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Why this IT start-up calls itself 'Happiest Minds'

Last updated on: September 9, 2011 13:57 IST

Why this IT start-up calls itself 'Happiest Minds'

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Prasanna D Zore

Happiest Minds Technologies? Wouldn't you be surprised if you were told that this is the name of an IT start-up company founded by one of the most respected names in the industry?

But then, Raja Shanmugham, chief people officer, Happiest Minds Technologies, says that they had a strong rationale to name the company 'Happiest Minds Technologies'.

"We believe that happiest employees will lead to happiest customers," he replied in an e-mail interaction. Shanmugham also discussed the company's HR policies, six qualities that one needs to have to fit the bill at the company, how they measure their company's happiness quotient, his challenges and why the company will not be impacted by another storm brewing in the US economy.

How are the people's (human resource) policies at Happiest Minds different from those at other companies?

The Indian IT industry is a great innovator of people-friendly policies and practices that increase employee engagement, motivation, productivity and satisfaction. 

To that extent we are standing on the shoulders of giants. We will draw upon many of these best practices while we frame our people policies. We will also seek out best practices in non-IT industries that align well with our philosophies and values and integrate them into our practices.

The biggest change we are seeking to bring about is to shift the goal from having a "satisfied employee" to having "the happiest colleague". This requires a huge mindset change across all aspects of running the business.

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Image: Raja Shanmugham, chief people officer, Happiest Minds Technologies

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Six qualities/skills to look out for in potential employees

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Is there a way to measure the happiness quotient of your employees?

I believe the Kingdom of Bhutan measures its Gross National Happiness Index through a complex set of measurements which involve 4 pillars, 9 domains and 72 different indicators!  There are also hundreds of simple psychometric tests on the Internet which tell you whether you are a happy person or not.

At Happiest Minds, we have identified a few predictive factors that enable happiness. Some of them are organisational factors such as fairness, transparency and joy at workplace. The others are individual oriented, such as wellness, work-life balance and giving back to the society.  We will also measure the state of happiness of our people and build the correlations between them over a period of time.

What are the six qualities/skills that you would look out for in potential employees?

We would look for the following qualities from each prospective Happiest Mind:

Sharing:  A person who is a team player, who is willing to share knowledge and help others

Mindfulness: Someone who is attentive, caring and heedful.

Integrity: Every Happiest Mind should respect commitments, not just in letter but also in spirit and should exhibit professional, social and financial integrity.

Learning: A person who is willing to acquire new skills and knowledge continuously and consistently

Excellence: High aspirations for excellence backed by a strong action orientation

Social responsibility: A responsible corporate citizen who is aware of her/his environmental responsibility; someone who is willing to give back to the community.

These qualities/skills are encapsulated by the acronym SMILES which describes  our core values. It will be a great asset if they can retain their cheer and sense of humour in the face of stress and adversity.

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Image: Ashok Soota, executive chairman (Centre) and Vikram Gulati (right), MD and CEO, with employees of Happiest Minds

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'We believe that happiest employees will lead to happiest customers'

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As chief people officer at Happiest Minds what would be your greatest challenge and how do you plan to meet it?

Happiest Minds has been formed to achieve ambitious business results while creating a way of working that celebrates the person.

Our challenge is to finds ways to take a highly subjective and emotional concept of being happiest and articulate it into broadly understandable, acceptable and implementable practices that can be integrated into the way we run our business operations.

What explains the rationale for name of the company: Happiest Minds?

We believe that happiest employees will lead to happiest customers. The IT services industry is essentially a knowledge industry. It offers the opportunity to celebrate and harness our intellectual capabilities while creating economic benefits for the company, our customers and the society.

Our minds work better while we are happier and at peace.  Hence we named our company as Happiest Minds as a constant reminder to the fact that we are in the business of making our customers happiest through our happiest colleagues.

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'Some of the most successful companies in the world were born in turbulent times'

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What constitutes the definition of 'happiness' for Happiest Minds as a corporate entity?

Happiest Minds is an IT services company founded with the objective and mission of creating the Happiest Customers and the Happiest employees.

Happiness is in "our Being" -- who we are; "our Belonging" -- our context; and "our Becoming" -- our future.

Since happiness is so closely tied to state of mind of the individual, rather than trying to define what "Happiness" means, we have identified certain key factors that enable happiness in a person. These include organisational principles such as fairness and transparency, equitable rewards and recognition, fun and joy at the workplace, feeling of community, respect and pride, exhibits empathy and sharing, leadership credibility and social responsibility. Some of the individual enablers include wellness -- professional growth, career, work-life balance, giving back to society, etc.

Do you think the recent market turmoil have any bearing on Happiest Minds' expansion plans?

Some of the most successful companies in the world were born in turbulent times. The IT services market is a huge multi-billion dollar market. The numbers we are targeting, while being ambitious for a start-up, are very small compared to the overall market opportunity. Accordingly, the economic conditions will have lesser impact on our goals than for some large players.


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