Deepak Khetrapal

When it comes to employee happiness, common practices like Friday evening events and celebrating festivals are accruing “diminishing marginal pleasure” as they have become “hygiene” factors now. In today’s story, we are sharing the most successful initiatives of employee happiness implemented by Deepak Khetrapal, Managing Director and CEO of Orient Cement. He is also featured in the list of the Top 100 Great People Managers of 2021 by Great Manager Institute®, published in Forbes India.

If you are an entrepreneur or a senior manager looking for ways to improve your employee happiness index, this is a must-read for you.

“A core need for a happy workplace is belongingness.”

How many times do you do meetings with your colleagues and employees that have no agenda? Have you ever done a meeting where your employees don’t have to speak about their targets but instead talk about their personal life? This is exactly what Khetrapal believes in and is doing at Orient Cement. In their meetings, people are expected and encouraged to talk about their personal issues, family matters, sports, books, music, movies, non-business achievements and more. This brings the employees closer to each other and instils in them a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Sharing personal side creates bonds through empathy and also mutual support systems.

“In our organization, people come together to support each other.”

A practice that most organisations do not implement is a robust internal communication platform where communication and sharing are not just top-down. Orient Cement has taken its internal communications several notches higher through the “Workplace by Facebook” platform. The platform bypasses barriers like hierarchy, functions, and locations, and allows employees to applaud each other directly. The senior leaders get personally involved, post their thoughts and also acknowledge the good work and contributions of all employees. This directly feeds into the sense of pride your employees feel and improves your overall employee happiness index.

“We believe each employee needs to have the support to become the best version of their professional selves.”

Personally anchored by Khetrapal, the Team Fit For Future (T3F) initiative, is all about sharing individual experiences and practices of their sales teams and learning from each other. The focus here is on instilling new work habits which differentiate the company from the competition. The objective is to learn how each person in the team has changed their approach and acted in a new, different way in responding to the same situation and the response they received with their “new” approach. A notable thing about this initiative is that the team does not do any review or discuss any business outcomes at all during these sessions. They purely serve as a means to celebrate new initiatives irrespective of the results, share distilled learnings and expand the “next practices”.

Great Managers Institute® is on a mission to bring out the best in industry leaders. In our series “Is Your Work Family Happy”, we share the best workplace practices of India’s Top 100 Great People Managers of 2021.

According to GMI, this is what we can learn from Deepak Khetrapal’s story:

  1. Meet employees’ need for belongingness by getting to know them as “complete humans” and not just their “work” persona
  2. Have an active supportive process/platform that “democratises” communication across hierarchies and functions

If you believe your leadership skills are at par with the best practices shared in this story, participate in Great People Manager Study 2022 and get a chance to feature in India’s Top 100 Great People Managers list. We are eager to hear your story. Register here!

Cheers to great leaders!