Great people = Great service
In business, as the saying goes, your brand is as good as the people behind it!
It’s really our people that make Shariyah Review Bureau the brand it is today. Our wonderful work environment is also due in small parts to our values which shape the culture and define the way we serve our customers.
With 27 scholars in 16 countries, our company includes 30 nationalities, speaking dozens of languages reflecting the global customer base that we serve on a daily basis.
How we do it
Our work is very challenging. That is why we are always on an outlook to create a place where our people feel excited to come to work every day. In our pursuit to build a meaningful and productive workplace we began experimenting with new ways. Over the years we’ve learned a lot how to build a fun place, where our people can grow and do great things for our clients and the industry while having a good time.
Here we’ll like to share with you selected tips that have helped develop a positive staff culture with enhanced creativity, strong relationships, boosted morale, and superior satisfaction.
Making friends at work
Humor at work
Light hearted humor matters a lot and can have a huge impact on your environment. Funny personal stories that are uplifting, positive and respectful are accepted and enjoyed by everyone. And if done with one’s own good nature and energy, it can help support your peoples’ success at work!
Our experience has shown us that positive humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking and can help colleagues play with ideas, lower internal critic, and see things in new ways.
To put it simply … Ha + ha = aha!
Work hard, play hard
A fun environment with humor and gaming perks can help make work more than just a monthly salary.
At our office you will find crazy perks like Table Tennis, Mini Golf Course, PS4, Wii, Darts and much more that makes our people love their job even more.
Our experience has shown that the joy of playing, helps build relationships, appreciate skills, develop social interactions, and above all release stress.
But remember you need to get the balance right in such perks, and ensure that such fun activities do not turn into distractions.
Casual dress days
We started with casual dress day once a week but when we saw how relaxed our people became on those days and how it made our workplace more enjoyable and productive on such days we decided to get away with the formal dress code and grooming policy.
Of course you have to watch out for formal meetings and the client-facing people who have to be dressed in a way that suits to their audience.
Supporting good causes
If you want to build a culture of compassion, lower stress levels, boost goodwill and help your workforce feel healthier then allow them to serve local community needs.
Well organized efforts create social occasions which help teams improve morale and develop leadership skills.
We encourage our people to support good causes in the cities where we operate and for events they consider important.
Creating a stress-free office environment
Supporting flexible schedules
Giving your people the flexibility of scheduling their own office timings helps boosts productivity.
The reason for some may be as simple as wanting to better manage a long commute to work, take their children to school, catch up on sleep because of late night study-circles or having a relaxing breakfast with a family member.
Our flexible arrangements have helped lower daily stress-levels and also help our people focus better on their tasks.
Unplugging from work
If you care about building an authentic culture, give your employees a committed vacation time off to help them re-engage in personal, creative, and family activities.
We support our people’s lives and families by helping them completely disengage and disconnect from their daily work tasks (of course the work is handled by other members of the department). As a result the relaxing vacation has a positive effect on their work life, and we find them more organized and on top of things when they return to work.
Half day after vacation
Slipping back into work mode can be a challenge for many employees.
To help our people from undoing any benefits they may have received from taking a break we offer a half-day work on the first day of return.
This helps get over the “back to work blues” and prepare themselves to get back into the game and positively deal with the pending tasks. You can expect them to return the second day with boundless energy and restored creativity!
Celebrating success by sharing wealth
We want our people to share in the success and wealth they create for our business. And there is no better way to exercise that role than to award every person in our organization – rather than just the executive or business team – with a bonus linked to the past and present performance of our company. So instead of paying a “one-off” amount our teams receive a share for each year a client is retained on our portfolio.
This design stimulates our people to think like practice owners with a sense of always looking out for new clients and maintaining loyalty with previous clients. So if you are looking at creating value for your people then design a scheme which helps create a sense of shared ownership.
Motivation for a healthy workplace
Experience shows that availability of healthy breakfast and light snacks throughout the day contributes to workplace awesomeness. Our office’s health conscious culture is an embodiment of our CEO’s own personal values and practices.
Whether you offer hearty cereals in the morning, munchies in the break room, mixed fruits and nuts at meetings, or occasional treats in the afternoon your people will highly appreciate the free food and help you build a more positive environment.
Weekly rest hour
People need time off from work for the health of their heart and brain.
Owing to the nature of work our people quite often have to work un-scheduled hours. We’ve designed a weekly rest hour to bring flexibility to regular working hours.
The client task coverage during this time is monitored by our Managers.
Getting rid of performance appraisals
They say that your employee never forgets a bad review experience. Moreover, research has shown that all kinds of personal biases influence employee appraisals. That’s why we decided to completely get rid of annual performance evaluations. Instead we focus on meaningful outcomes over processes with instant development where our managers coach their people all day, every day with positively-constructed feedback. It’s best to focus on the present and the immediate future of our people rather than what he or she did in the past.
Additionally, the CEO personally sets time aside once a month to go through the details of each and every client aspect of our business from work-flow to employee challenges to client updates, finance, and operations. These meetings also help encourage interactions across teams and build collaboration with peers, and spark conversation about work as well as play. The design of these meetings allow our people to ask questions directly to the CEO about any number of company issues – even if their computer mouse is not working!
Comfort with Ergonomic chairs
The comfort*, health and well-being of your people is a vital factor of their productivity. So it’s no surprise that your choice of workstation chairs has a big impact on their output levels – especially when the majority of their time is spend sitting on chairs. Our experience has shown us that uncomfortable seating arrangements irritates and distracts people making them focus on their discomfort, instead of their work.
We consider it important to provide our people with seating arrangements that suit their physical requirements and maintain correct postures suitable to their own needs. That’s why we give $500 to each member of the operational team to purchase an Ergonomic chair of their own choice and comfort. This helps them relax and delve deep into tasks, enhancing productivity in our work place.
*Staples survey found that 86% of workers aren’t comfortable in their seats, and (41% say their chairs cause them physical pain.
Helping achieve work-life balance
Creative time project
Each individual is unique and smart. Your Company would be mad to keep all that brain-power locked up.
People in your organization should be allowed to set time aside and work on their own ideas with a skew towards the line of business and services which your company offers.
At our offices we believe in helping our people choose their own adventure and work on anything that relates to our field of work and deliver it at the end of the month.
We call this Creative Time Project.Our idea is to allow people to scratch ‘itches’ which they believe can one day become breakthrough ideas in our industry.
Before you introduce this at your office ensure that you have well-structured guidelines in place and your people understand that there shouldn’t be any conflict with important deadlines.
Your business – like ours – is desperately in need of God’s mercy. We strongly believe that an increase in obedience to God leads to an increase in wealth. Perhaps this is a reason why worldly benefits are mentioned alongside the benefits of acts of worship in several places in the Quran.
To inspire our people to worship God even more we allow our people 10 paid minutes to observe Nawafil (Optional Prayers) anytime of the day. They are also allowed the same time off to sit and meditate the remembrance of our Creator and purpose of life.
A Guide for daily guidance
Every time your employee opens and recites the Quran in the office, mercy and healing will come down on your business. That mercy and healing will also help your people navigate through problems, issues, up’s and down’s faced in daily work lives.
To help our people make a practical relationship with the Book of Allah we allow 30 paid minutes of recitation of the Quran. We are certain that the blessing of the Qur’an will help your employees find their hours and minutes at work more expanded and blessed!
Time off to renew spiritual energy
The Prophet (peace be upon him) was known for fasting Mondays and Thursdays. He also recommended fasting on the days of Ahsura and Zul Hijja and also increased his own fasting during the month of Sha’baan.
We wanted our people to remain positive about fasting throughout the year and continue boosting their spirituality from the journey of one Ramadan to the next. We decided to give our people 2 hours off for each day they fasted. The result?
Apart from renewed energy and positivity the entire team renewed their respect and trust to the management for making such a facility available.
Free rides for family during business trips
For many employees, family is their motivation for coming to work each day, which is why extending assistance to family members should be an important part of your work-culture especially when they are travelling out of their hometown. This helps your employees focus on their work while travelling, instead of worrying about their families.
When our people travel for business purposes outside their country, we consider it necessary and practicable for their wife’s and kids to use taxi services to help them conduct a wide variety of daily tasks such as medical activities, home-shopping and school matters from one location to another. This arrangement gives family’s a VIP experience – without having to bear overheads – and also shows them how we truly value our people.
Modelling the new four-day workweek
Every employee desires to control his time. They covet for opportunities which give flexibilities in getting the work done at non-traditional places while balancing stress of being a family provider and maintaining a home.
In 2016, we started experimenting a four-day workweek program to see how it pans out for our people. What we observed was that giving them the flexibility to choose a midweek break or a three-day weekend* or work from home with no commute helped them free up personal time in a meaningful way. Naturally, a four day week schedule gives employees 52 extra days in each year, allowing them the freedom and flexibility to manage their work, recharge and spend more time with their families. This flexi-scheme was formalized** and officially incorporated in 2019 and has greatly helped us reduce stress and increase motivation and engagement.
So, test out your own schedule in a limited trial bases and see if your employees are ready to do more with less!
* as long as the deliverables are managed
**make sure your policy sets ground rules, clear expectations and remedial actions if productivity levels drops
Anniversary and birthday bonanza
Celebrating relationships are an important milestone in married lives, especially for wives. The acknowledgment and celebration of the two special days i.e. anniversary and birthday supports the expectations wives normally have from their husbands.
To help wife’s experience an environment where they know they have a special place in our company. We offer a special present by giving paid day off to their husbands’ on their wedding anniversary and the date of their wife’s birthday.
Making parents feel proud
If you want to gain loyalty of your people then you have to find ways of connecting with their parents and making them feel proud. Simply thanking parents for a wonderful job they have done in raising their children will help build a timeless bond with your organization.
Every year the CEO personally writes to the employees’ parents and shares a specially designed report highlighting our corporate performance and progress towards our goals around the world. This allows us to secure their prayers and help them feel good on their child’s achievements. This practice also helps develop a positive attitude about our company, and then the parent’s positivity cycles back and influences our people.
Balancing work for the newly born
Your organization’s continued success is always dependent upon people performing better at work. That requires you ensuring they are not worrying about home. To help support our people during the most important change in their lives – when they become new fathers – we give them paid time off for 5 working days.
Further, vaccinations can be horrifying so we help new parents transition back to work and take half day off every time they have to visit the hospital for the child’s vaccination. This helps us ensure that they return to work more focused and dedicated.
Congratulatory gift for employee’s wife
Giving gifts at the right moment is an excellent way to show your people that you are invested in them! For any new mom (and dad) the biggest gift is her newly born baby. But we believe that a congratulatory present never hurts especially to the wife’s of your employee’s as it tangibly shows them that your organization cares about them and wants them to be happier.
Upon the delivery of a baby, the wife receives $400 to splurge on items she might not otherwise buy for herself. And this is not a one-time deal: if the wife becomes pregnant again, she gets another $400 baby bonus.
Wedding leaves for the newly married
There are a range of beautiful events which impact the life of your people. And wedding is one those important occasions. It’s a symbol which lays the foundation of love to one’s spouse. To help support this momentous event we give our people two weeks paid wedding leave. We strongly believe that this support helps generate happiness cycles in our people and balances work satisfaction and engagement.
Another beautiful and awe-inspiring occasion is the wedding of your son or daughter. To help our people plan, witness and support this extraordinary transformation we offer our people three paid working days.
Financing medical emergencies for parents
If you truly want to create an amazing sense of belonging in your people then offer support to their ageing parents in unpredictable times of medical needs. This is because a medical emergency can be an unpleasant financial surprise for your people and supporting them in such times helps build a family like bond keeping your people and their parents happy and healthy.
So in time of need, we provide our people with an interest-free loan to support their parent’s medical expenses covering doctor’s fees, medicine bills, hospital stay, procedure and surgery, and other related charges. Our loans have flexible repayment tenures, so that our people don’t have to worry about piling expenses and can gradually repay the loan amount while dealing with a medical emergency.
Supporting the wife of the deceased
Death is an inevitable life event which all of us have to face one day. It’s an ever more devastating time for the family of the deceased. So offering financial assistance to the deceased’s family indicates that your company truly cares for its people.
At our establishment we acknowledge* and mark the loss of our people by financially supporting their wives and children in such a distressing time. The after death financial support** is available for a whole year to the surviving spouses and children of the deceased covering a wide range of expenses from monthly rent to school fees, tuition, electricity bill, house-maid salary, grocery expenses, car loans, personal and parents care.
*we do not consider this as a perk or benefit, instead we consider it as our social responsibility to provide for the family of the person who contributed his time, energy and efforts working for Shariyah Review Bureau.
**our inspiration behind this construct is the following ayah of the Quran, Surah Baqara:240 وَالَّذِينَ يُتَوَفَّوْنَ مِنْكُمْ وَيَذَرُونَ أَزْوَاجًا وَصِيَّةً لِأَزْوَاجِهِمْ مَتَاعًا إِلَى الْحَوْلِ غَيْرَ إِخْرَاجٍ فَإِنْ خَرَجْنَ فَلَا جُنَاحَ عَلَيْكُمْ فِي مَا فَعَلْنَ فِي أَنْفُسِهِنَّ مِنْ مَعْرُوفٍ وَاللَّهُ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيم