Upskilling is fundamental for employee growth: Ronnie Screwvala, Founder, Swades Foundation

Over 4,000 hours of online training has been conducted for over 1997 participants on well-being, skill enhancement and programmatic knowledge building for employees from April 2020 till Mid Aug 2020.

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Swades Foundation is certified as a Great Place to Work for the period August 2020 to July 2021, as a result of their initiatives for the well-being and holistic development of its employees. Considered the ‘Gold Standard’ in workplace culture assessment, Great Place to Work® identifies best workplaces solely basis and quality of people practices and employee feedback in the organization. The certification is based on the result of an anonymous employee survey conducted by an external party to ensure an unbiased and uninfluenced result.

When Mr. Ronnie and Ms. Zarina Screwvala expanded the work of Swades Foundation in 2013, their vision was to create a permanent, irreversible change in the lives of 1 million people in rural India in the next 5-6 years. And the key to the execution of this vision lay in their small but strong team of employees.

As of 2017, the attrition rate of the foundation stood at 38.8%, which has now been brought down to 12.9% as of March 2020. A survey conducted among all the resigned employees revealed that the major reason for the high attrition rate was the lack of opportunities for the employees to be a part of the unique 360-degree development model that the foundation is known for. This indicated that they wanted to work in multiple verticals of the foundation, namely- Education, Water & Sanitation, Health & Nutrition and Economic Development and not just be restricted to the vertical and job role they were hired into. This problem was identified, and this also tied in with what the management was planning to do – the 360-degree approach of work. This led to the introduction of the 360 degree model where employees from different verticals were trained on the 360 degree approach and each employee was paired up with a buddy for the first few months to support each other through this transition and to enhance their skills and broaden their scope of work.

From April’20 till Mid Aug’20 – over 4,000 hours of online training has been conducted for over 1997 participants on well-being, skill enhancement and programmatic knowledge building for employees. Online employee engagement activities and mental health care sessions are also conducted on a regular basis.

Ronnie Screwvala, Founder and MD, Swades Foundation said, “We are thrilled to have Swades Foundation certified as a Great Place to Work. Upskilling of our employees within the organization has been and will continue to be one of our key focus areas to encourage their growth and potential. We are grateful to have a strong team who are aligned with the broader vision of the foundation.”

Rahul Katariya, HR Director, Swades Foundation commented, “An imperative to ensure employee satisfaction is providing an environment of transparency where the employees can approach the leadership and discuss growth and learning opportunities.” Before the onset of Covid-19, the founders and entire leadership team along with HR team of the foundation carried out weekly visits to Raigad to interact with the on-field team and sort out any concerns they may have. These interactions are now conducted without fail over VC due to the coronavirus pandemic. A designated sports and cultural committee organize the Annual Sports Day and the Reward and Recognition programs (R&R) to appreciate the efforts and boost morale levels of the employees.