Employee engagement goes socially responsible: Zerodha’s flea market


With earnings from its stalls, the company has funded education and upbringing of four underprivileged girls through Action Aid.

People connect better when they share a common purpose and if organisations can design their initiatives around what means the most to people, employee engagement would certainly become more meaningful and efficient. Taking that a step ahead and combining employee engagement with employee social responsibility, Zerodha organised a unique two-day event that brought its entire staff together to reach a common goal beyond business.

The company organised a flea market in association with Action Aid, an international NGO, on June 19 -20 at its office in Bengaluru. As a unique element of the initiative, some of the employees worked in groups to put up stalls selling different hand-made and home-made items. The objective of the initiative was to bring together people to voluntarily work in groups, engaging in activities they like, showcasing skills and lastly, supporting a social cause.

The employees shared their earnings from the stalls with Action Aid’s Girl Education initiative, and the company contributed an equal amount to the cause. With the earnings from the 15 stalls that were put up, the company has funded the education and upbringing of four underprivileged girls through Action Aid.

The event saw a gathering of about 600 employees and their families and friends, who came together to support the cause. Hanan Delvi, chief people officer, Zerodha shares that employees displayed great enthusiasm about the initiative as it was a platform for them to showcase their hidden skills.

“The first edition of the Flea market was a huge success and all credit goes to our employees — the way they came in large numbers and participated. We are planning to associate with Action Aid on a regular basis and contribute to the good cause by doing Flea market every quarter,” he says.

A well-motivated and cohesive workforce is essential for any growing company, and for Zerodha the flea market seems to one such initiative that helps achieve the purpose as it is a great team building exercise with a good cause attached to it. Such activities also appeal more to the workforces of the day.

A 2012 survey revealed that employees now seek a sense of pride and fulfilment from their work – having a purpose makes them feel happy and satisfied. More than half the respondents in the survey said they wanted a job where they can make an impact.
Moreover, a research conducted by Cone Millennial Cause group, detailed in The 2020 Workplace, found that 80 percent of a sample of 1,800 people in the 13-25 age group wanted to work for a company that cares about how it impacts and contributes to society.

Zerodha’s flea market was a satisfying experience for its 600 employees and their friends and well-wishers who also came to support the event.

Vimal K, a software developer who participated in the stalls, says, “It was a different experience. We usually build things and let others sell it. But for the first time, we were the seller and most importantly, contributing for Beti Bachao.”

Another employee, Vishnu Sudhakaran cherishes the opportunity to be able to do some fun business and something good for the society at the same time.

Such initiatives go a long way in bringing people together, not just to enhance team spirit but to contribute to society in a collaborative manner. As Delvi concludes, “We as an organisation are growing fast and always believe in having a cohesive workforce. Our main focus for internal communication is employee engagement. Flea market is one such initiative that helps in achieving that and we plan to continue doing it.”

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