The motivational workathon

Here is what Peyush Bansal, CEO and founder of lensKart has to say about why a happy workforce is every entrepreneur's business


Workplace motivation has been talked about in more places than one, however as per a report by Towers Watson, stress was ranked as the No. 1 most pressing lifestyle risk factor for Indian employees. While work plays an important role in the lives of most people, it is also important to understand that the workplace experience can both contribute to and reduce employee stress. In a challenging economic scenario, where companies are stretched to balance costs and maximize productivity, employers need to identify specific triggers that impact employee wellness, engagement and, in turn, productivity. 

It was, for long, believed that if employees deliver the goods, their happiness and health are their own business. For employers, it was difficult to understand that disengaged employees were not just unhappy but also found their work to be tedious and irrelevant. According to a study conducted by Towers Watson in the year 2014, close to half of the employees in India reported excessive pressure at work. 

In the early stages of my professional career, while working at Microsoft I learnt that the happier the workforce, the more productive it will be. Irrespective of their roles and positions in the organization, all employees want a positive environment and working relationships with their reporting managers and the opportunity to learn and contribute.

Over time, employers have evolved and understood that it is important to create the right culture: a culture that values employees, encourages team work and allows people to talk to each other to share information and knowledge and work together in a positive way. Positive workplaces have higher levels of engagement which directly affects performance and productivity, innovation and creativity, team work and collaboration. 

As firms increasingly find themselves in quickly changing and highly competitive markets, innovation and creativity has become the key to survival for many organizations. In such a situation, we definitely cannot rely on traditional methods of mentoring. Undoubtedly, there’s a lot for the younger generation to learn from senior and experienced employees but the veterans must also seek out to learn from the millennials for a creative and fresh perspective. As an organization, we value creativity and are always open to new ideas and methods and encourage employees to think big and experiment.

At Lenskart, we believe in communicating openly.I feel that an open door culture demonstrates high levels of accessibility and promotes open flow of communication, fostering a culture of transparency and closer working relationships. As a means of promoting transparency, we hold quarterly ‘Open Houses’ and send out monthly newsletters to keep employees informed about key developments and milestones achieved.

The definition of ‘happiness’ in most workplaces is now expanding. Savvy employers are moving beyond good pay and other benefit schemes and are putting in their best efforts to improve the overall wellbeing of their employees. While earlier taking leaves was considered to be a sign of inefficiency, nowadays employers not just motivate their employees to take leaves to spend leisure time with their friends and family but also spend a hefty amount on gifting luxury experiences to their employees. 

We largely invest in an onboarding program which includes getting the employee connected to his/her peers and a comprehensive understanding of the employee’s role in relation to that of the team and the organization at large. We also promote a culture of recognition wherein leaders regularly appreciate performance and give immediate feedback for living company values and outstanding performance. At our quarterly ‘Open House’, our key agenda is to recognize accomplishments by sharing them with the entire company. 

When I started Lenskart, back in the year 2010, I wanted to have an inclusive work culture. A culture that not just benefits the organization but also keeps the employees motivated. Over the years, I have not just worked to develop my start-up into a successful business but also worked towards achieving a motivated and engaged workforce. I strongly promote collective spirit and teamwork as a result of which employees have shared goals and a wider sense of ownership, both collectively and individually, making team members more responsible and enthusiastic.

Across different job profiles, skill sets and designations in the organizational hierarchy, women and young professionals contribute significantly to the success of companies. Recognizing the growing influence of this emerging workforce, I’m in complete support of the initiatives taken by our government to actively encourage women employees by initiating friendly HR policies for women. The govt. is conscientiously implementing family-friendly policies to aspire women who wish to have a meaningful career and a fulfilling family life. In my opinion, greater work flexibility allows employees to manage their needs and increase their engagement and productivity.

As an employer I believe learning opportunities, professional development, and career progression are among the top drivers of employee satisfaction. The organization provides opportunities, both formal and informal, that let employees learn on the job, take developmental assignments, and find support when they need help, through a culture of support and learning & giving people the time to learn. The organization also supports internal mobility and gives people the freedom to experiment.

To actively keep employees engaged and to encourage friendly competition,we organize various competitive events and challenges that actually lead to increased camaraderie. Such events help in fostering creativity and encourage participants to think out-of-the-box. One such initiative i.e. an internal hackathon resulted in developing Lenskart Lite App. We saw merit in the internal hackathon idea and were very proud to develop it into a reality.

Today's business mantra seems to be: Make more, make it better and make it faster. My mantra is that I’ll only be a successful employer if my employees are not overly stressed. A moderate amount of pressure can empower workers, can help them feel a sense of growth and accomplishment with a job well done. But too much pressure for too long a time period can tip the scales toward poor morale — and that can lead to entirely different sort of business pressure.

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