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Bonds and ties through Karma Yatra
[November 16, 2006]

Bonds and ties through Karma Yatra

(Ecomonic Times, The (India) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Nov. 13--BANGALORE, India -- Cheering, cat-calls and whistles are not what you would normally associate with employee relationship management (ERM) processes. But for the 100-odd employees of i-Vantage, the 'Karma Yatra' they undertook in August this year with their children and wives/girlfriends, the bonding initiative with the company proved to be an unforgettable experience.

An innovative ERM process designed by Hyderabad-based Ayush Maheshwari, Karma Yatra (registered in his name) helps company employees "discover their true potential and empowers them to create enduring bonds with their companies, families and society". Interestingly, it's aimed at increasing communication and productivity while lowering attrition in the workplace.

"The biggest benefit of Karma Yatra was in terms of boosting employee morale and bonding with each other. During the six weeks of activity when we took up this initiative, the routine stress associated with all our jobs was put on the backburner. ERM is a continuous process and we need to continue to tap the positive energy the event generated.

Whether it can directly rein in attrition or not, what is important is the employees got to bond well with the company," says Rajesh Agarwal, chairman & CEO, i-Vantage. Other firms which have gained from Mr Maheshwari's initiative include Oracle, St Croix Systems, ADP, Acuma, GNC, iMart and Auto Mart Style.

"Leading companies tend to be stressed out on several initiatives, but their focus must be on connecting with their biggest assets -- Yatris (employees).

After considerable research, Karma Yatra took shape and was launched with an understanding and assimilation of the Yatri's needs for a concept that would ensure 100 percent participation from all company employees -- chaprasis to CEOs -- to discover the hidden potential and talent in a fun-filled atmosphere," Mr Maheshwari explains.

An IT graduate from Marquette University in the US, Mr Maheshwari aka 'Big Indian' was the youngest director of ADP DS at 23 -- a division of the Fortune 200 ADP. Deeply impressed by Oprah Winfrey, the Big Indian is trying to rope in Ms Winfrey to endorse his ERM initiative.

The Karma Triangle is a three-pronged approach embracing 'Karma Kaam' (the workplace), 'Karma Nivas' (the home) and 'Karma Bhoomi' (society). The guiding principles of Karma Yatra are team spirit, identification of common goals, taking responsibility for one's actions and family involvement at the work place. It entails Yatris to live a more fulfilling professional and personal life.

Says Avaneep Chaudhary, software engineer, Auto Style Mart, a Karma Yatra participant: "Despite being in a relatively small set-up, I did not know most of my colleagues who were involved in different projects. After working with mixed teams and rehearsing with them for Karma Yatra events, we now bond well within and outside office."

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