At Indeed FutureWorks 2023, Indeed Chief People Officer Priscilla Koranteng explained that better work leads to better lives — but not every company is committed to supporting work wellbeing. “Our research shows that 47% of people say their expectations around happiness at work have increased in the last year alone,” she said. However, only 23% of companies are leading the way by creating a culture of wellbeing.

Koranteng told the crowd that employee satisfaction relies on employers addressing three main categories: foundational needs, social needs and growth needs. “By mastering these essentials, companies can instill a profound sense of purpose in their employees,” she said. 

As part of a broad initiative to encourage work wellbeing, Indeed recently presented the inaugural Better Work Awards, which honor the top 20 companies in the U.S. (as well as the U.K. and Canada) that have championed work wellbeing. “This represents the authentic voice of those who understand how it feels to work there,” Koranteng said. 

One winner — Vardha Venkataraman, the Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Infosys — joined Koranteng onstage to share the strategies that have enabled his workforce to thrive. Here’s what he had to say.

Professional headshot of Priscilla Koranteng, Indeed Chief People Officer
Priscilla Koranteng, Indeed Chief People Officer

Measuring Wellbeing at Work Is Crucial

Only 49% of workers report that their company measures happiness and wellbeing. At Infosys — an $18 billion company with 350,000 employees operating across 54 countries — producing clear metrics for worker satisfaction has been paramount to its success. 

Venkataraman explained that Infosys recently implemented a Happiness Index that tracks work wellbeing through four fundamental tenets: mental health, emotional health, physical health and financial health. This data offers insight on how the company can do better. “Our Happiness Index is very high. It’s up 15% [over the past year],” he said. “It’s important to make sure that whoever steps out of Infosys offices in the evening feels motivated enough to come back the next morning.” 

Two speakers in front of a small, intimate audience.
Global Head of Talent Acquisition at Infosys Vardha Venkataraman (right) joined Indeed Chief People Officer Priscilla Koranteng (left) at Indeed FutureWorks 2023 to discuss how his company, a 2023 Indeed Better Work Award winner, promotes greater work wellbeing.

Go Beyond Perks — Focus on the Employee Value Proposition

Infosys has expanded tremendously since its inception in 1981, when it was founded with only $250 in seed funding. The company has had to adjust its recruitment strategies as it integrates into markets outside of South Asia. In the U.S., Infosys has set up large training centers in Raleigh and Indianapolis, and made it clear to prospective hires that upskilling is a core practice in their workplace journey. 

It’s the opportunity for professional development, alongside perks and benefits, that creates lasting happiness for employees. “It was important for us to come up with an employee value proposition,” Venkataraman said. “The employee value proposition is something that we coined several years ago, even before work wellbeing as a concept started taking up a lot of steam. Our employer value proposition hinges on the fundamentals. What is the emotional value? What is the learning value? From that perspective, we were already on that journey way ahead of time.”

In the past two years, 66% of Infosys employees completed additional digital training and certifications. “It’s important to give them that financial security, but also the promise that anytime there is a new project, new demand or need for a certain skill set, they would be given the opportunity to learn.” 

This initiative helped Infosys immensely during the tight labor market post-COVID, when some employees left for other opportunities. Instead of panicking about filling vacant roles as quickly as possible, Venkataraman knew Infosys could upskill its workforce. “Infosys has always been very, very clear that we cannot rely on money to be a key driver for people to stay at the company,” he said. “It has to be looked at holistically.”

Still, Infosys had to sometimes adjust its initiatives on the fly. When work-life balance blurred during COVID, Venkataraman witnessed it firsthand. “There was no differentiation or delineation between work life and personal life,” he said. “And the stress levels were building up.” 

The solution? Breaking down the company into cohorts of 50 people and designating a counselor who acts as the work wellbeing point of contact. That initiative is now a core pillar that’s presented to candidates during the hiring process. 

Keeping Empathy at the Heart of Hiring

Infosys’ employee satisfaction and happiness index are at an all-time high, according to Venkataraman, which makes him believe that he and his team are doing the right things. 

When it comes to employee management, he said: “You can build processes, systems, protocols and governance mechanisms, but at the end of the day, if that empathy is not there, nothing is going to work for your employees.” 

His winning mantra is simple: “It’s HR from the heart.”

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