What a rollercoaster of events it’s been!
It’s funny how I felt the need for being engaged at work through my own experience of working in a corporate environment. It gave me the push to take a leap of faith and go out there, try to make a change in the corporate world. Starting off my employee engagement ideas in a café with a powerful team of two, conducting professional workshops and ultimately stepping foot in the corporate world has grown the number of happy faces along the way with a 75-strong clientele today. Having worked in the employee engagement sector for over 7 years, it’s been a visual delight watching employees from corporate firms across sectors jump with joy, cheer their co-workers on or even lie down on the floor like children! This journey has been nothing short of excitement & innovation with out-of-the-box brainstorming and an energetic, enthusiastic team.
Why entrepreneurship and employee engagement?
Entrepreneurship, for me, has always been a passion – to conquer the world, make a change and leave a mark. At the same time, I wanted to bridge this gap of dissatisfaction or disengagement experienced by employees. Going by Mark Twain’s popular saying, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started!”, we kickstarted our engaging corporate events with Vodafone back in 2013. As the founder of ExtraMile, in order to build maximum engagement at the workplace, it was essential to introduce ‘Brainstorming Fridays’ for our expert creative minds, which are constantly brimming with fresh ideas.
It makes it all worth it when you see the employees and their smiling faces at the end of each event. If I look back at all our events till date, I’d say the most memorable one was watching the employees of Google India build ‘Wheels of Hope’ – a race to gather spare parts, leading to the construction of wheelchairs for residents of an old-age home. It was a magical experience to see the employees touched with the sentiment of those who could now enjoy the freedom of being mobile thanks to this initiative!
To effectively contribute to better workplaces and keep up with the ever-evolving trends of the digital era, we introduced several digital engagements as an all-in-one solution to connect with employees across boundaries and build active participation, learning through play and so on. If you ask me, leading the industry becomes less difficult when we give more solutions like experiential learning, gamification, calendar events and virtual team building, all while having FUN together!
The roadblocks to success…
We all know how important it is to maintain a work-life balance to progress as an individual and as a business owner. This is a challenge, with the pressure on some days, the workload, the responsibilities and the timings – the work truly never ends. Having said that, the role of an entrepreneur is something I’ve always been passionate about and can never trade it for anything. It’s who I am and what made me the person I am today.
As an employee engagement advisor, I try to maintain an engaging environment for my own employees as well. In my business, I’m a Founder, a leader, the main position of authority and the biggest decision maker. Although it gets conflicting and poses extremely difficult situations sometimes, I take it as a learning experience because that’s what an entrepreneur’s journey is all about!
The employees are, in essence, your internal customers and vendors and agencies associated with the firm are your primary audience. These stakeholders have multiple requirements/expectations and it’s important to take this head-on as a challenge. Externally as well, the media, market players and your ultimate customers (corporates) and their customers – no road to success come without hiccups! The trick is to wave through this and continue on strongly with the journey.
The writer is Pooja Bajaj Chadha, Founder & CEO, ExtraMile (Views Are Personal)