Bengaluru-based Parinaam Foundation operates in 20 states and has regional offices in Pune, Delhi and Kolkata. Executive director Mallika Ghosh, who joined the organization in 2010, spoke in an interview about the work culture at the non-governmental organization (NGO). Edited excerpts:

How do you measure employee happiness?

Great Place to Work survey, that’s our system. We have appraisal mid/annual year. Both involve supervisor feedback as well as employee feedback. They give us what they have achieved versus what they haven’t, and how they feel about it. This year we also conducted an online survey with some simple basic questions. It was an anonymous survey, so people could be honest about it and analyse the results.

What are the challenges Parinaam faces?

Building a strong and committed long-term team is a strong challenge. I have been working on this for three years. One of the strong reasons for employees to stick around would be if the organization is a leader in its sector. Second is the salary, how well they are incentivized. So this is something very difficult to do and keep them satisfied in the NGO sector.

Not that I think we pay them less against any other industry, but we will definitely be one of the most underpaying industries. One more is the challenge of getting funds and giving them long-term sustainable jobs... Scaling up is another we have to maintain the quality of our programmes.

What do you think makes Parinaam a great place to work in?

According to the survey and what I see, it is the impact our work has on the people we work with. A lot of people feel really very, very strongly about what they are doing and what they are addressing, and how they are making India better.

That is the strongest reason why they continue to be with Parinaam. That being said, that would be in most NGOs because this is what they do. The other thing our employees really love about Parinaam is how we set it up so professionally, the appraisals, the benefits, the salary on time, the innovation and how they can challenge themselves at work. This is the thing we need to achieve and the ability to do it, which is rare. That’s what drew me to Parinaam.