ENGAGING WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES, SPORTS WAY

  • BY ASIF M D HAJRA
  • Publish Date: Sep 17 2018 3:13AM
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  • Updated Date: Sep 17 2018 3:13AM
ENGAGING WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES, SPORTS WAYFile Photo

Wake up and - Oh My God! Kids are going to miss the bus today. Somehow, we are able to manage helping them board the school bus and then - one more run to the office. At times, the pants remain half-zipped. On the way, you have another demon – Rambagh flyover /Aavraen crossing/ TRC crossing / Dalgate crossing (depending on which direction you enter the city). At last, back to square one we are, with whatever we left the other night. It is another working day in the office. 

In today’s corporate environment, employees spend more time at work than they do with their families. Going back in time, I remember working for one of the best private sector banks in the country in mid 2000s. The bank was new to the state’s people. So were the people (both within and outside) to the bank. Employee performance was measured only in terms of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and KPIs meant numbers only.

I would leave office around 11 p.m. and be there at 9 a.m. the next day. Imagine! A bridegroom of 3 days – in the mid-day I get a call to attend a preferred client interested to invest in mutual funds.  How would have the bride felt? (In retaliation, she left for picnic with her cousin without inviting me another day. Was that tit-for-tat?). 

Personally, for fathering twins I felt like a macho (as once my boss commented), but on sales, it was only SIPs (Systematic Investment Plans). Neither was I a good salesman nor my boss a philanthropist. Moreover, I never felt engaged with the bank.  With no bonus / promotion after 2 consecutive appraisals, I, at the first instance thought “this is not fair”, but then I would realize that corporates meant business. 

KPIs meant numbers and performance appraisal was all about number crunching.  It was prudent not to politicize my underperformance by publicizing it (as a few have done recently), rather I did SWOT analysis of my own self. I simply quit! 

Be them in the government or private sector, albeit varying nature and intensity, all employees face work-related stress, a corollary to which is job dissatisfaction which in turn leads to attrition / high employee turnover.  

Over the years research has established that companies with comprehensive employee engagement programmes have lesser employee turnover and also outperform (on profitability) those without it. 

In tandem with the global developments, HDFC Bank - one of the best private sector banks – is running its employee engagement programme ‘Josh Unlimited’, 7th edition of which was flagged–off from Srinagar, J&K on 2nd September, 2018. 

One of the largest employee engagement events, ‘Josh Unlimited’ is an annual sports event conducted by the bank for its employees in multiple cities. The idea behind this event is to give a day off to the employees from their daily workload and let them enjoy Sports Day full of energy. The event moves from city to city and culminates with a grand finale, where winners from different locations compete for the national trophy. 

On its ‘Josh Unlimited’ programme, Naina Panse, Head - Employee Engagement, HDFC Bank, says: “As a socially responsible corporate, we believe in encouraging our employees to pursue different form of sport. Josh Unlimited is one such platform in the bank where employees get together and compete across various sporting disciplines.  Every Josh event also becomes a place for employees and their families to meet and interact with each other outside the office environment. This we believe also fosters team spirit and camaraderie. In its 7th year, the annual sporting event of HDFC Bank has grown in scale, both in terms of participation and the locations." 

Josh Unlimited is offering a platform for the bank employees to compete in 10 sporting disciplines including cricket, football, badminton, athletics, carom, chess, volleyball, Lagori, kho-kho, and table tennis. Covering 10 cities in the year of inception (2011), this year the bank intends to conduct the competition in 29 cities across India and is expected to reach more than 63,000 employees of the bank. 

Over the last seven years, the event has evinced a favourable response from employees and this year, the bank expects around 20,000 active participants along with their families across 29 cities.

Zubair Iqbal (Senior Vice President and Circle Head) who played a crucial role in making HDFC Bank a success in the state says, “While ‘Josh Unlimited’ was started by the bank in 2011, it was introduced in J&K in the second year of its inception i.e. 2012 and since then our circle has participated in all sports events every year. In fact in 2014, our cricket team had the privilege to win the grand finale by defeating the mighty Bangalore. Within HDFC Bank, be it business or sports, J&K team has always proved to be among the best in the country.” 

Regarding the impact of ‘Josh’ event on the employees of the Bank, he expressed “Josh Unlimited rejuvenates my J&K team. This one-day team event highlights the importance of team work – the fact that no individual matters. At the end of Josh Sports day, I see the employees recharged with a new glow on their faces. Above all, ‘Josh Unlimited’ symbolizes camaraderie.”                 

Majid Rizvi, Branch Manager, HDFC Bank’s Hari Singh High Street branch, comments that introduction of ‘Josh Unlimited’ event in the state of J&K was made possible due to the efforts of the present Zonal Head Zubair Iqbal, who in 2012, convinced the bank’s top management to start it in J&K, and since then it has been running successfully. 

“Josh helps us to inculcate essence of team work, makes us mentally tough and infuses the spirit of fighting till the last moment”, says Majid with a smile on his face.         

Another employee Khalid Khan having joined HDFC Bank as Management Trainee in 2011, was part of J&K circle’s grand finale winning team in 2014 and has participated in all editions of ‘Josh Unlimited’ since 2012 in cricket and football. Khalid who has risen to the position of Brach Manager within a span of 7 years has this to say, “Josh is not only about sports. It is about competition both within the branch and with other branches. Since on every working day we have to compete with other branches for business, this event presents another opportunity to compete through a different skill-set. Josh helps us to express ourselves, to exhibit our sporting skills.”

Apart from the employees of the bank, Josh Unlimited presents a platform for the families – females, kids, grandparents - of the Banks’ employees to get together, interact and have fun. In exchange, the participants get the much needed audience and supporters to add more intensity to the surroundings. 

“Josh Unlimited is an exciting event which has helped to discover myself. I had never participated in any sports event in life before Josh 2018. All of a sudden I have discovered an athlete in myself. It is thrilling to know that I can play Lagori (Garmas in Kashmiri – an outdoor game involving a ball and a pile of flat stones) well”, boasts ambitious Saba Rizvi, who is enjoying her second stint with HDFC Bank as authorizer.  

Whatever be the cumulative performance on KPIs till the penultimate day, this employee engagement event rejuvenates the employees of HDFC Bank. 

For HDFC Bank employees, ‘Josh Unlimited’ is simply recharging!