Why your company needs an employee retention policy?

Why your company needs an employee retention policy?

Losing a skilled employee is a massive setback for any organization. Though the market is brimming with talents waiting to be hired, the organization may run into losses for the investments they have to make in the recruitment and training processes. Also, there’s no guarantee that the new candidate’s skills will be on par with the previous employee. This eventually leads to high turnover rates and harms the organization’s successful run. Therefore, every company needs to have an employee retention policy that includes benefits and strategies, which ensure maximum employee satisfaction and retention. It’s one of the most crucial tasks assigned to the HR who along with the employers or managers play a major role in increasing the employee retention rate of the company.

Employee retention is a process or effort put in by employers to retain their employees for a long time. Employees tend to look out for better opportunities due to lack of appraisals or appreciation. If you look at all the multi-natural successful companies today, they all have healthy retention rates because of the perks and benefits they offer. Employees are an investment too, and to make sure they bring the best to the company; it’s essential to keep them satisfied be it monetarily or by boosting their morale. A lot of HRs believe that employee retention begins after the recruitment process or probation, but to point out the certain, the retention program begins during the recruitment process itself.

Hence, companies need to draft an employee retention policy that will benefit them and the employees in the long run. Though most of the companies have an employee retention policy in place, not necessarily all are practicing the norms as they should; therefore, the rate of turnovers is increasing. Plus, it’s a living document which means it requires occasional updates to keep up with the trends in the industry. An organization that does not adhere to the employee retention policy or with low employee retention rates is running into gallows rather than touching the targets they have for the annual year.

Now that we’ve pointed out how important an employee retention policy is, let’s dive in to know more about the policy and why companies, especially small-scaled industries need to adapt them to cut down superfluous expenditures.

What is Employee Retention Policy?

The employee retention policy is a list of policies and programs drafted by employers to ensure maximum employee satisfaction and retention. These policies include perks, benefits, investment to train the candidates, to sharpen their skills and improve the employer-employee relationship. An organization that only focuses on recruitment strategies and not retention techniques run the risk of losing these employees in the long run.

Especially small-scaled organizations that focus more on productivity not realizing that their employees are an investment too. Losing them, especially skilled ones will eventually hamper the qualitative aspects and clientele relationship of the company. Also, the retention policies are not only about employees but the employers as well. The HRs have to make sure the employers are notified about the upgrade in industry trends, and the managers are clued in about these policies to keep the satisfaction level at par. If these employee retention policies are not revisited time-to-time or updated as per trends, then they are nothing but ink on a paper.

Why does an organization need Employment Retention Policy?

Though achieving targets and yielding profits is the primary goal, the employees are also important for the organization. They are the backbone; they are the driving force who give in their time, talent and labour to produce estimated sales and returns. However, at times only compensation may not justify the motivation or appreciation they seek from the employers or their managers. Also, if the managers are unable to deduce the employee’s state of mind or unhappiness, it could lead to the loss of key talent. Hence, the reason why employee retention policy is essential and here’s why every organization needs it:

  • It decreases high turnover rates – A good retention policy ensures high retention and increases in employee satisfaction graph. This means the employees are less likely to leave your company. Also, it will reduce the high turnovers because there are minimal recruitment requirements and training processes to invest in.
  • It enhances the employer-employee relationship – The HRs ensure the managers are aware of the policies, and they advise them to maintain a cordial relationship with the employees. A good employer-employee relationship can never have setbacks considering a lot of people leave jobs because of bad bosses.
  • It boosts employee’s morale – An employee who feels unappreciated in the company is more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. So naturally, boosting your employees’ morale becomes a crucial strategy to retain them for a long time.

Do read the top 9 strategies to retain your employees

How does the Employee Retention Policy benefit employees?

Though no employee is going to stay with the organization until the end of time, the prime idea is to retain them as long as they can. The reason being – A long-termed employee is aware of the organization’s guidelines, knows how it processes, is aware of the touch points and strategies to focus on to produce the targeted output and has built relationships with the clients.

So, losing a key talent is a huge setback for the organization, for it has to go through the recruitment processes all over again as well as invest in time and training to groom the new candidates. All in all, it an expensive procedure and to avoid these costly turnovers, several organizations are now focusing on benefits and even aligning these employee benefits with the objective of the organization. A marked shift has been witnessed in the retention strategies too, and Indian organizations are now investing large sums to not only retain but attract new talents as well.

Here are the key points that the policy touches to increase the rate of employee satisfaction –

  • Employee Recognition – Undefined roles and designations only lead to confusion and disappointments. Hence, HR’s advise employees to define their KRA’s not only to add clarity to their job descriptions but to make them realize that the employers are aware of their inputs in the organization’s growth. Besides this, the HR’s also advises managers to motivate the employees and guide them into new collaborations if need be.
  • Employee Benefits Strategies – Benefits and perks are one of the many reasons that affect employee satisfaction. There’s no hard and fast rule that there should be multiple benefits and perks to make your employees happy. Sticking to the basic ones that make their life easier and more meaningful outside the closed quarters of their cabins and work desks should seal the deal—for example, health insurance, discounts, recreational center memberships, in-house lunch services, etc.
  • Employee Appreciation Programs – Successful organizations are those who invest in employee engagement programs to ensure the employees are happy with their jobs. HRs are organizing more engagement-based activities, celebrating birthdays, annual parties, success parties, and sending out appreciation cards to boost morale. A happier employee means a successful organization.
  • Employee Inputs & Feedback – Other than staying updated on the trends, what’s matters is listening to your employees. They are on the field; they know the situation; they know where the organization is lacking or what strategies can be implemented to make working conditions better. Taking feedback and holding one-to-one meetings with employees not only enhances the employer-employee relationship but helps the HR’s or managers get an insight to concoct potential retention strategies.

Now that you know why an organization needs retention policies and how an employee can benefit from them, it is also necessary to design the employee retention policy accurately and keep it as employee-oriented as possible, while keeping the objectives of the business in mind.

Want to retain your top performing employees? Download the complete guide to employee retention

Employee Retention Policy Sample

An employee retention policy is different for all organizations. It depends on what the employees of the companies are seeking. As stated earlier, knowing what your employee wants, in order to deliver his best for the company is of utmost importance. Listening to your employee, appreciating the employees and making them feel a part of the company are some of the points to be focused on while aligning them with the objective of the business. In a way, the policies should not only ensure satisfaction but also motivate the employee to perform better than their previous outputs. There are several employee retention policy samples out there to guide your drafting process. Whether you are opting for something simple, fancy or creative, the following points must be focused on:

  • Objective – Define the objective of drafting the employee retention policy for the organization. Mention the aspects that need attention to attain this objective.
  • Strategies – Explain the strategies (benefits and perks) you are planning to implement to achieve the objective.
  • Outcome – Define the outcomes and what other gains that the organization is expecting by introducing this objective and implementing the strategies.
  • Measurement – How will the qualitative and quantitative outcomes of this objective be measured? Will, there be surveys sent out, will there be one-on-one meeting etc. to ensure the goal was met? All the methods and measures should be accurately defined in the plan.

Why invest in retention policies rather than recruitment strategies?

In India, the attrition rates are regrettably high, especially in the IT sectors. As per reports published in Economic Times in 2019, top IT firms like Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant are facing high turnover rates due to young and junior level employees opting to switch jobs after learning the trade of the market. Thus, most of these companies are updating their retention policies or switching to a better employee retention policy sample as well as investing more in retention techniques rather than only focusing on recruitment strategies. For example, Wipro is going all out to retain key talents by offering a retention bonus of 1 lakh. They are also promoting them to managerial and client-facing roles to learn new skills and get market exposure.

Though spending on employee benefits sounds like a costly expenditure, it’s not as expensive as the turnover rates and recruitment processes that organizations end up spending on. Also, not necessarily the new candidate will be as good as your existing or previous employee. Spending on employee benefits is no less a than gamble too, but that again depends on the employee retention policy sample that the organization has drafted to increase employee satisfaction. Let’s not forget employees are an investment. If an organization invests in them, it will eventually lead to an increase in the organization’s growth, whereas investing in recruitment strategies, no matter how good they are or how good a candidate the HR may hire, the expensive training processes and time spent does not guarantee profitable turnovers. Hence, every organization must opt to shift their focus on upgrading the retention policies rather than only investing in recruitment strategies.

Drawbacks of Employment Retention Policy

Employee Retention Policy has its setbacks too. Considering the whole process is no less than a gamble, the stakes are high since the organization is investing in the employees in the long run. It’s a testing time for HRs to point out skilled and under-skilled employees in the organization. And playing bets on the wrong card may result in a huge setback for the company. However, that does not mean that only key talents are to be vouched for retention; there may be employees who are skilled but being less productive due to lack of motivation or appreciation. Though not all employees are going to stay in the company for a long time, it’s important for the HR to scoop out skilled employees, because investing in them will help the organization in the long run.

To conclude on a fair note, employment retention policy may have its setbacks, but it’s a huge advantage for all organizations who are seeking a plan to reduce high turnover rates, attrition rates and to increase employee retention. The happier the employees are, the less likely they will leave. Hence designing an accurate retention policy that adheres to employee needs, meets the objective of the organization and increases productivity is the need of the hour for every organization in India today.

How to take care of your employees amidst COVID-19 ?

How to take care of your employees amidst COVID-19 ?

Currently, the world is facing a severe crisis with the outbreak of the COVID-19. The COVID-19 has affected around 150 countries across the world with major effects in countries like Italy, Iran, China, Japan, and the USA, UK, India, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain and many more.

Around 5 Million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide and the death toll of people affected by the COVID-19 has reached around 3Lac+ as on 20-May-2020. The 2019 novel corona virus has been officially named as COVID-19 by the WHO (World Health Organization) and this disease has also been declared as a global pandemic.

In India, thousands of suspected cases have been tested and 206 confirmed cases have been reported till 20th March, 2020. The first death due to the COVID-19 was reported in Karnataka on the 12th of March. The Indian Government has evoked Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act to deal with the outbreak of this deadly disease.

Major states and union territories in India such as Punjab, Karnataka, Delhi, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, West Bengal, etc. have started adopting coronavirus quarantine measures to control further spreading of the disease. This includes closure of malls, gyms, schools, colleges, swimming pools, movie theaters, etc. Common people have been instructed to avoid mass gatherings and have been suggested to make frequent use of sanitizers/hand wash, etc.

Precautionary measures like the use of disinfectants in public transport mean, spraying disinfectants across roads near malls and residential areas, etc. have also been taken by the Government. Common people have been suggested time and again to stay clean and safe.

Continuity of business amidst COVID-19

Amidst all such chaos and adverse situations, the major challenge that is being faced by the different industrial sectors of the country is the continuity of business during the outbreak of a pandemic. Even if the Indian Government has sealed the borders of the country there is no such stringent lock down at workplaces across the country. People are still coming to their workplaces as usual to work and to continue the business. However, the threat of being affected by the dreadful disease haunts the minds of the employees working in various sectors.

In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that their employees are safe during such distressful situations.

1. Work from home for employees

With the Government adopting social distancing as a major step to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, many employers have started to reduce their number of employees reporting at workplaces. Various MNCs, BPPOs, corporate offices and even non-IT organizations across the country have urged their employees to avoid commuting to the workplace and to continue working from home. This is an ideal way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In IT hub Gurugram, the administration has issued advisory to the various MNCs, BPOs and other offices for allowing their employees to carry work from home at least till the end of March. It has also forbidden the gathering of more than 200 people at a particular place to prohibit the spread of COVID-19. The employers at IT companies have started implementing the “work-from-home” model quite conveniently especially for the employers of IT firms in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. Around ninety percent of the employers in India believe that it is urgent to provide the employees with an option of remote and flexible work.

Many employers have also asked their respective clients for waivers by which their employees would be able to work from home as some service agreements need to follow a high level of security at the development centers. IT companies and their employers have been preparing for this emergency by upgrading their testing and networking procedures so that more and more employees can avoid coming to the workplace and work from homes. However, some employers feel there might be some clients for whom work would not happen in a protected environment and might lead to loss of revenue.

In addition to the IT industries, employers from many other non-IT firms have also started implementing the work from the home model for protecting their employees from COVID-19. Companies like Volvo, Flipkart, Coca-Cola, Godrej Consumer, Uber, etc. have made it feasible for the employees to work from remote locations. Moreover, many organizations have also suspended all sorts of business travel, domestic and international trips until the conditions are normal again. Any interviews or meetings/conferences can be conducted via telephones rather than a face-to-face meeting.

2. Other precautionary measures for employees

There are many other organizations and firms where it has not been feasible for implementing the “Work from home” model. Companies that form a part of the stock market ecosystems, manufacturing companies, and non-IT firms, other small and medium enterprises have not been able to implement work from remote locations on a wider scale. In these companies, the workforce at the workplace is normal but along with a lot of precautionary measures which are being taken by the employers.

a) Thermal screening of employees

Employers must ensure that the body temperatures of the employees coming to offices are checked before allowing them into the office. Many manufacturing plants and other organizations where the workforce is normal at the office to have made the thermal screening of employees mandatory.

b) Use of disinfectants, sanitizers and hand wash

The use of disinfectants, sanitizers, and hand wash plentifully and regularly is the only way to avoid getting affected with the COVID-19. Employers must ensure that these life savior liquids are available in plenty for the employees and they are aware of the hygienic guidelines. Many companies like Hike, Volvo have made disinfectants and alcohol-based sanitizers available in the bay areas, cafeteria and washrooms so that employees maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

c) Vegetarian food and supply of juices rich in Vitamin C

Some firms have made vegetarian food mandatory in the office cafeteria. Also, fruits rich in Vitamin C such as oranges, guavas and lemons or juices of these fruits are being served in plenty as snacks in the office cafeteria. This is an effective way by which employees can be kept safe from the dangerous effects of COVID-19.

d) Personal protective equipment and N95 masks

Employers must check that employees coming to offices are provided with personal protective equipment, N95 masks, and hand gloves to prevent being affected by the dreadful virus. Also, advisory about the maintenance of personal hygiene can be issued by the employers to make the employees care about hygiene.

e) Continuous training on respiratory hygiene, washing of hands

HR team of the companies can ensure that proper communication emails and training are provided to the employees on hygiene and other precautionary measures related to COVID-19. There can be small online sessions or even face-to-face group sessions providing awareness about COVID-19 and emphasizing the importance of precautions.

f) Free medical consultations through partners in case of any COVID-19 symptoms

Swiggy which is a leading food-tech firm in India has been a pioneer in the COVID-19 awareness drive among its employees. The food delivery partners at Swiggy have been continuously trained about the best practices related to hygiene as well as associated symptoms. Moreover, the firm commits to providing free medical consultation to any delivery partner being affected by the COVID-19. This can be stated as an ideal example of an employer supporting the employees during this dreadful crisis.

Conclusion

With the absence of any proven medication for the very rapidly spreading COVID-19, precaution seems
to be the best cure available currently. During these difficult times, continuity of business is only
possible when there is complete support from the employees. Hence, the safety of the employees must
be of the utmost priority for employers. Employers must ensure that their employees are aware of the
precautions to be taken against COVID-19 and follow the tagline “Stay clean, stay safe”.

20 Employee Wellness Challenges for 2020

20 Employee Wellness Challenges for 2020

Workplace wellness challenges are a great way to keep your employees fit and also to cultivate their loyalty towards your company. Wellness programs that offer perks and benefits are seen to be positive reinforcements that not only help the employee to stay healthy but also develop a lot of positivity among the workforce. Employee wellness challenges are a fun way to keep your workers fit. It is also a good way to build interpersonal relationships between employees. Take a look at this article to know more about the best employee wellness challenges for 2020 and how they can work to your benefit.

1. Walking challenges

As we all know, walking is a great way to stay fit. You could incorporate certain walking challenges. These could happen at a set time, such as over the weekends, or on a daily basis. You can set challenges to make the experience all the more exciting for your employees. For instance, begin with asking them to walk between the buildings or departments at work. The next step would be to encourage them to walk to work.

Expert tip – Provide your employees with fitness bands so that their steps can be recorded. Give rewards to the people who walk the most in a day, a week or a month.

2. Cycling challenges

Cycling is another great way to stay fit. Encourage your employees to use their bicycles to commute to work, instead of driving. This would be a great way to increase their fitness levels and would also help lower the air pollution levels. Offer perks to those who cycle for the most number of hours in a week.

Expert tip – Invest in some bicycles and keep them in your office compound. Tell your employees they are free to use them to commute to and fro work and also to commute to the different departments/branches of the organisation.

3. Park-faraway-challenge

For those who insist on driving to work, encourage them to park a bit far away from the office building. Ask them to walk to and from their car to the office every day. This will be a good way to get some basic exercise done, even when they are largely sedentary.

Expert tip – If it is possible, shift the parking area a bit further away from where it is now. If your employees use a public parking space, give rewards to those who park at a lot that’s some distance away.

4. Staircase challenges

Among the easiest employee wellness challenges is the staircase challenge. Ask your employees to simply take the stairs and not the elevator. Discourage or limit the use of the elevator. Of course, this can only work if your office is located on a lower floor. It would not work if you are placed on the 25th floor of a building!

Expert tip – Make this a monthly challenge, wherein the employees who successfully manage to take the stairs each day for an entire month get a handy perk at the end of it. Keep a chart at the top of the staircase where the employees can sign as they finish their daily targets.

5. Nutritional challenges

Healthy living doesn’t just consist of physical challenges – it comprises diet modifications as well. Introduce a nutritional challenge in your office. Encourage your employees to pack their lunches from home to avoid ordering food at lunchtime. Then, if you have a cafeteria, modify the menu and include only healthy food options. The person who orders the minimum amount of outside food by consuming the home/office cafeteria food gets rewarded at the end of the month.

Expert tip – Hire a proper chef who can curate a good menu and offer delicious food at the cafeteria. Unless the food is exciting and tasty, the challenge will fail from your end.

6. Don’t-skip-breakfast challenge

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Encourage your employees to have a hearty breakfast before coming to work. Set up a healthy breakfast bar at the office to encourage them to grab a meal if they didn’t do so at home.

Expert tip – Stock up a fridge with healthy juices, fresh fruits, energy bars, etc that anyone in the office can grab on the go.

7. Hydration challenge

Drinking water is a health necessity that most people ignore. It is also one of the easiest to follow. Encourage your employees to stay hydrated. Offer perks to the department that empties the contents of their water cooler the quickest each day. Staying hydrated has many advantages and this is one of the most basic employees wellness challenges that you must look to introduce.

Expert tip – Offer clean and hygienic drinking water to the employees. Install large water coolers or dispensers in every department.

8. Workout challenges

Working out at a gym or a fitness class is inarguably one of the best and most effective employee wellness challenges. However, due to various reasons, many people shy away from undertaking this challenge. Make it exciting and more approachable for your employees by installing a small gym in the office. If space is a constraint, tie-up with a professional gym, Zumba class, etc. Offer discount vouchers to your employees to encourage them to take up the challenge.

Expert tip – Announce prizes for the “biggest loser” of the month, to honour the employee who lost the most amount of weight by undertaking the workout challenge.

9. Meditation challenges

Mental health and wellness are just as important as physical wellness. Organise meditation challenges to encourage your employees to relax and become stress-free. This will increase their productivity and will keep them happy as well.

Expert tip – Organise Yoga classes in the office. This will be a good way for the employees to meditate.

10. Sporting challenges

Playing a sport can be a great way to stay fit. It is also an excellent team-building method. Begin organising sporting events on weekends. Sports such as badminton, soccer, cricket and tennis can be played by the employees. Divide them into teams, and have them play against one another.

Expert tip – Most cities have local parks and clubs that you can hire to organise the intra-office tournaments in. Make proper arrangements and plan an organisational sporting event every once in a while.

11. Hobby challenges

This is another challenge that can work wonders for the mental wellness of your employees. Ask your employees to pursue hobbies such as baking or painting that they may have wanted to pursue long. A hobby can relax the mind to a great extent and increase the mental alertness levels of the employee as well.

Expert tip – Organise a fun-fate in the office on a weekend. Have stalls where your employees can showcase and sell their hobby-based items such as artwork or bakes.

12. ‘Quit smoking’ challenge

This is one of the most obvious employee wellness challenges. Encourage your employees to quit or reduce their habit of smoking. Smoking is bad in all ways. It affects physical wellness levels. Challenge your employees to quit the habit by offering increasing rewards on a time-basis. An employee will receive a reward if he/she completes an entire smoke-free month. A larger reward will be given at the end of the third smoke-free year and an even larger one at the end of a six-month period.

Expert tip – Make sure the employee has enough support at home. If the spouse smokes too, increase the volume of the reward when both spouses abstain from smoking together.

13. Marathon challenges

Organize small marathons or walkathons for your employees and their family members on weekends or public holidays. Keep the distance short so that it is not a tedious or intimidating event for your employees to consider participating in. Running for two or three kilometers, and preparing for it beforehand, can be an excellent employee wellness challenge.

Expert tip – Make the marathon a complete, day-long event to increase the levels of interest. Have a musical program after the run, or a buffet lunch, to ensure maximum participation.

14. Volunteering challenges

Volunteering is a great way to stay active as well as happy. Encourage your employees to take up volunteering challenges. Offer incentives such as paid-leaves provided the time is used for volunteering. Your employees could work as a team and represent your firm (for example, organise an educational workshop at an orphanage) or pursue volunteering on their own. The aim is to improve their emotional wellbeing, so give them the independence to choose the challenge.

Expert tip – Partner with NGOs so that your employees can easily volunteer their time without having to look for opportunities (provided they want to).

15. Sleep challenges

Sleeping is perhaps the most crucial wellness requirement. It is mandatory for everyone to sleep for 6-8 hours each night. Anyone who sleeps less than that risks a chance of getting high blood pressure, heart ailments and so on. Improper sleep can also result in undue stress and lack of mental alertness. This is why you must encourage your employees to get adequate sleep each night.

Expert tip – Provide your employees with sleep monitors. The employees who get enough sleep can be rewarded at the end of each month.

16. Laughter challenges

Laughter is the best medicine and people who laugh more frequently are said to enjoy stress-free, relaxed lives. Laughter also keeps the mood and atmosphere of the office positive which makes it better and more productive for the employees. Encourage your employees to laugh more. Organise stand-up comedy shows where you either bring in a professional comedian or ask your own employees to participate.

Expert tip – Start a laughter club in the office and encourage your employees to join in in great numbers.

17. Digital detox challenge

Constant exposure to a screen can cause severe headaches, eye-problems, etc for your employees. Prevent this by encouraging them to be screen-free for at least 30 minutes each day at work. Encourage them to step away from their workstations and go for a walk, stand by the coffee machine or converse with their colleagues. A digital detox can be a great opportunity for relaxation.

Expert tip – Ensure you have a fixed time period for the daily digital detox challenge, else your employees may misuse this opportunity and stay away from their workstations for long periods of time.

18. Standing challenge

Sitting at one place for long hours can cause havoc to a person’s spine and posture. Ask your employees to stand for one minute every hour. Alternatively, remove all the chairs and desks from the meeting/conference rooms and have them stand during team meetings. Standing challenges can help improve their overall wellness levels and make them more alert.

Expert tip – Conduct random checks throughout the day and reward the people standing at that time with small perks.

19. Go on a vacation challenge

Taking some time off from work at least once a year is crucial for the physical and mental wellbeing of an employee. Make vacationing compulsory for your employees. Provide compulsory vacation time in the form of paid leave that they have to take. Partner with travel agencies, hotel chains etc to offer discounts in bookings to ensure your employees complete the vacation challenge.

Expert tip – Offer the mandatory leaves to different employees at different times to make sure you have a balance between the employees present and employees absent at all times.

20. ‘Better yourselves’ challenge

And finally, encourage your employees to adopt a wellness regime independently. As an employer, you can encourage them to stay fit by offering the above-mentioned challenges, but their own well being ultimately depends on their efforts and attitudes. Ask them to adopt as many fitness regimes as possible and stick to them diligently to improve their health and happiness quotients.

In conclusion

Employee wellness challenges are an integral part of almost every company these days. A company that has a healthy workforce is bound to drive in more profits. Retaining talented employees becomes easier when the employees feel well and content. Give the above-mentioned employee wellness challenges a try and notice a positive change in your employees. You will be able to keep your employees fit while making the process an enjoyable one for everybody.

How to plan your wedding finance like a pro

How to plan your wedding finance like a pro

Weddings in India are a big, lavish and grand affair with various rituals and celebrations. Every ritual either pre-wedding ritual or a post-wedding ritual has special importance and is enjoyed thoroughly. An Indian Wedding is often referred to as a “big fat Indian wedding” due to huge arrangements, exotic preparations, pomp, and show along with the unlimited expenses involved in it.

Our country has a vast culture and people of different communities have different traditions associated with weddings. The food, rituals, and arrangements of a Punjabi wedding are completely different from that of a Gujrati or a South Indian Wedding. However, what stands common among all weddings in India today is the huge and lucrative expenditure involved. Weddings in India have become a matter of competition, display and flaunt of money, power and unnecessary social show-off. With the concepts of theme weddings, destination wedding, pre-wedding photo-shoot, extravagant arrangements for wedding functions, the “big fat Indian wedding “is growing bigger and fatter with time.

Spends on various wedding functions

Indian wedding functions are lavish and Indian families spend a huge amount on the different functions of the wedding functions. The major portion of wedding finances is allocated for the functions and rituals associated with weddings. Indian weddings have several functions which might be pre-wedding or even post-wedding but are a huge affair.

According to various surveys, a normal Indian spends around one-fifth of the total wealth which he has earned during his lifetime. The Indian Wedding industry is growing at a very rapid rate and accounts for over Rs. 1, 00,000 crores at present. An average Indian wedding would cost Rs. 20 lakhs to 5 crores and the different areas for which this wedding finance is allocated are mostly Venue, Décor, Food, Dress, Accessories, and Ceremonies or the functions. Out of all these areas, the major part of the wedding finances is spent for the wedding functions or the ceremonies.

Usually, it starts with the ‘Roka’ ceremony for some communities whereas it can be termed as the ‘Ring Ceremony’ or ‘Engagement Ceremony’ for some other communities. Some other important pre-wedding functions in most of the Indian communities include the Sangeet ceremony accompanied by the Mehendi and Haldi ceremony. Today, Indian weddings have a taste of both the western and Indian culture which is experienced by functions like cocktail parties, bachelorette parties, grand reception, etc. All these wedding functions need enormous arrangements and a huge amount of expenditure as well.

An Indian wedding is never a single-day affair; rather it is a three or a four-day affair depending on the culture of the community. Every function of the wedding has its own set-up, materials and apparel, venue, food, and other arrangements. On average, the cost of a single wedding function or ceremony is approximately within the range of Rs. 6 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs. There are many other additional costs too such as photography, flowers, music, etc. Many times, the families even tend to increase the number of wedding functions for more fun and get-together of the families. This is sure to increase expenditure as well.

Saving money for your wedding expenses

In Indian society, the wedding is an important life goal and an average middle class Indian will always start saving for his big day in advance. There are various investment options or saving plans available for those who are saving for their wedding.

Let us have a look at some of the options by which you can save money for your wedding finances.

Investing in SIP’s and mutual funds

SIP is otherwise known as a Systematic Investment plan and is an easy method for making investments into your favorite mutual funds. You can keep on investing a certain fixed amount at regular intervals of time. By SIP, a fixed amount would be deducted from your savings account according to the frequency opted by you and the amount would be directed towards the mutual fund which you have chosen. SIPs and mutual fund investments can be started by making a low investment of Rs. 500 even. These investment options give higher returns than Recurring Deposits and since the interest is compounded it ensures long-term benefits.

There are special mutual funds that have been designed in such a manner that they are meant for those investors who are planning for a wedding. Some of the mutual funds like SBI Mutual Funds, BNP Paribas, etc. are designed considering wedding planning and even many SIPs have high returns up to 28%. These investments will add to your requirement of cash during weddings.

Investments in Gold

Gold jewelry and Indian weddings are inseparable from each other. Gold jewelry forms a very important part of Indian weddings. It is quite wiser to purchase gold jewelry over time and invest in purchasing gold coins, bars as well. These gold coins or bars can be used to make jewelry later according to your requirements. Many reputed jewelry stores in the country such as Kalyan Jewelers, The TBZ group, etc. offer a various exclusive range of gold jewelry, gold coins at reasonable prices and attractive discounts.

Wedding loans

When you have very little time to plan for your wedding and you wish to have a lavish wedding, the best option is to avail of a Wedding loan. Wedding loans are simply personal loans which can be re-paid in installments. Many financial organizations such as ICICI Bank, Tata Capital, etc. provide wedding loans at very low interest rates like 10.99%. These wedding loans can be a great help in fulfilling your wish of a big fat Indian wedding.

Some financial organizations have set up the below-mentioned eligibility criteria for obtaining a wedding loan.

  • Your minimum salary should be Rs. 20,000.
  • Your minimum CIBIL score should be 750.

However, many banks do not have any eligibility criteria for granting wedding loans and makes obtaining wedding loans easy.

Planning about wedding finances in advance

If you wish to save for your big day, you will have to make certain basic plans for your wedding finances in advance. You can discuss your wedding finances with your partner in details and decide about certain important topics like:

a. Determination of methods to pay for wedding finances

Arrangements for the wedding finances can be stressful and if you are overspending on this; it might be stressful for your new relationship. It is essential for you to discuss with your partner and decide about the way you want your big day to be. You can keep it simple or a lavish one, you can make careful budgeting, start saving from the moment only for the wedding finances, seek help from family members, etc.

b. Financial goals as a couple

As a couple, you should be aware of each other’s financial goals and include saving for wedding finances in those goals. You and your partner should analyze your finances and prepare a saving plan for your wedding.

c. Splitting of the wedding finances

Splitting of wedding finances between the couple is a common thing nowadays. You both can open a joint account and pay off for the wedding finances by this account. At the same time, both of you can have independent accounts to finance your discretionary spending for the wedding.

How to manage your wedding spends?

A lavish and extravagant wedding can be your dream but an exotic décor, excellent catering, splendid venue, etc. all will cost you an extravagant amount as well. The arrangements and expenses can make you feel stressed, but the most important day of your life should not be a stressful one. However, you can avoid having such stress on your big day; if you plan your wedding according to a budget and follow some simple, smart methods which can make your wedding graceful without making additions to your worries.

Let us have a look at some of the ways by which you can be able to manage your wedding spends.

Analyze your financial situation in detail

Every function or ceremony depends upon the finances for its success. So, before you start preparing for your wedding it is necessary to analyze your finances and financial situation in detail. The wedding finances must be put to proper use without any unnecessary spending and frivolous spending. You should also be completely aware of your financial responsibilities and expenses which would arise after the wedding.

Deciding over the venue

It is advisable to book your wedding venue in advance as it would be less expensive. Moreover, you can opt for a wedding venue which is near to your home as it would help in keeping cab hire fares low. Also, some of your pre-wedding functions like pujas, parties, get-together, etc. can be organized at your home. This can help you in avoiding unnecessary expenses associated with pre-wedding venue and décor.

Flowers and decor

Flowers make the wedding venue look beautiful but unlimited use of flowers at the venue can increase your budget. You should try and keep the use of flowers for the decoration limited and this will manage your budget for wedding finances as well.

The major part of your wedding finances is used for the decor of the venue. You can try and limit the décor expenses to maintain your wedding budget. If the wedding is at a banquet hall, the backdrop is already beautiful and will not need much decoration. Affordable decorative items like mason jars, candle votives, etc. can be used to have good decoration at nominal prices. You can also involve your family members and friends for implementing various DIY ideas for the venue decoration.

Purchases can be made during the off-season

You can try and purchase your wedding dress and accessories during an off-season. Prices of bridal wear and accessories are low during the off-season and even you can get a discount if you are purchasing your dress in advance. This would be a win-win deal as you would be able to buy your preferred designer bridal dress and at a minimal cost.

Jewelry shopping

This is an important part of your wedding preparations and also a major chunk of your wedding finance is used for this. You should plan for completing your jewelry shopping in advance so that you have ample time for making any changes if needed. As per our Indian traditions, gold jewelry is a must at the wedding; however, you can combine gold jewelry along with artificial stone jewelry or other authentic Indian jewelry. This combination would look good and also will help you in maintaining your wedding finance budget.

Rational guest list

Try including those guests into your list who are really important and must be a part of the wedding. A huge number of guests at the wedding would not make much fun but rather would make it chaotic and difficult to manage.

Hire a professional wedding planner, caterer

When the entire wedding planning is yet to begin and you are totally confused with no idea about how to begin the preparations; the best solution is to hire a professional wedding planner. They are experienced and will give you the best advice related to organizing the wedding within the budget. They can help you in bringing out the best in the limited budget as they have good connections and the required knowledge.

Food is the most important part of any Indian wedding and it is not a wise option to make adjustments into the part of the wedding finances allocated for food. You can select an experienced and reputed caterer who does not compromise on the quality of the food supply. Also, you can discuss with the catering manager in detail and decide on the menu for the wedding.

Innovative invitations

The conventional method of inviting friends and relatives by sending actual printed cards is no longer in use. The modern digitized age helps in sending quick, creative and customized invitations to your guests for the wedding. You can design wedding cards online and send them by mails or post them on social media. This would help you in saving a lot of time and money even.

Even video invitations are something that is very popular these days.

Advance planning and go with the season

Wedding preparations can never be made in a hurry and when done in a hurry, you tend to spend more than estimated with a lot of wastage as well. So, it is wise to make all the plans and arrangements well in advance; the venue booking, caterer booking, photographer, etc. should be done before time. This will help you to stick to your budget and execute everything in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, you should avoid including certain items that are out of the season such as a flower which is out of the season for décor or an out of the season fruit or vegetable in the catering menu. This would increase the charges and cause inconvenience too.

Save on photography and entertainment

You can think about implementing this idea for maintaining your budget for wedding finances. Instead of hiring a DJ, you can ask your friends or any family members who is a pro with music to do this. Wedding numbers can be selected for the playlist and your DJ friend can make the set up for you. This can help in maintaining the budget and also in some savings.

Similarly, for photography, you might have selected the best photographer but the charges do not fit into your budget. So, you can opt for asking the assistant photographer to take up your assignment. This will help you in reducing the expense and maintenance of the budget even.

Keep records of the wedding finances

This is the most important task at the wedding as it is necessary to keep track of the expenses. You can make a spreadsheet and note down the expenses that are being done. This would act as a tracker and will help you in avoiding any unnecessary expenses if done. Also, by a tracker, you can ensure if your arrangements are being done properly on time or not.

Conclusion

Hence, your wedding is the most beautiful and special day of your life and you deserve all the happiness on this day. There should not be unnecessary factors which can cause stress for you or hamper your celebrations. With the wedding industry becoming highly commercialized and competitive, it is essential that your wedding plans are made in such a manner that nothing is missed out and your budget for wedding finances is also maintained.

Top 13 Employee Engagement Trends for 2020

Top 13 Employee Engagement Trends for 2020

One of the leading reasons for employees not performing to the best of their abilities is the lack of feeling engaged. And this seemingly small thing is what you as an employer needs to get rid of. If you cannot get rid of it completely, you must at least try to reduce it to a large extent. Apart from performance, disengaged employees can also impact other employees or extreme cases, decide to leave the organization.

Should organizations feel that their employees are not highly engaged, the problem can be addressed by certain employee engagement practices. Following some of these will help you address the issue of employee engagement. And if done properly, it can boost the satisfaction of employees, reduce the attrition rate and improve employee retention, boost the productivity of employees, increase the loyalty in employees, etc.

What is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is the emotional connect that an employee has with their organization. Having an emotional connection means that they actually care for the organization, its goals, and its work. Proper employee engagement ensures that your employees do not just work for their paychecks, next hike, promotion, etc. They put in the effort because they understand the organization’s goals and work towards it.

While it is important to understand employee engagement, it is even more crucial to know what employee engagement isn’t. Employee engagement certainly isn’t the happiness of an employee. An employee could be happy but not work diligently towards an organization’s goals. To bridge this gap with your employees, you can partake in employee engagement activities. However, it is important to know employee engagement trends.

Being aware of employee engagement trends will help you better understand the issues and take precautionary steps. These employee engagement trends also ensure that you do not waste your energy on activities that no longer engage your employees.

Understanding Workplace Demographics

Before you can get down to identifying and resolving employee engagement related issues, knowing your company’s demographics is important as well. Going forward, it is expected that employees will stay longer at a workplace rather than constantly changing companies. There is a good possibility that you will have to handle employees from different generations at the same time.

Another factor that will become mainstream for the coming year is virtual workplaces and globalization. This will result in more flow of employees around. Adding to the mix is cultural diversity, which you will have to rethink completely to accommodate a wider set of values than they currently have. Collectively these make sure that the trends of previous years are no longer valid or need to be updated with time.

Top 13 Employee Engagement Trends for 2020

The employee engagement trends for 2020 seek to address upcoming technologies and how the workplace will get affected accordingly. Implementing a few of these will help you cope up with the changes while ensuring that your employees are well engaged.

1. Promote a healthy workplace for employees with wellness programs

There are a lot of things that are not in the right place when it comes to the wellness of employees in the workplace. Employees are usually exhausted due to stress at work or isolation from the social world. And it is no secret that employees who are worn out will always find themselves distant from engagement. Finding out a way to incorporate wellness at the workplace apart from the usual fitness classes and gym membership is an interesting challenge for employers.

An ideal way to handle this situation would be to take into consideration mental wellness, emotional wellness and if possible, even financial wellness, along with physical wellness. It is important to educate your employees about mental wellness and the support that they can get. A few employers are experimenting with sick leaves for mental well-being. Financial wellness is a concern that quite a few employees have. Apart from only providing with education, helping your employees in financially wise decisions can immensely help their engagement levels.

Know more: Role of HR in employee wellness

2. Provide opportunities for employees to grow and develop professionally

The presence of various resources these days makes it easy to help employees to learn and develop their skill set. Providing employees with the tool to help them be ready for future aids in employee engagement. Engaged employees usually have a strong affinity towards improving themselves and learning new things. Failing to offer them similar opportunities will lead to stagnation.

In fact, a survey done by LinkedIn shows that 44% of employees joined new employers for better personal advancement and development prospects. There are several on-demand learning portals or opportunities. Providing your employees with such exposure will help in employee engagement. Yes, there is a cost involved in the same. However, it is an investment that will pay off in terms of better reciprocation from your employees. Even more so when you consider that a company spends as much as 21% of an employees’ salary to find a replacement.

3. Letting Artificial Intelligence do the boring work

It is not mandatory for you as an organisation to embrace every bit of technology that is out there in the market. However, some of them can help you in the process of improving engagement among employees. On the mention of Artificial Intelligence, people usually think about losing jobs. That is not the case. As an organisation, you can incorporate AI to cover some of the most boring and redundant work. This will free up your employees to do more creative work and push their talent limits. Alternatively, they are less likely to get bored and demotivated, since they no longer have to do the boring stuff.

4. Appoint compassionate people as leaders for better health of your organization

Employees across the globe feel that the lack of good leadership in an organization is good enough reason for them to quit. Thus, hiring or promoting leaders who are compassionate and inspiring is one of the employee engagement trends for 2020. A leader who listens is authentic and leads by example has a much higher chance of imbibing your shift towards better engagement for employees.

Leaders or managers who show empathy towards their employees and have a sense of dignity when it comes to commitment are more likely to inspire employees. If your organization has such leaders, it is about time you recognize them and promote them with better responsibilities. Needless to say, the lack of such employees can have a negative impact as well.

You might like to read: EQ – The need of the hour for leaders

5. Better employee experience makes way for more engaged employees

User experience has garnered a lot of attention in recent years and for good reasons. Customers and clients no longer just want a product but also expect a good user experience. According to an article in Forbes, if the cost of fixing an issue is $1 during the design phase, it is $10 during development and $100 once it is released.

We can use a similar thought process for employees as well. Surveys show that about 60% of candidates have a poor experience with companies. As an organization, you would need to put in efforts to enhance employee experience for better engagement. This goes beyond the usual benefits or compensation that you offer to your employees. Listening to your employees frequently via surveys will help you address this. You can get an insight into what the employees like and what they would like to see in the organization.

6. Understanding millennial’s holds key to long association with an organization

Millennials will constitute a vast majority of the workforce in the coming decade. It is only natural that you understand this demographic to make the most of it. A few years ago, companies felt the addition of games in office premises, monthly lunches, etc. were enough to keep millennials engaged. However, that’s not the case. While such instances are helpful, as an employer you should be able to offer them something more meaningful to keep them engaged for the long-term.

You might want to read: Hiring millenials in India

One of the factors that instantly attracts millennials towards organizations is flexibility. Whether it is working duration, office timings, working remotely, etc. These things provide them with a sense of belonging and it can fuel engagement as well. Another crucial factor that can help you get the attention of millennials is a good working culture. A culture that practices open-door policies for management, opportunities to collaborate with other teams is more likely to keep a millennial happy and engaged.

Read more about: Why are millenials important and how to motivate them?

7. Frequent feedback aid in enhanced policies

A common mistake that most companies commit is to wait for the year-end appraisal meetings to give feedback. This feedback can be counterproductive. It gives employees a feeling that the feedback was only for year-end appraisal and might not even have an impact. Giving someone feedback merely takes a few minutes and if done during the year can be more effective.

The lack of a proper feedback channel or regular feedback can bring in a lot of discord and disconnect that the employees feel. Giving them feedback at the end of the year and associating it with monetary benefits leaves them feeling confused. Timely feedback will help your employees work on shortcomings and gaps. This also brings in a sense of belonging and keep them engaged with their profiles. This is one of the leading employee engagement trends for 2020. It will not happen overnight or over one or two instances. But you need to initiate it and ensure that it is followed consistently.

8. Use technology as a tool to improve engagement in employees

Knowingly or unknowingly we are surrounded by technology. The moment we set out of the home, till returning to bed we engage with technology at so many levels. As an organization, you can leverage technology for your benefit. Companies are now embracing the idea of online recognition tools for their employees. This seemingly simple idea helps employees appreciate each other and in turn, increases their engagement in the organization.

This allows employees to share their accomplishments, achievements and create a bond with other employees as well. The usage of good messaging apps also improves communication among employees. These apps allow employees to engage with each other and work collaboratively, irrespective of their location. When you assess engagement barriers in your organization, there are chances that it might be resolved with technology.

9. Improve employee’s productivity by striking a balance between work and life

Work-life balance has been on employee engagement trend for quite some time but never gets old. And there are strong reasons for the same. Offering employees, the flexibility to work at their convenience, at times even without coming to the office can boost the engagement levels to a great extent. Sticking to strict office timings might not be the most effective mode of working for several employees as well.

It is essential that as an organization you incorporate flexibility as and where possible so that employees are not burned out. Estimates show that burned out employee cost $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare expenses. Once employees get a better sense of work-life balance they are more likely to be engaged and be more productive.

Good read: How to improve work life balance in your company?

10. Incorporate analytics for enhanced predictions and getting rid of bottlenecks

In a bid to make something for customers, employees use a lot of tools and thereby generate a lot of data. A rising employee engagement trend is to make use of the data generated by employees. Companies are coming up with tools to help HR understand certain fundamental issues and even help them resolve the same. The data at hand along with a good analytics tool can help you identify bottlenecks when it comes to employee engagement.

Whether it is instant polls, tools for collaboration, specialized data can help you analyze different aspects and work on them to improve employee engagement. You can even predict the future behaviour of employees using these tools. There are bound to be some noises with a huge amount of data at hand. The major challenge in all this is fine tuning the findings and to identify the actual issues.

11. Innovation via upcoming technologies

Companies are embracing newer technologies for more integrated products and experiences for their customers. One prime example is IoT or Internet of Things. The simple concept connects everyday objects with each other and lets them identify similar other objects as well. IoT is being used at various levels including, GPS or RFID for tracking and monitoring shipments, assets or even properties. Ability to rent vehicles remotely without any human intervention is another such example.

12. Incorporate a culture of recognition and rewards

This is one of the simpler and more common employee engagement trends for the coming year. Employee recognition acknowledges the efforts that employees put in openly, to inculcate a growth culture. If you do not already have a recognition and rewards system, it is about time that you start with one. And for companies that already have a system in place, it might be worthwhile revisiting them.

Recognizing and rewarding your employees is one of the most powerful ways of ensuring employee engagement. There are enough surveys and statistics to prove that employees that are recognized, are more likely to feel highly engaged. Organizations across the globe have seen better productivity, boosted morale, and a lower turnover of employees. However, the recognition program must be consistent and visible to others. While recognition and rewards are two different concepts altogether, clubbing them together can multiply the benefits. There are few reports which suggest that employees who receive rewards such as monetary benefits or redeemable points are more engaged than employees who receive bonus yearly once. In fact, the engagement level is pegged at a staggering 8 times.

Do read: Employee rewards and recognition

13. Inculcating a culture of diversity for a growth environment

Another important employee engagement trend comes in the form of diversity in the workplace. Companies that have diverse teams as well as inclusive teams, will find their employees to be more engaged. Diversity in this case predominantly refers to employees from different backgrounds. And inclusion refers to better employee experience at the workplace along with the environment that they have access to.

You can start by introducing bias-free practices in hiring of employees. Other practices include better parental leaves, equal pay among employees and even exposing employees to un-bias training sessions. It is important to inculcate these into the culture of your organization. Employees get a sense of equality, belonging, psychologically safe and most importantly engaged. Once your employees feel comfortable in the culture and environment that you have created, they can expressive, innovative and happier.

Must read: How to build an everlasting company culture?

In conclusion…

To sum it up, engaged employees are more likely to work towards the organizational goals than mere pay checks. Engaged employees are known to be more productive and increase the profitability of an organization. In fact, some reports even suggest that the chances of engaged employees not turning up for work. Engagement brings in a sense of belonging towards the company along with better employee loyalty also.

There are several surveys and tools which can help you identify the level of employee engagement in your organization. Once you identify that the next obvious step is to look for solutions. To fix any issues related to engagement is a bit more difficult than usual business-related problems. However, they can still be solved. You can take the help of the above employee engagement trends and implement techniques that work for your organization. With a bit of perseverance, initial costs and consistency, you will be able to increase the engagement among employees. And once you do, you can reap the benefits of all the efforts that you had to put in the first place.