Article (May-2021)


Story of Zoya- From engagement to transformation

Shikha Verma

Designation : -   HR Professional

Organization : -  


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Can employee engagement be realistic? Or it is just some fancy name and swanky pictures and videos? Is it self-sustaining? How do you engage employees and leaders in it? Does it lead to any transformation ever? Let's see how many of you have managed a challenge to "positively engage" young employees! Here is an experiential journey of Zoya from Engagement to Transformation.

In my normal hush-hush day one call from Mr. Sundar Nagar, Head R&D department stopped my nerves for a while. He asked me for a quick meeting with Zoya's personnel file. We discussed her case for next one hour.

Zoya joined her first job with us with lots of zeal and enthusiasm. She was a high scorer with positive sense of the situation. She got selected from campus. With extremely supportive seniors, she started performing extremely well in the department. She was the first fresher who got confirmed in six months' time due to her remarkable performance, breakthrough ideas and initiatives. She was identified as one of the high pots if she will adapt so well with the culture and surroundings of the organisation. Just after eight months of joining her behaviour was showing drastic change with downfall in performance. She started missing mails, responding late, went into silence, ignorance and showing up late to office. Attending meetings in a hurry, avoiding participation into projects, CFTs, and get-togethers.

It took another week and few observations to figure out that she has become a victim of drug abuse. Private alcohol parties and drug addiction was deadly for her career and personal growth. It was shocking and sad to observe this happening to a bright champ.

When she was called to discuss her performance and health concern, she agreed hesitantly that she has been to all this and unable to find support to move in her dream direction. Though she was working with a MNC, the area was remote and had extremely limited post work social life. She was happy with her organisation and job. Coaching came handy and we could together explore the ways to engage at work and post work. As she was deeply passionate for music (she plays keyboard & guitar).

Combining other exit feedbacks and her case we also realized that about 38% of them were facing similar challenges. They are comparatively younger than the lateral hired employees, single, energetic, mostly free after office hours, have no money issues.

The solutions from Zoya's case not only helped in transforming her life, it also helped HR team to find appreciative solutions for the engagement of the freshers and creating collective culture.

Zoya came up with a solution to lead Music Band as a project. The initiative was joined by many freshers and youngsters from the organisation. The best thing was when her room partner too signed in for it. With all the necessary essentials, safety precautions and small investment by the organisation, started the Sports & Hobby Clubs within the plant premises to involve the like-minded people to relish & enjoy their passion. These clubs are "Self-Sustainable" charging a minimum amount from the members. The engagement club nowhas a substantial active participation from leaders too. It has sponsors, collective events at organisation level, regional level, and national level. The participation level has gone to social activities like organizing short tours, cooking classes, cycling group, Durga Puja celebrations.

More than an initiative, it has helped transform Zoya's life and 85 like minded people are on the journey of positive engagement. I am glad that all the questions of employee engagement have been well addressed in this journey.

Shikha Verma - HR Professional