Tech Mahindra is a company with a purpose. An IT company with over 125,000 employees (associates) around the world, their workplace culture is defined by three core aspects: driving positive change, celebrating each moment, and empowering all to Rise. Everything the company does links back to employee engagement, culture, and sharing with their community, which is why they are ranked #21 on India’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in 2020 by the Great Place to Work®️ Institute. It also means they were well prepared to take care of their people during a global pandemic.
Rewards and recognition play a big role at TechM—the company nurtures appreciation and gratefulness throughout the system. “Rewards and recognition have to go beyond the cash we pay out to our associates,” says Vrinda Pisharody, Head of Internal Communications and Reward & Recognition. “That’s like having a bottle of water on the table. It’s basic expected hygiene, you don’t get kudos for that. An R&R program has to go beyond that, and for us at Tech Mahindra it’s about creating a culture of appreciation—cultivating a feeling of gratitude, giving back, and sharing. If you can achieve that, that’s when you have made a real difference.”
Celebrating is an integral part of the TechM culture. The company utilizes a digital recognition platform to say thanks and build a culture of appreciation They conduct campaigns several times a month to remind people to recognize one another. But during times of crisis like COVID-19, TechM extends the recognition beyond its immediate associates (employees).
“We strongly believe that when we talk about having a celebration culture, it cannot be limited to just our associates...it has to extend to ALL our stakeholders,” explains Pisharody. “We celebrate with our customers, housekeeping staff, and with the communities we work in.”
For example, during the traditional Rakhi festival, the company includes the housekeeping support staff in its celebrations. They also provided scholarships worth INR 4 million for the children of the housekeeping staff.
While recognition happens at work, many companies miss out on engaging with their associates’ families as remote working makes them a critical factor in work efficiency. TechM recognizes children who have excelled in academics or the arts, and they celebrate things like Father’s Day and Grandparents day as a company with their people. To recognize long-service, associates get the usual additional time off, cash, and certificate, but TechM goes a step further. Associates receive, at home, a customized note from the Chief People Officer, flowers, and a voucher for a restaurant. It comes as a surprise, so family members are also appreciated along with the associate.
“It’s instinctive in us and important for us to make sure we take care of all the stakeholders in our business,” says Pisharody. Another unique encouraging practice at TechM is sharing of their rewards with a colleague. So associates can ‘gift’ their earned reward points to another colleague who may be in need. Sharing is another meaningful component of the TechM culture, and that extends to rewards and recognition.
During COVID-19, TechM held internal engagements to make sure associates were feeling well-connected while working remotely. They held two to three activities or events each week to maintain the connection with one another, including associates who still had to physically go into work every day. On Mother’s Day, the CEO invited all mothers on a video call, with their children, and chatted with families across the globe, celebrating working mothers.
The Internal Communications team at TechM sends out a daily email newsletter called The TechM Coronicles to address news and rumors around safety, resources, etc. The company also sends out a daily video from a member of senior leadership and holds daily webinars to check in on the emotional wellbeing of associates. And when associates keep customers happy despite the turmoil, their success stories are shared in the newsletter.
“There’s a bigger need for recognition right now. People are anxious. It’s a difficult time for everyone,” says Pisharody. “There’s an underlying fear of what’s next, will my job be safe, will I have my job next month? It doesn’t go away. In such times, it becomes doubly crucial for us to stop and assure associates and also recognize those who have gone the extra mile. And give them an extra pat on the back.”
“I tell our associates: in these troubling times if someone has helped you, say ‘thank you.’ Share the stories.” For TechM, telling stories of how associates are making a difference is more important than the monetary awards in these challenging times.
When there’s been a calamity or need, TechM asks their associates to come together and contribute to help one another or the community at large. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they knew the needs of the community would be much higher than usual.
The company utilized their recognition platform to ask associates to donate its points, leave, or part of their salary, which in turn became monetary donations to help those in need. The company collected over Rs. 1 million through the Rewards platform and 60 million through salary donations from associates that were used to help the needy in the Mahindra ecosystem.
“The focus on giving back and sharing has been amplified during COVID,” notes an elated Pisharody. Associates personally help mobilize and distribute resources, ensuring villages get the food and medical supplies they need.
Helping others is a core part of the company’s purpose. TechM’s call for driving positive change, celebrating each moment, and empowering all to Rise have a common theme: become a company with a purpose that treats people well. Pisharody shares, “Anything and everything we do has to drive positive change in the lives of our people and the people in the communities we work in. To make a difference, to make an impact, has always been a core part of our culture.” It’s a culture that makes TechM a best place to work and will help them thrive through this global crisis, and long after.
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