We bring to you ‘The Shape of Work’, a Podcast series that brings to you insights from top People Managers across the world on the future of work and how it’s shaping our workplace. Anything goes in conversation with our speakers about their journey, insights, thoughts, and most importantly their ideas and visions for the workplace of the future. See all posts here
We interviewed Gauri Das, Head of Human Resources at India Factoring and Finance Solutions Private Limited who gave us insights on the importance of communities and how it helps in bringing people together to advocate and support each other. She also touches upon the topic of employee mental well-being awareness and shares that the normal philosophy should be minimum business disruption in the most human way.
Gauri is a strategic HR Leader with more than 15 years of experience in crafting and aligning HR strategies for start-ups and well-established organizations. Passionate about women empowerment, Gauri leads a Lean in Circle called Leaders Lifting Leaders.
Let us walk you through some important insights from our interview with Gauri!
HRs should learn to market themselves
Gauri says that the problem used to lie in the fact that HRs were not marketing themselves. After understanding the power of marketing, they have started practicing it, and the employer brand has become a kind of a prerequisite for HR to have met the organization’s goal. Business acumen is something that is critical when you would want to do HR. And that’s why a proper balance of the two functions is very important.
Communities help bringing people together
Gauri leads a lean-in circle called Leaders Lifting Leaders, a women-centric place where these women come together in regular intervals and share their thoughts and ideas, without any fear of judgement. The whole idea of her community is to make people come up with all the challenges that they are facing.
Gauri shared that networking is one area where women need help, followed by negotiation . People in her community help each other with their own experiences. So, the objective that they are working on is self branding. This is an important role to play as women find it more of boasting, rather than branding.
Her community involves everyone, starting from women with 35 years of experience to women who just started their career. So, the place is a good match for this mentor-mentee relationship as well. Hence, she is trying to create a place where there is gender equality. ,It is necessary because many tim women do not come forward and seek help as they assume that the world is not fair to them.
Women-centric communities need men to be a part of them
Gauri believes that it’s not only women who should be able to run a women-centric community. Men also need to be an equal part of it. Gauri shared that they also have men taking webinar sessions they conduct. For example, in their recent International Women’s Day celebration, they organized a panel discussion between two women and one man.
She thinks that without men, it would not provide the desired results. So, teaching skills is one part that they are focusing on. However, their community is also about changing the mindset, both for men and women.
They are creating awareness on the fact that women are not born to work at home, and men are not born to work outside. Both of them are members of the same family and they have to work together.
There should be more conversations around Mental health at the workplace
Gauri shares that as a leader, you have to set the culture right and keep talking about mental health.Talking about it once, thinking it will spread across will not be fruitful.
There is also a lack of awareness and stigma around mental health. People assume that nothing will work on them, irregardless of how good a treatment they go for. So, awareness is the very first thing organizations need to work on, and then all other means of support follow up. They need to keep reviewing their policies, and address mental health, and finally, vulnerability.
Employees should be allowed to take rest, or take a leave without any reason. This shows that the organizations care for their employees’ . Hence, it is okay, as a leader, to say, “I’m not feeling good”, “I’m not in a good mood today”, or “I have an emotional breakdown today, I’m not coming to work.” This will help the other employees understand that it is totally normal to have mental challenges. Thus setting the culture right, and supporting your employees is always going to remain the best practice.