being,” adds Arora.
The actions taken at Myntra to create a sense of belonging and support employees led to a 4% percent increase in employee engagement metric and 6% in leadership trust over the last pulse survey (bi-annual hosted on Qualtrics). This positive shift could have previously taken years to deliver.
“Trust, traditionally, takes a long time to build in most set-ups. But by taking action on what matters to our employees during the pandemic has helped us reinforce trust in a matter of months,” says Arora.
Listening and acting
“Prior to the pandemic we would run an annual employee engagement survey. However, we were clear from the beginning that we needed to increase the frequency of communications, whether it was through town halls or online forums. We needed a platform for honest and transparent two-way communications.
“The engagement survey tool from Qualtrics is fundamental in helping us regularly gather feedback from our employees and immediately and confidently act on it, with the insights captured helping guide the actions we take. The speed and easy accessibility of the platform means we are able to quickly try new things to improve the employee experience and do more of the things that work to create an inclusive and supportive culture,” says Arora.
The value of executive support
Along with listening, Myntra states having executive support and buy-in for the changes being made to the employee experience helped further create a culture of belonging and employee well-being. This aligns with another finding from the Qualtrics study, which highlights the critical role managers play.
“When top leadership are talking about belonging and well-being, it cascades across the entire organization. It impacts the way decisions are made, and ultimately translates into a better employee experience,” says Arora.
For businesses looking to create a greater sense of employee belonging and well-being, Arora points to the opportunity ahead.
“Create and design experiences for the moment taking into account every challenge employees are facing. We have a big responsibility to drive meaningful change. Mindsets are shifting, and the changes we make now, the trust we build, will last a long time,” she says.
Belonging and well-being is the sum of many parts
As we see at Myntra, creating a sense of belonging and prioritizing well-being is the sum of many parts driven by a relentless pursuit of taking action on the things that matter to employees.
While the situation will be different across every business, the critical role of listening and acting on feedback remains. By taking action on what matters to your employees will help lift engagement regardless of what the drivers might be.
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