“R-VOICE” – Employee Engagement Program from Reliance


Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has evolved with a unique initiative to engage their employees called, “R-VOICE”. It is a radio engagement program for the employees to share their opinions, suggest and view the best practices within the organisation. This initiative will be a platform to understand the employees’ better, sort out the grey areas, get a clear picture about their thought and feeling about the current organizational practices. In the current month, “Manager Best Practices” theme is running through R-Voice, where the employees can listen and learn the best practices adopted by some of the managers across the organisation.

This brands Reliance as “a listening organisation”. The R- Voice initiative falls under the parent program called “Celebrate Careers” which aims at recognizing the best practices, achievements of their employees, rewarding them leading to celebration of life at work.

The trend of engaging employees through the radio medium started few years back at Infosys called as “INFY Radio” which featured the interview of the Co-Founder N R Narayana Murthy when he first retired from the company.

Now even companies like Accenture and Flipkart has a similar kind of employee engagement initiative.

Accenture has an internal radio channel the leaders’ share their conversation with the select employees, helping them to get a answer to their queries and even posing thoughtful questions to them.

Flipkart does it in a bigger way. Studio 34 is the Flipkart new podcast channel which showcases the achievements of the employees, highlight leadership interviews with contemporary music. In fact many celebrity interviews have been also featured such as with Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar, former India cricketer Rahul Dravid, cricket coach P Vishwanath etc.

This unique initiative attracts, motivates and engages employees leading to talent retention because of the meaningful insights derived from across all levels of organisation. The medium of Radio in employee engagement is infotainment way to engage the employees through music and at the same time to helps them to assimilate the messages and that’s why it has been proved a much more effective communication mode than emails, fliers or posters.


Employee Engagement by discontinuing the bell curve method of appraisal

The most preferred method of performance appraisal has been the bell curve where it is believed that most of the employees are average performers and very few employees are above and below the average performance level. During this process many high performers miss the chance of getting into the top rank in-spite of their excellent performance level since there is no space left for them to get into the top 5 percent. Hence it disengages them leading to attrition of the top performers. Not only this, in order to get into the top 5 % top performers list, lot of unwanted internal competition, office politics crops up. Even this discourages the employees to share resources and information with the peers. This leads to huge level of disengagement among the employees leading to attrition.

Looking at this scenario, many leading employers such Google, KPMG, Accenture, Twitter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Infosys, Ola Cabs have stopped the usage of bell curve method of appraisal and started following the absolute rating of employees.

On the other hand, there are still some companies such as Tech Mahindra, Fortis Healthcare who are following this method of bell curve of rating since they believe that bell curve constantly raises the performance level of the employees. Some of them have tweaked the model by raising the cap of 5 percent of top performers to 6.5 percent so that more top performers are included in the merit list.

Engaging the LGBT Employees at Workplace in India – Diversity


According to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, sexual activities which are against the order of nature fall under criminal offence including homosexual acts too. In December 2013, the Supreme Court of India declared that this matter of section 377 out of judiciary system and therefore should be under the discretion of any decision passed in Indian Parliament. Recently towards the end of 2015, the Minister of State for Human Resources Development, Mr.Shashi Tharoor promoted the bill in Lok Sabha for gay sex, but was unsuccessful in getting it passed and de-criminalizing the act of homosexuality.

In spite of the current status of section 377 i.e Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT), there are major corporate giants in India who has been openly promoting LGBT rights at workplace and have been positively included it in their diversity policy. Some of these eminent players are Godrej, Google, Genpact, Goldman Sachs, Coca Cola, Intuit, ThoughtWorks, Microsoft, Accenture, IBM etc.

Godrej – Runs a series of workshops with an agenda of sensitizing the on LGBTs for their employees across functions and teams. Various plays, film screenings, talks are hosted to encourage more openness towards the LGBT employees. In fact actively Godrej sponsored KASHISH – the Mumbai International LGBT Film Festival in 2014. Not only this, the organisation proudly hosted the “MINGLE” – the Indian LGBT Youth Leadership Summit at March 2015. All official forms of Godrej have “Others” for selecting the gender as an option for LGBT employees. Not only this, the organisation offers equal medical, hospitalization expense, Leave travel and transfer allowance towards LGBT employees as provided to any employee. Employee benefits such as maternity/paternity or adoption leave etc are provided to the employee and their dependents irrespective of gender.

Infosys – An employee resource group has been created called “Infosys Gays Lesbians and You” (IGLU) which brings together LGBT staffs from various functions and have discussions on the various policy changes which can support the LGBT employees at workplace. Moreover, various theatre workshops, online chat sessions are conducted for awareness and sensitizing fostering and encouraging the overall LGBT issue at workplace.

Genpact – The LGBT community has a safe and hostile environment at Genpact which aggressively promotes and supports in their working policy. In fact it has been seen that Genpact usually participates in LGBT fairs such as the recent one LGBT career fair in London. This is primarily to build a diverse pool of talent in the organsiation.

ThoughtWorks:  Continuous drives among the employees are done at workplace to create and spread the awareness through short film screenings to drive awareness about the issues and the significance of accepting the perspective around LGBT rights.

Intuit – The Bangalore based IT organisation which has been voted as one of the best places to work in India is leading diversity agenda with inclusion of LGBT at workplace.

Google – In India, Google runs a voluntary employee group called Gayglers who promotes, creates awareness about LGBT employees at workplace

Goldman Sachs encourages LGBT employees to meet the organization’s senior members and discuss about setting up the best practices leading to career development, retention of LGBT employees.

Accenture – It has a Meritocracy Policy which has reference to various sexual orientations which is being communicated to employee’s right from the time of Induction, training on diversity etc. Accenture has a Global LGBT network which brings all LGBT employee together for networking, information sharing and mentoring.

In fact recently The NHRD Chapter of Mumbai had a dedicated session on LGBT diversity at workplace in its HR leadership conference at the Mahindra Management Development Centre in Nashik because today’s workforce prefers to work in companies which supports and celebrates with all employees despite of their sexual orientation

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HR PRACTICES in Best Women Friendly Companies in India

Mindtree Consulting

  • Its day care center is known as ‘Baby’s Day Out’ from where mothers can work while taking care of their child
  • Extended maternity leave. For cases of extended maternity, accompanying their spouse on travel, or caring for dependent family members, special leaves can be claimed.
  • Leaves on special occasions

Silver Spark Apparels – Clothing Manufacturers (secondary branch of the Raymond group)

  • The percentage of women employees is around 90 percent
  • It offers a day care facility, teachers, various social and cultural activities for the women employees and their children


  • It has formed a community for all the female employees called ‘Vahini’. Vahini deals with various sort of problems that a female employees may come across during the on/off working hours. It helps in discussions and conducts seminars/workshops on financial issues and also educates the women employees to become good parents.
  • One of the best facilities that Accenture offers to its female employees is visit to gynecologist for the expecting mothers
  • Moreover, it has a 24×7 dedicated helpline service for women.

Ernst and Young Global Shared Services

  • 50% of their workforce is females. It has a day care facility known as ‘Ashray’ where children of the female employees are taken special care
  • In fact expectant mothers can choose the option of working from homes.
  • Security guards as escorts are provided to every female employee who works late-evening.


  • Infosys has come up with Infosys Women Inclusivity Initiative’ (IWIN) which devoted to only women employees
  • IWIN provides 24×7 counseling for the female employees. It has day care facility, deals with parenting matters, etc.
  • IWIN has a discussion board that helps female employees to seek advice and suggestions regarding childcare and other similar matters. Even Online support during child bearing period is one the best services of IWIN.
  • The employees get regular visits by gynecologists, nutrition specialists, physiotherapists and other health related specialists. IWIN has online doctors for all the employees, especially for the female employees. It also offers special yoga classes for the expecting mothers.
  • The female employees are allowed to take a year’s leave for family reasons.
  • It offers its female employees sabbaticals, extended maternity leave, and enhanced training when they come back to the office.


  • In TCS 11% of the senior management comprises women
  • The best part of TCS is that does not break the service record of women who discontinue work due to family commitments and return at a later stage
  • The company also allows provides role flexibility through job rotations across businesses, practices and functions.
  • A framework called DAWN (Diversity and Women’s Network) has been set up to nurture the professional growth of women associates, focused on encouraging diversity and inclusion in the workforce.


  • It has 15% women among Indian employees, has 30% women in its core senior leadership of 15 members.
  • Female Talent Council,has been set up by the company which is an initiative that helps women come together, share experiences, problems and solutions.
  • A mentoring program that pairs 12 high-potential women executives with Executive Committee members at PepsiCo Asia Pacific

Google Inc :

It has taxis on call for employees, a particular draw for women who may need to rush home to care for a sick family member.

Wipro Ltd:

It runs on-site day camps during school holidays in the spring

IBM India Pvt. Ltd

  • In suburban residential complexes the recruitment teams are sent to hire a only-woman as a part of the programme that seeks to bring experienced women back into the workforce
  • The company offers flexible working hours as well as telecommuting options for employees who can work from home and extended maternity leave. It also allocates shifts taking families into consideration.
  • Adoption leave, which enables employees to avail of three months’ paid leave when they adopt a child.
  • They even have a Women Leadership Council.

SAP LAB’s Social Sabbatical Program – Unique way to Leadership Development

Recently according to a survey, it was identified that 84 percent of GEN Y care about making a positive difference in the world than workplace recognition.

This indicates that it’s time to fundamentally rethink the established approach to talent strategies. Organizations are dedicating considerable resources to promote employees to undertake paid social sabbaticals

Looking at this, SAP started Social Sabbatical program, which sends high-performing employees into emerging economies such as South Africa, India, Brazil, and China. During these assignments, employees support entrepreneurs, NGOs, and government agencies, with the aim of positively impacting the regions economically and socially; they also gain a better understanding of how to effectively operate in these geographies. Employees leave the daily routine of their jobs to spend a month with a host client.

In India, 21 employees from SAP labs deployed themselves with nonprofits across Northeast States. Some employees imparted corporate skills that helped villages create a comprehensive education programme, make optimum use of natural resources for fishery and animal husbandry and sustain traditional weaving. Others provided need based skills like project, legal and people management.

SAP Labs offers sabbaticals from 3 months to two years. Employees who have been continuously employed at SAP Labs for five years can opt for sabbaticals.

Infosys employees volunteer with charitable, governmental or para-governmental organisations in public interest areas. Employees are eligible for a fellowship from the company based on their role, and they get time off from their normal work schedule for a minimum of six months and a maximum of one year.

Infosys’ Community Empathy Policy allows employees to be involved in community development projects while receiving monetary support. They can come back to normal work schedules after completing projects of upto a year.

These community-based initiatives equip employees with unique leadership development opportunities and encourages experiential learning which infuses future executives with the type of creativity they need to problem-solve in an entrepreneurial setting.

“SELF FORMED TEAM – SFT” and “SELF MANAGED TEAM- SMT” –Unique Employee Engagement Practice

SELF MANAGED TEAM – Here Teams work without supervision. This is also called also called supervision-less system. It sounds surprising but it’s a fact.

RPG Group (Ceat/ Spencers) has come out with this concept. This concept was started by P&G, followed by DuPont and a few other organizations. Here they are trained and empowered to plan, review the gaps, brainstorms among them to identify the reason for gaps, take work place decisions & execute their day to day operations. This enables them to come out with the best possible ways to execute tasks. The accountability & responsibility of accomplishment of the tasks complete rests on the team members.

This practice was initiated at the CEAT Plant at Halol(Gujrat). It resulted in higher productivity & harmony among the employees.

SELF FORMED TEAM – Here a group of employees voluntarily comes ahead and forms a team for performing an activity/task. Here the employees have the freedom to form groups based on common interests. Facilitating such group formation increases social bonding and higher level of employee engagement.

Corporate Initiatives to form Self Formed Teams


Community development teams are there to generate awareness on safety, working mothers groups, and a self-formed cricket team. In fact a group of employees came together to modify a junkyard in the office premises and convert it into a sports arena


Several groups has been facilitated here where in employee come together to discuss/ brainstorm about various issues health & safety, employee facilities like transportation, canteen  & come out with better innovative solutions.

In fact a team has started Yoga Class where the objective is not only about the health but also a platform for cross functional employees meet aiming better collaboration at work.

Edelweiss Financial Services

Groups such as adventure club, running club and photography club has been initiated by the HR team where like-minded people can come together and engage in their hobbies and interests. The social networking site of the organization called PING also enables people with similar interests to come together, share and learn.


There are five councils: Community Service, Grey Cells – deals with quizzing and other intellectual interests), Sports, Personal Talent and Wellness.

HCL also has Interest Clubs, which are primarily online platforms for the employees with common interest to connect. There are eight such clubs: Clic – The Photography Club, The Foodies Club, The Pet Club, The Toastmasters Club, Library On Demand, HCL Record breakers, The Polyglots corner and Bikers’ Club. These clubs use the company’s internal social networking platform ‘MEME’ to bring together like-minded people who wish to share tips, pictures, and knowledge.


Self managed team

Standard Chartered Bank

This bank has a recreation club which organizes indoor game tournaments during the monsoon as well as hockey, cricket and football tournaments.


Nielsen has various clubs include Hit F5 (employee fun club), wellness club, dance club, and a soon-to-be-launched cooking club


Dell has a number of interest groups that are formed and run by the employee: the runners group, photography club, quizzing club, toastmasters club, cricket club and cycling club.


At Philips, the largest self-formed group is called JOSH: it drives small fun-at-work initiatives like quizzes. Employees have also formed interest groups like photographers club, trekking group, etc.


  • These groups gets employees to come out from the shell and have fun, create positive work environment which reflects a better engaged workforce.
  • It helps an organization to motivate employees without any huge investment
  • This enables employees to connect and establish strong social bonds with colleagues and develop team spirit.
  • The employees use such opportunity to express themselves, learn & exchange knowledge freely. The outcome is more connected, content & productive.
  • These initiatives keep the employee morale high & make them passionate about their work.
  • This encourages employees to break the monotony of work too.
  • Finally this results in higher level of employee engagement

LEADERSHIP MANUFACTURING UNITS – how leaders are made in today’s corporate world!

TATA group

TATA group emphasizes on in-house Leadership Development Programmes.

 Tata Leadership Seminars (TLS)

  • —Tata Group Strategic Leadership Seminar (TGSLS) – MDs, the CEOs, COOs and those with a potential to assume such roles in the Immediate / near future.
  • —Tata Group Executive Leadership Seminar – Senior management professionals, functional heads.
  • —Tata Group Emerging Leaders Seminar (TGeLS) – This is for high potential emerging leaders from middle levels of management ideally in the age group of 30 to 40


McD Mentoring– Every learner is assigned a coach at every step of development.

  • —Develop the employee skills
  • —Build their confidence and competence
  • —Career guidance for crew and managers
  • —Succession planning

McDonald’s Leadership Institute

  • —It develops critical leadership skills needed to address both long- and short-term business challenges.
  • —“Individual development plans,, map out leadership training in support of one’s performance and career goals.”
  • —Accelerated Leadership Development Programs – for high-potential directors and officers

Restaurant leadership training programme For Restaurant General managers

  • —Five-day programme from Hamburger University. Career guidance for crew and managers
  • —To apply leadership behaviors, lead their restaurant, and develop their department managers.


Infosys Leadership Institute

  • —It nurtures leaders and advances the field of leadership development. ILI works toward ensuring that Infosys has appropriate leaders to take on senior leadership positions as and when they arise
  • ILI ensures that Infosys has a pool of successful and ready leaders to build tomorrow’s enterprise.

 Areas Focused :

  • —Strategic Leadership
  • —Change/ Adversity Leadership
  • —Operational Leadership
  • —Talent Leadership
  • —Relationship/ Networking Leadership
  • —Content Leadership
  • —Entrepreneurial Leadership


Starbucks Leadership Lab

  • Impart leadership training, with a a problem-solving framework.
  • Demonstrations of new product, blend development, and customer service.
  • But what makes the Leadership Lab different than a typical corporate trade show is the production surrounding all of this. The lights, the music, and the dramatic big screens all help Starbucks marinate its store managers in its brand and culture. It’s theater–a concept that Starbucks itself is built

The Best companies for grooming leaders

  • IBM – The New York-headquartered technology company sends SWAT teams to coach their local staff.
  • General Mills – Fortune 500 company- primarily deals with food products – such as Pillsbury – over 90 per cent of management promotions are internal.
  • Procter & Gamble– Every chief executive at P&G started at the entry level in the company.
  • Aditya Birla Group – operates in over 33 countries, honours its employees who teach skills to villagers
  • Colgate-Palmolive – has a 7 -day Colgate Leadership Challenge in which junior employees work on a team business project, are taken through presentations by senior leaders, and do charity work.
  • Hindustan Unilever – sends young managers to live in Indian villages so that they can understand the needs of rural consumers.
  • ICICI Bank – assigns talent scouts to identify promising employees.
  • McDonald’s – has an officer development programme to train talent in finance, human resources and marketing
  • Whirlpool – has a set of senior executives who serve as “innovation mentors” who are tasked with evaluating business ideas.
  • PepsiCo – works on 10-year growth plans for individuals who the company believes have the potential climb high on the corporate ladder.
  • Bharti Airtel– The company has a reverse mentoring programme, in which junior employees tutor senior staff about new technology