Friday, October 24, 2014

How to do employee engagement when your organisation does not have enough opportunity - Lesson from a TV serial FIR

Employee engagement is not just about celebrating festivals, organising various programme and so on. It is beyond that. Purpose of writing this article is not giving you theory and definition of Employee Engagement, rather, taking a case of a Television Serial FIR, telecasted on Sony Entertainment India's channel SAB TV. 

An "engaged employee" is one who is fully absorbed by and enthusiastic about their work and so takes positive action to further the organization's reputation and interests.So, as an HR, our focus about every employee engagement activities should be revolved around:

1. How to create an environment where an employee enjoy his/ her task and assignment.
2. How the employee feel to stay more with the organisation.
3. How the employee becomes more productive and positive towards the work he/ she is doing. 

I have taken the case after carefully observation. I do not spend lot of time on watching TV serials in leisure, however, sometime I watch this one. 

F.I.R. is an Indian television sitcom first shown on July 31, 2006, on SAB TV. The show.and is being broadcast Saturday and Sunday nights. The sitcom was nominated for the Best Sitcom category at the Indian Telly Awards in 2009. The sitcom is set in a police station.

Plot summary:
F.I.R. is an acronym for First Information Report that the Indian police prepares for each case to be investigated.
FIR is a situational comedy serial centered on a Haryanvi female police officer named Chandramukhi Chautala and her three subordinates, head constable Gopinath Gandothra, constable Mulayam Singh Gulgule and constable Billu. The show depicts their lives as they try to solve every case which comes to Imaan Chowki .
New cases come to the police station in every episode. An individual or a group come with a complaint or a problem. The problem generally has nothing to do with police. It may be a case of love, divorce, snoring, or bad cooking. Chandramukhi Chautala and her constables solve the case successfully though the case has nothing to do with their official duties as police officers.

The show took a 20 year leap when Kavita Kaushik, who played the lead role, departed from the show and introduced Chitrashi Rawat as Chandramukhi's daughter, Jwalamukhi Chautala. The changes were reverted on 8 July' 2013 and the incidents occurring in the 20 year leap were converted into constable Gopi's dream and the show then continued along with Chandramukhi Chautala's return.



Image of Kavita Kaushik
credit: wikipedia.com

The case of Kavita Kaushik moving in and out of FIR
There was various news report claiming that she was getting bored from the same role she had been playing for years, in the role of police inspector, she did not have so much interesting to offer and she had been feeling that she is captured in a specific image, thus, the character of Inspector Chandramukhi Chautala was becoming her identity. She wanted to be known for her different role.The same monotonous role was not motivating her and she finally decided to quit. The production house also doubled her remuneration but finally, it also did not work well and finally she quitted her role. However, after few episodes, she again returned to the show however, we could see many differences in the show it includes:
1. She had been given opportunities to act multiple roles. 
2. Beyond the role of inspector Chandramukhi Chautala, while handling the case, she got opportunity to play different roles and responsibilities. 
After returning to the show, she praised that only in FIR she could get so many opportunities. She has also started her facebook fan page where, she is posting her different pictures, possibly an "image creation". 

The case of FIR and similar dilemma of many SMEs (Small and medium enterprises)
if you look into the above case, you will find that unless you engage your workforce, you are not going to get the result you want. You may need to double their wages to retain them but still you may not be able to hold them back in the organisation. If the employee is a star performer, you cannot afford to loose them. Here, FIR tried to replace the artist with the new one but that did not work. The viewership dropped and finally they had to call her back on the show. In TV serial, success depends on a single character and if it changes, people do not accept it. It is like an addiction, you are addicted to something, you cannot change. Finally, we saw her comeback in the serial and change in the character too. In every episode, she is handling a case where she is changing her role and get up according to the story. This has helped her to do different roles and responsibilities by working for the same serial. 
Many SMEs including MNCs face this dilemma. They need people to run the business, but their workforce is small. People join in the initially with lot of enthusiasm, the organisation has good culture, good pay package, good atmosphere to work, safe job and so on. There are employees who do not care about their job content. They are incompetent, outdated and do only the bit require to survive in their job and even do not hesitate to play dirty politics and in halo effect. But, there are employees who really want to learn and grow. Unfortunately, many organisation do not care about it and they loose potentially a good performer and employee. 
How to tackle the situation then?
1. Every year look into job description of the individual and find out the way to enrich their job description.
2. Allow them to provide consulting services to external organisation where they can use their expertise.
3. Use MOOC, conferences, webinar, seminars extensively and encourage your employees to participate in the same. Thi upgrade their knowledge and skills. 
4. Find out return on cost investment of the employees. You may have an employee working for more than a decade but doing the same work. The cost of the employees might have increased significantly but not the value addition. You may find another replacement at the 1/4th of the cost and the employee is not adding any value. In that case, you strategically need to create a backup and ask the employee to look for better opportunities. 
5. Speak to your global offices and find out whether your employees can be moved to the global role. May be for a short term, may be for a longer term. This encourage other employees too. This will encourage and motivate other employees to perform well.
6. Allow employees to do cross functional work but without affecting other's authority. If an employee want to move from one function to other, let them do it. Believe me, this works. We had an employee who moved from one function to other every year and she was with the organisation for more than 6 years. Today, when average 2 years services is considered as a good stay, 6 years becomes excellent. 
7. Stay in touch with other group companies or a sister concern. They might need help in a specific function but do not need a full time employee. Let your employee manage their site. This will engage your employee and due to cost sharing, it may cut down the cost. You may also opt for staff exchange programme. 
Above serial is a good example of doing employee engagement when you have monotonous job I hope you enjoyed this article. all correction, suggestion and queries are welcome. 
Wish you a very happy Deepawali.

Govind
Mumbai
October 24, 2014

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