Nathan SV, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India, shared his experience when he enrolled for his organisation’s employee community service initiative known as ‘Impact day’, for the first time. He had no clue about what the impact day was all about nor any idea what to expect when he signed up for an old age home, which was in Hyderabad. There, he met an old lady and started a conversation with her. Although Hyderabad is a trilingual place where people speak Telugu, Hindi and English, in this part of the city, Telugu was more prominent. Nathan who hails from Chennai and had been brought up in different parts of the country only knew a few words in Telugu. He asked the old lady ‘How are you?’ in her native language. The woman started sobbing while narrating her story. Since she was speaking in Telugu, Nathan could not understand a word. Therefore, he asked the other women what the old lady was trying to say. Apparently, her son had left her in the old age home, and she felt rather lonely because nobody spoke to her much, as they were not familiar with her language. When Nathan asked her a question in her tongue, she felt overwhelmed!
“We have not measured exactly how much it motivates our employees, but we do encourage them to share their experiences or pen them down. I think that happy employees always give you good results.”
Nathan was bowled over by this experience and was forced to reflect over the time he spent with his own mother and family. This is the kind of experience ‘Ímpact Day’ gives to the employees of the Company, allowing them the opportunity to take back something meaningful with them. When they see their organisation taking such initiatives they feel proud and more connected to their company. “How many companies take the effort to introduce such initiatives?” says Nathan. It is not just money or rewards in monetary terms that matter to employees. When they see their company associated with such activities, they feel more motivated.
Deloitte India launched the Impact Day initiative 16 years back, wherein every year they fix particular days when their employees sign up for different threads in community service, such as imparting education or visiting old-age homes and helping make the world a better place. The initiative aims to drive a purpose into the lives of its employees and encourages them to offer skill-based volunteering to not-for-profit organisations. This initiative takes place across the nation and every single employee volunteers for this activity.
Such steps or initiatives taken by big enterprises are viewed by outsiders with some doubt. They question the attitude and genuineness of the employees, who participate in such activities. People wish to know whether people really care or whether they just play along because their company wants them to. Nathan clarifies that in Deloitte India, the activity is totally voluntary and nobody is forced to participate. Only those really interested get involved.
And do such initiatives help improve the performance of the employees? According to Nathan, such activities do make the employees happy and give them satisfaction. “ There is a project under Impact Day called ‘Put a Smile’, which primarily aims to bring a smile to the faces of other people in the community, but it also brings a smile to the faces of our employees when they help other people in the society,” opines Nathan.
Nathan adds, “We have not measured exactly how much it motivates our employees, but we do encourage them to share their experiences or pen them down. I think that happy employees always give you good results.”
This initiative not only impacts the lives of thousands of people in different communities, but also the employees taking part in it.