If one could ignore the deafening decibel levels of electioneering in Delhi, the trend that emerged was unmistakable. All political parties were trying to ‘out-shout’ each other to grab the attention of one particular constituency – that of the Common Man. The aam (common) was certainly the flavour of the month. While this is true of every election fought till date, this time the offerings brought to the table were more khaas (special) than ever before. In attempts to outbid each other, candidates of all hues were promising not only the earth, but the sun and the moon too. Not only direct access to decision makers, but a direct role in the decision making process. Not only has the right to interact with regulators, but having a say in their selection processed too.
These are basic tenets of democracy and should be embedded in any system that governs an organic entity — an institution, a corporate body or a country. However, very few actually put these into practice. The Tata Power Group is one of the rare ones which do. “We constantly encourage our employees to engage with the communities we serve. From working in the domains of education, health, employment to infrastructure development and sustainability – corporate social responsibility is embedded in our founding principles and put into practice daily ,” says Mr. K K Sharma ( ED &CEO, CGPL) CGPL) a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power Company.
No wonder, therefore, Tata Engage, an ‘Employee Volunteering’ programme is treated as a ‘top priority’ issue by the Tata Power Management. In practice since 2008, the programme is monitored in the Website Volunteering System. Hundreds of staffers have joined in since then. The company has also come up with a booklet on Volunteering Guidelines which states “Any giving by an employee for public good including time, skill and other resources is known as Volunteering.” The Guidelines are applicable to all current and retired employees irrespective of organisational hierarchy, social and economic backgrounds. In fact, it takes pride in highlighting the diversity of situations in which the ‘givers’ live and work, and are yet driven by the same passion to contribute. In the first phase, the Guidelines are applicable to the Tata Power workforce only.
CGPL places great emphasis on Employee Volunteering. Staff members are encouraged to choose services that match their own ability and interest. They also participate in company driven Community Relations (CR) programmes on vital issues concerning development. Employees are constantly motivated and rewarded for their contribution. They are assessed on the basis of the agenda chosen, leadership displayed, and impact recorded. The Company also organises activities of its own on any one day of a week, during office hours for half a day or the entire day.
Exactly a year ago, the initiative received a significant boost, when the Company unveiled the Tata Engage website. The site provides a platform for the volunteers to share experiences, to upload stories, videos and photographs. “Our mandate is to create a lively, interactive online community, buzzing with success stories and finding solutions for the not-so-successful ones. We hope to draw in more and more of our colleagues and their families into the fold in this way,” explains a CGPL staff.
Tata Engage has something to offer to all its users. For the employee volunteers it is a place to meet new people and gain new perspectives on community development. For the Company the information assembled here is even more precious. Recorded instances of the good work put in by the Volunteers and its impact on the communities living around its plants and offices, generates a sense of good will and camaraderie. This again is of unmatched value in the business of maintaining a stable and peaceful work environment. Also online interaction empowers the Company’s non-profit partners to reach out to a larger number of people. “We continuously ask ourselves how we can improve our practices which will lead to inclusive and participatory growth and development,” says Mr. K K Sharma ( ED & CEO, CGPL) Well, so far he and his team have an unblemished track record of zeroing in on the correct answers only.