How to Build a Productive Workplace & Happy Employees


Last Updated: September 1, 2022
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We’ve often heard disgruntled employees mumble about how much they hate their jobs. It’s a hot topic for gossip in lunch rooms and on social media. While some may just dismiss it as ‘cribbing’, a survey by Times Jobs last year actually revealed that 3 out of 5 employees actually hate their current jobs. This could have to do with their reporting managers, style of work, attitude towards work and several other reasons. But more often than not, it’s because organisations often have square pegs trying to desperately fit into round holes.

Who’s to blame in cases like this? Is it the employer, for hiring the wrong person? Or is it the employee, who took up a job without really keeping their career path in mind? Not all candidates apply for the job they want; they often go for the one they ‘need’ or one they would ‘easily qualify for’. To put it simply, people are diving into the workforce without really discovering who they are and where they truly belong. The result? An unsatisfied, frustrated workforce that is not likely to function at optimum productivity.

Career decisions are crucial now more than ever, especially since we have over 12,000 options to choose from. Some put a lot of thought into this decision and seek guidance before pursuing a career path. This guidance may or may not be sound, as India’s predominant guidance counsellors have been family, friends, society and marks for generations to come. Very few look beyond this advisory panel to reach out to professional career counsellors, and even those may only guide a candidate towards what he/she is good at as opposed to what he/she would actually enjoy. How, then, do you, as an HR professional, know that the candidate you are about to hire will truly fit in and excel at the role you are hiring him/her for? And how do you keep the candidate interested and invested in the company’s progress as well as their own individual progress?

Stressed out man

Are you looking for personalized guidance to figure out your career path? Take Mentoria’s holistic psychometric career assessment test to discover your ideal career based on your unique interests, skills and personality!

Bring Science Into the Picture

As an HR professional, you bring in the right candidate for the right job. Over the course of your career, you have probably come across candidates who seem perfect for the job, only to falter a few months into it. While interviews, group discussions and proficiency tests will help you determine if the candidate is the right fit, there’s a more scientific way to approach this. A psychometric evaluation of candidates will consider their interests, personality and abilities, thereby giving you a more reliable and comprehensive insight into the person you’re about to hire. It will also reflect their strengths and development areas, and help you form your interview questionnaire better. It’s fairly easy for a candidate to come well-prepared for a standard interview session and thereby manipulate the conversation. However, a customised interview based on their psychometric evaluation will help you get a more honest, accurate insight into the person you’re interviewing, thereby helping you hire the right person for the right job.

Apart from conducting a psychometric evaluation at an initiation stage, it also helps to conduct one every few years, just to ensure that the employee’s interests remain the same. Say a candidate you hired for marketing is doing well at the role but has developed a keen interest in PR along the way. Routine evaluations will help you then guide them into a more PR-focused role at the right time. This benefits the employee, who gets a chance to further explore their interests and thereby perform better, as well as the employer, whose internal restructuring will save them the cost of hiring a replacement when the employee would eventually move to another firm for a more PR-driven role. It also shows the organisation’s continuous investment in the employee’s progress, thereby enhancing organisational loyalty as well.

people shaking hands

Engaging Existing Employees Beyond the Workplace

Your role doesn’t just end with hiring, though. Engaging employees and keeping them continuously driven or motivated is also a part of your role. Standard engagement practices include office parties and events, workshops, seminars, and so on. However, these activities often end up becoming a one-time affair that employees begrudgingly attend and forget about the second they’re over. How do you go one step forward and engage the employee in a way that’s actually more meaningful, and likely to truly benefit them? You simply dig deeper and reach out to the employee beyond the workplace.

Family is always a priority for every employee. An employee with a happy family life is bound to be more productive and successful at work, as opposed to someone who is worried about problems they are facing on the home front. For some, it could be a domestic dispute. For others, it could be concern over the future of their children. You may have employees with children on the cusp of adulthood. These children are about to make one of the toughest decisions of their life – what will they grow up to be? Confusion and disagreement over career choices often cause a lot of strife at home, a tension that is very likely to be brought into the workplace. As an HR professional, you could reach out to such employees and ease their burden by enabling them and their families to make a professionally-backed, sound decision.

You might have a considerable workforce with children between ages 14 to 20. They will need guidance in choosing a stream, a specialisation course or even a career path. Just as you would help their parents find the right role with a psychometric evaluation, you could extend your help to these children too, enabling them to discover who they really are and guiding them down the right career path from the very start. A happier family would positively impact the employee, who is not likely to forget your help like they would any other engagement effort. Furthermore, clarity over their children’s future takes one big burden off their shoulders and helps them develop a stronger sense of goodwill towards an organisation that goes above and beyond to promote employee welfare. This will also help them perform better at work, thereby impacting the organisation’s productivity levels for good.

People giving high five

Give your employees the gift of guidance: partner with Mentoria for our career counselling workshops, which provide expert guidance to your employees and their families to guide them through their career decisions. 

Getting the Right Psychometric Solution

As compared to their far more popular ‘Aptitude’ cousin, psychometric evaluations remain to be fairly unknown in the country, and choosing the right one for your organisation can be a daunting task, especially since it will impact every hire and every family you choose to engage with. In comes Mentoria, a scientific and reliable career discovery platform with a psychometric evaluation tailored for Indian millennials. This holistic career discovery platform will enable employees and students, not only to discover the career they will truly enjoy and excel at but also equip them with information about their chosen career paths to help them gain a sound understanding of what lies ahead. Apart from offering India’s most reliable psychometric assessment, Mentoria has a team of expert career counsellors rigorously trained to delve deeper into the student or employee’s likes and dislikes, and enable them to make an informed, accurate decision about their future. Mentoria also gives users lifetime access to a knowledge gateway that gives people a glimpse into what their career would look like through comprehensive career information, regular updates on industry news and trends, and webinars that connect them to industry experts who tell them what to expect from their chosen careers. Mentoria has partnered with several schools across Maharashtra, as well as corporates like RPG Group, Datamatics, Ajmeras, Jewelex and many more, heralding a movement that aims to create a happier, satisfied and more productive workforce throughout the country.

Offering Personal Counselling

The one thing that all of the employee we spoke to emphasised on, is the importance of providing access to the services of professional counsellors who can help the employees address issues of relationships, afrustrations and so on.

As noted by Shinnie Steven, a counsellor at a leading people management consultancy, you need to keep an eye out for sudden or overtime changes in behaviour. “If the person was outspoken and cheerful, they may have suddenly become withdrawn, moody, and unfriendly. If that behaviour continues for some days, it would be time to have a chat with them. Front-line managers who work closely with the employee should notice these changes and involve HR.”

Many employees shared that their organisations engaged the services of an external counselling firm for any employee who needed counselling. The identity of the employee was kept confidential, and only a few key indicators were shared with HR. These indicators helped them plan various initiatives to address those aspects of concern.

While it may not always be easy to spot and help an employee who is suffering from mental health issues, having certain processes in place will help ensure that any employee suffering from them knows that they are cared for by their organisation.

Developing an Open Culture

Today’s new economy is based on trust. Business models such as Airbnb, Ola, and Flipkart, are all inherently based on trust. Rachel Botsman – a leading expert and author on trust in the modern world, in her TEDTalk, “The Currency of the New Economy Is Trust,” mentions how trust is intrinsic in today’s businesses and speaks of the lessons we can learn from it.

You must take the initiative in helping to build a culture that is open, trusting, and honest. An employee is more likely to provide honest feedback if you engage with them. Obviously, this cannot be a one-time activity, but is a process that takes time to build and even more time to maintain – as Sharlyn Lauby, an HR Consultant shares in her blog ‘Building Trust Is a Process, Not an Activity’.

An open culture will be evident in the way new policies are introduced and communicated to the employees, the level of involvement of all stakeholders in managing organisational change, the promptness and honesty with which employee concerns are addressed, and so on.

Recognise and Reward Contributions

Organisations must have systems in place to reward and recognise employees. However, these might be at pre-defined frequencies such as quarterly, or annually.

These recognitions must be frequent and timely. They could be in the form of applause for good work done, bonuses, and awards. “We have ‘Rockstar’ awards, which are distinctive, in that these are nominated by their peers!”

An employee shared some insightful thoughts when they said – “While we celebrate many things such as successful project completion, initiatives taken, and stages in projects – we even celebrate and accept failures! This helps to build trust. Failure is not wrong. It’s the attitude towards failure that determines one’s success. There is nothing called failure. If things don’t go well, the choice is to change, or wait if the time is not right, or accept and adapt. Nothing is permanent.”

When employees see that they are not punished for their failures, it encourages them to persist in their attempt to be better the next time.

The reason for a lack of proactiveness in many large, hierarchical organisations is that orders and instructions are passed down from the top. Those on the lower rungs are expected to simply follow them- no questions asked. Creativity is one of the most important traits organisations look for. For Instance, you can ask every employee to share one new idea every week.

Employees make an organisation. And it’s of utmost importance that they are constantly motivated, satisfied and productive at their jobs, for it is only their collective productivity that can help the organisation grow. With 60% of India’s workforce currently lacking this motivation, an effective solution is the need of the hour, not just for the progress of an organisation but the country as a whole.

We at Mentoria understand the importance of easing the mind. When career confusion has employees down, Mentoria can help them find clarity for themselves. Get in touch with our expert counsellors to begin their journey.