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An empowered workplace

Our Annual Leave Policy allows employees to take as many number of days of paid leave at a time as they need to recharge and rejuvenate.

With employees clocking in 48-hour workweeks, research states that India Inc. is inching towards premature burnouts. Most employees in organisations across the country complain of being overworked, unmanageable stress levels, and a dwindling personal life. To top that, it is rarely a good time to take your annual leave as you may be judged for your lackadaisical work ethic, because appraisals are due next month, the big launch is due next week, or the targets are impossible to meet.

At Star, we are always listening… listening to the pulse of the company, to what employees need, think, and want. And we are constantly striving to make changes that create an empowering and fulfilling workplace. We decided to do something about this to ensure our hard-working #Superstars are getting their much-needed downtime.

As part of the ‘Family Comes First’ benefits program, our Annual Leave Policy allows employees to take as many days of paid leave as they need, with no cap on the upper limit. The new policy also includes a minimum limit of 15 days – to encourage employees to take at least a minimum two-week break in the year to begin with. The policy further includes a key highlight that employees must take at least one instance of minimum 5 days of leave at a stretch in order to relax and unwind thoroughly.

Just as our employees are in charge of their workload, they should be in charge of their vacations. This will also mean more accountability, responsibility and effective planning. Plan well, enjoy the benefits! 

“Star is an ideas company, the nation’s storyteller. And we need to rejuvenate, recharge regularly to stay inspired and creative. This change comes in line with some of the best-in-class policies in the world. Keeping up with the changing work culture, we want to move from clock to contribution, and create an environment that is empowering.”
Amita Maheshwari, President and Head, Human Resources, Star India

MORE TIME-OFF = MORE CREATIVITY

What we recognized is that each employee has a unique working style and has different needs when it comes to time-off. Some employees prefer several short bouts of breaks, others prefer one extended break after completing a big project. We want to stop counting.

Monotonous routines without substantial downtime impact inspiration, hampers creativity, and a poor work-life balance leaves employees unhappy. At Star, we care about our employees, and we want to help them de-stress, recharge, and make sure they come back feeling more engaged in the work they do.

“This is a humane approach that treats people as individuals with differing needs, and this is the best way to get all the workaholics to take time-off.”
Arpita Menon, Executive Vice President, Partnerships and Innovation, Star India

AN EMPOWERING WORKPLACE IS FULFILLING

With this policy, we are putting the power back in the employee’s hands to decide how much time-off they need, and to give them the flexibility and comfort of being in charge of their vacations. We want them to be in charge of their time in office, and out of office.

For the younger workforce, this is a great benefit. We want to be seen as an organisation that wants employees to grow and nurture their passions at work and outside work.

“Now that the pressure of accumulating leaves is out, it feels much better. I am far more in control of my time-off well in advance and can plan it well,” says Nakul Santpurkar, Brand and Marketing Strategy, Star India, who uses most of his time-off to seek new trekking spots in the country and to catch up on his reading.

EFFECTIVE PLANNING AND TRUST ARE KEY

On the flipside, managers may begin to worry that productivity will dip. However, contrary to this belief, companies have only benefitted from this as employees tend to become more productive, more loyal, and they begin to thrive at their work as they are well-rested.

“In events, we often work back-to-back weekends for a month or two at a stretch, and to assuage the pressure, I let my team work from home on a few days and take time off to rejuvenate. It ensures a good work-life balance. This policy is definitely a welcome move but its success will mean making sure that each one continues to use it responsibly.”
Lydia Buthello, Executive Vice President, Brand Experience and Events

Only upon a manager’s approval can the leave be sanctioned, and we are readying managers across the board to prep for this new policy. This includes, ways in which they can help their teams plan for breaks, and ways to manage the anticipated stress that this policy brings with it.

On the upside, it also allows for a new level of trust to develop between a manager and his/her team members as each one is asked to enjoy this change responsibly and with effective planning.

It is a bold, disruptive and creative move, just like everything else we do at Star. But we are certain that this is the first step to achieving a more committed, passionate, loyal and participatory workforce in the future.

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