Founder, Chaaya Baradhwaaj talks about the process of building an agency with a focus on employee relations and best HR practices through her takeaways from running BC Web Wise.
People make the company. Even more so when you are in a service industry where everything you do depends on people-skills. Here, hardware or software can only have any influence on the quality of the service. Provided people being utilized are not just skilled but are also hold the right space. I realized this very early on when I started the company 20 years back. BC Web Wise, few may know, did not start as a digital agency service.
Coming from a content background, and given my own passion for solutions to everyday things, I left my position as Assistant Editor at Business Today to launch a community portal called tips4me.com. I had no idea about what went into making web pages and so I hired a web-development outfit called Aum Soft. Thus, began the journey.
Empathy and partnering matter when you want to ‘join arms’ as opposed to ‘hiring skill-sets’.
Some basic principles unfolded — integrity, responsibility, talent, intent, the passion of the people and shared values. If there is a great disparity in what we believe in as individuals, relationships don’t last well within an organization. It reflects in the work as well as in client relationships.
Coupled with these shared values, our focus has been on having the highest degree of transparency within our system. This includes a need for transparency in sharing, empathizing and accommodating/supporting at the personal and professional fronts. Be it a loan that is needed, flexible timing, extra time off to manage paperwork when you are looking for a house or taking extra days off to meet some religious or family needs.
There are many in our company who either got married or became parents after they started their career with us. For us, their families are our families. It becomes a 2-way commitment.
We encourage people to grow and go beyond what they imagined for themselves. Our office assistant, you can say, our very first peon, is now our systems admin head. My personal secretary is now our HR head.
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We keep updating our HR policies as per the need of the hour. We do our best that is accommodating and acceptable to all, as well as to the growth of our agency. Not that we are very pliant, we get everyone’s buy-in with firm resolve when needed. We have training programs internal, as well as invest in external training as needed.
Now, the whole world is battling Coronavirus and self-isolation is the need of the hour. Our employees are working from home to keep up the work momentum. We have introduced Chai Pe Charcha, where we all gather either over a video conference in the mornings or lunch or tea-time break for a virtual meeting and share the fun stuff.
We are also doing a survey to see how it is actually going for everyone, and what are the pluses/minuses and challenges of working from home. Not everyone can work from home. We are looking at our inventory/stock and optimizing everything we can, be it costs or resources. Vigilance and planning are critical in this phase.
What can we do to change the way we are doing things is critical, and in fact, this may lead to some great realizations. For instance, working from home cuts travel time, and can increase productivity for certain services. It may also lead to better health and well-being for employees. We can leverage all the great learnings that are going to come with this situation.
I would think we have a pretty good culture of growth, development, and camaraderie in place. It is our endeavour to get better at making our agency a much richer and gratifying experience for the entire team.
This article has been authored by Chaaya Baradhwaaj, Founder & Managing Director, BC Web Wise.