About Prashant John

Officially I am founder-director at 'kwench. Unofficially I am a dabbler-at-large doing a little-bit-of-this and a little-bit-of-that and spend a lot of time on things that pique my curiosity. I am fascinated by all things involving building innovative and sustainable brands, data-analytics, and data-visualization. I like to ponder, space-out, take long walks and write (not necessarily in that order), often resulting in blog posts, long emails, web content, and the off hand book (www.seconddegreebook.com). Current interest areas revolve around the juxtaposition of psychology and analytics, specifically studies on inter-group dynamics and mining human behavior.

Candies or Charcoal: What is Santa rating your engagement skills as?

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You better watch out, you better not cry
Better not pout, I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is comin’ to town
He’s making a list and checking it twice
Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice
Santa Claus is comin’ to town

(Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town, Lonestar)

Children around the world are told all year round that if they misbehave, On Christmas day Santa will skip the candies and give them charcoal instead.When companies carry out their annual employee engagement surveys, some managers too get their lumps of charcoal. Surveys and studies comes back with the clear message that ‘People leave managers, not companies

Continue reading

Peer Appreciation: The big happiness booster!

Recognition. We all want it, we all take steps to get it and we all feel good when someone gives it to us.

Recognition can be something as simple as a pat on the back for a job well done, a sincere compliment about something we did well, or just being noticed for the hard work we put into our tasks.

This validation of our efforts is important in all aspects of our lives, and can be especially vital in the workplace.

Employees who feel appreciated are happier, more productive and tend to feel more loyalty to their employers.

A Glassdoor study found 80 percent of those surveyed were more motivated to work hard when their boss showed appreciation for their work, as compared to only 40 percent stating increased motivation came from fear of losing their job, or worse, a demanding boss.

Bonuses are one strategy, but there are other more sustainable options which can be implemented on a regular basis, and often mean more than token monetary gestures doled out once in a while.

Cloud based platforms like kudos, make creating a culture of recognition at the workplace a snap! Social platforms like these make messaging, coordinating and announcing meet-ups seamless so that nobody is out of the loop and everybody can participate.

Here are four quick ideas for you to engage your team members right now – no permissions from management required and no major budgets either.

Idea#1: A simple thank you

Those two words go a long way, and frankly, are not used enough by leaders in the workplace. Yes, there is an expectation as an employee to perform well, but showing appreciation and gratitude for those efforts should still be vocalized.

Idea #2: Through the stomach

Make your employees day a little brighter by surprising them with breakfast, coffee or snacks in the office. Those little treats every now and then really help boost morale and are great way to say thank you.

Idea #3: Catch-up sessions

Do your best to have a personable relationship with your employees. Be relatable and never make them feel intimidated to express an opinion. Make time for quick one-to-one meetings to discuss how things are going, and let them know you have noticed and appreciate the progress they are making in their role with the company. Listen to any concerns they might have and be open to suggestions about how to improve the way things are done; they are the ones at ground level and might have some really good ideas about how to maximize their own productivity.

Idea #4: Small gifts or rewards

Treat your employees to gift cards, office parties, raffles or perhaps even an earlier finish on a Friday every once in a while to show them you recognize all they do for the company.

All of these strategies help to create and sustain a pleasant working environment where employees feel comfortable, recognized and motivated to do their best, a win-win for leaders and team members alike.

3 tips to ‘power-up’ timely recognition at the workplace.

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Employee recognition is an extremely effective way to empower your best workers. Whether you recognize an employee with a raise or just a quick email, it’s important to let employees know when they’re doing well. However, recognition alone isn’t enough. Continue reading

4 smart ways to engage with Millennials in India

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The psyche, work ethic and life choices of millennials are dissected and discussed continually by everyone from opinion columnists to psychologists to economists.

The millennial generation, whose members, born from 1980 to 2000, grew up during an unparalleled digital revolution, has a unique position in history, coming of age simultaneously with the rise of the internet, social media and all the other huge technological and communication advances we’ve seen in the past few decades.

These advances brought with them globalization, drawing the world in closer contact, and opening up new lifestyle and employment possibilities unimaginable just years before.

Because millennials grew up in an age of such progress and possibility, there is a lot of talk about how to engage them in the workforce.

By 2020, millennials are projected to make up 50 percent of the global workforce, and a whopping 75 percent by 2025.

In India for example, a country of over one billion, nearly 65 percent of the population will be of working age by 2026. This striking number of individuals will not only drive India’s progress, but also supply human capital around the world.

Companies around the globe are aiming to provide the kind of work environments that attract and motivate millennials.

Of course, not all millennials can be painted with the same brush; culture plays a huge role in motivational factors and personality.

In that case, what are some key motivators for Indian millennials?

Titles and avenues for progression

Millennials in India are ambitious and conscious of titles. Providing an organizational structure with designated roles and the opportunity for upward movement is key.

Mentor programs

Mentors make millennials feel valued and looked after by an organization. Effective mentor programs show fresh employees there is a path to promotion, and give them guidance for continued success along the way.

Skill development

Millennials have grown up in a society that is constantly reminding them of the need to stay relevant. Many do not want to stay in one role, or even one place, for too long. Offering training programs and skill development courses which allow them to multi-task and fulfill a variety of roles over time will keep them engaged.

Feedback and recognition

Communication with management is vital for millennials. They want to feel challenged and recognized, in order to feel they are an integral part of the organization, and that they are making a positive difference within the company. Give constructive criticism when improvement is needed, but make sure to equally dole out praise for a job well done.

Millennials, with all their quirks, are here to stay in a big way.

Therefore, it’s imperative to harness their collective power, understand what makes them tick, and motivate them for maximum productivity, on their terms.

Here is Sanjay Behl, CEO Raymond with his thoughts in the BusinessWorld Kwench HR Masterclass on how to engage the Millennials.

Do leave your thoughts and comments in the section below. I would love to hear your opinions on the topic.

Related Posts:

Engaging Gen-Y: The ‘Millennial’ Challenge (Part 1 – the Hero Generation)

Engaging Gen-Y: The ‘Millennial’ Challenge (Part 2 – The chasm)

Engaging Gen-Y: The ‘Millennial’ Challenge (Part 3 – The strategies)

10 Ways to Truly Appreciate Your Employees

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The first Friday of March is Employee Appreciation Day!

Great! But I have always wondered why we need to have ‘Day’s’ to do what you should be anyway be doing every single day of the year? And how is it supposed to work if you are a crabby boss all year round and host a team lunch on this one day?

Well frankly it won’t. But don’t despair: all is not lost!  Continue reading

The one BIG idea for Employee Engagement in 2016!

Looking for one transformational idea for Employee Engagement in 2016? kfit: the Employee Health and Wellness platform from Kwench might be just what you are looking for!

I have always dreaded the last week of December. Christmas and New Year get-together and cake eating binges aside, there is always the dreaded mental review of another year gone by.

Ever since I landed up on the wrong side of 30, “Loose Weight” and “Exercise Regularly” have been on top or near top of my New Year Resolutions list and are always the items with a red cross against them in my year-end review. And somewhere along the year I would have inevitably invested in exercise gear that cost way more than I could afford, gym memberships that cost even more than the above mentioned exercise gear, and last year even a high-end water-proof watch – you know, for when I do the 25 laps in the pool. Several consecutive years of this pattern, and tens of thousands of Rupees later – I was fed up.

So I did what was seemed most obvious thing to do – I headed to the café and discussed my problem with others! (With a large latte and a chocolate donut on the side). Now what is interesting is that the story seemed to be pretty common across people I talked to. With all the stresses of just barely balancing daily work and family life, exercise and diet more often than not takes a back seat. Even drinking adequate amounts of water can be a challenge and the sugar in all the cups of coffee reflects pretty quickly on the waistline – if not worse! My colleagues at Kwench pretty much confirmed the challenges and so did a lot of our friends, family and even clients to whom we posed the question.

There is no doubt about it. The more we asked around the more it seemed that India Inc. has a serious health problem. We dug around for some data and this is what we found.

 

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Scared?

Well that’s just one part of the problem. You see from an organizational perspective, there is a lot at stake when the wellbeing of its workforce is not quite up to the mark. Loss of productivity due to more sick days, absenteeism and worse presenteeism.

If there is so much at stake for both the employee and the employer, why don’t Workplace Wellness programs work? Research on enterprise wellness programs by Guidespark reveals the top reasons why these programs don’t achieve the required results. While ~70% of employees feel that wellness is important, less than 10% actually take full advantage of such programs. Employees don’t participate or the end results are not as expected because they are too busy with work, the programs don’t suit their lifestyle or that they are not fully aware of what is on offer. Almost half of them felt that their biggest wellness challenge was insufficient activity followed by stress and poor nutrition.

Clearly any wellness initiative that hopes to succeed in the workplace must have a solution to all if not most of these issues.

One of the really cool things of working at Kwench is that problems are not left unattended for too long. Anything that touches on Employee Engagement obviously piques our interest. And if we think we can use technology to fix that problem them it excites us to no end.

We took the problem, pondered over it, did our homework, drew the sketches, put the engineers and designers into one big room to do their magic and created kfit – a comprehensive employee health and wellness platform that leverages the magic of social, gamification and mobility to help companies raise the health quotient of their workforce. kfit uses micro interventions coupled with technology to bring about positive and long lasting behavioral change.

Excited? We sure hope so, because we are very excited about the possibilities this platform holds in transforming the health and wellness landscape of Corporate India.

If you are looking for one BIG idea for your Employee Engagement program for 2016, then look no further.

If you want us to get in touch and explain more about how kfit can help transform your company’s wellness, please send us an enquiry.

If you want to know more, here is a quick guide to why this is the one BIG Idea, that you can download and it is titled (Surprise, Surprise): The One BIG Idea for Employee Engagement in 2016!

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Oh and I am glad to say this year I won’t be putting a cross against “Loose Weight” and “Exercise Regularly” on my resolution list from Jan ’15.

2016 promises to be a whole new year – in more ways than one! Join us in changing the world – one step at a time!

PS: Reminder – Get in touch with us and we will be glad to talk about Employee Engagement Ideas for 2016!

 

Happy Mother’s Day

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There is a reason some people think they can do anything – they listened to their mothers.

In recognition of the ultimate ‘engagement experts’ who are always there for you – wishing all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.

A long time ago I had written this post Employee engagement strategies you learnt on your mother’s knee – it still is one of my favourite ones.