WHEN GiveIndia applied to take part in the Great Place To Work (GPTW) Institute’s survey for the first time (2020-2021), it was a white canvas for us. We started making notes on what constitutes the fabric of our organization and the aspect that matters to GiveIndia the most – making our employees’ journey impactful, not by following our guiding principle of alleviating poverty in the country, but within GiveIndia itself.
In late 2020, when we applied for the first time, we were only 63 employees, with only two members in the people and culture team. As 2021 progressed, our organization grew in size from 63 to 123 GiveIndians.
The GPTW challenge
For us, building the GiveIndia culture is a daily gig for us – in everything we do, how we interact with each other and how we support every GiveIndian. So when we applied last year, we were nothing less than honest and transparent in every response and feedback and got certified in the first assessment survey itself!
The process of getting the Great Place To Work certification this time was different. It was based only on employee feedback (as against the first year when it was based on a mix of employee feedback and our culture audit review).
So, this made it a bigger challenge as our Great Place To Work certification hinged on the confidential feedback of GiveIndians. “Do they truly like and love the culture we have built and we take pride in?” was a question on top of the mind for the people team. After all, we had almost a hundred percent increase in our employee strength within a year. The reason to get assessed again by the Great Place To Work study was simple – to test ourselves as an organization and the strength of its culture.
Employee friendly policies
As humans and trained professionals, we always look at data indicators as our barometer. We are trained to quantify everything, and yes, it does help in keeping things objective. But when I review the two consecutive Great Place To Work certifications, some key aspects come to the fore.
We trust our employees: Our employee policies are not just friendly, they are actually self-approved! For example, any employee can seek financial assistance in case of a personal requirement/ emergency. An employee has to write a simple note to finance, and it’s paid up – without any need for anyone’s approval. We trust our people and our policy owners.
Let employees plan: Each team plans for their overall functions’ and focus for each quarter, leading to the organization’s goal. High-performance culture is always a by-product of motivated and excited employees.
We are passionate about our work: A culture for an organization also needs to translate to work output and GiveIndia’s domain of work is in the social impact space. For this, we need super-charged up individuals to make this happen selflessly. A collective like ours, where ideas are implemented immediately, we may fail in our new experiments, but we like to thrive in the energy of impatience to do things, and continue to do newer ones.
We are focused on scale: This we take seriously, not just as a value but more as a way of life. Right from doubling our employee strength in a year to making an impact with our work through our India COVID Response Fund 1 & 2, GiveIndians have been at the forefront of this achievement. To achieve growth as an organization, we need happy people who are excited about doing things, sometimes the same thing, again and again.
Working during COVID
It’s been a very difficult couple of years. While most of India was in lockdown, it was the busiest time for us. COVID was the ‘unknown unknown’ for GiveIndia, but GiveIndians were up for the challenge.
Keeping employee safety and comfort as the highest priority, work has been mostly virtual, from onboarding and induction of new employees to employee meets (GI meet as we call it) and award events, they have all been online. Even having fun – we’ve had virtual yoga classes and a virtual marathon!
It has been a massive transition for the people culture team in these two years to keep the connection strong. While we keep rediscovering newer ways to do this, the honest truth is that it has not been easy for the now four-member people and culture team. However, keeping our focus on each and every amazing GiveIndian and ensuring they know that we have got their back is our priority – as I truly believe each GiveIndian is the reason we are a high trust culture organization.
Established in 2000, GiveIndia is the largest and most trusted giving platform in India today. Our community of 2M+ donors and 250+ corporate partners and brands have supported 2,200+ nonprofits, impacting 15M+ lives across India.
Ruchi transitioned from a number of HR leadership roles in the for-profit world to the social sector to enable professionals in their journey at GiveIndia. She heads the People & Culture & Talent Acquisition team at GiveIndia.