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As good as it gets

`Vision retreats' help techies to recharge themselves


BORING BOARDROOM meetings may soon be history. Enter new-age business strategy meetings or `vision retreats' - in corporate parlance - that are held in the lap of nature or in resorts tucked away in remote corners of the earth.

In what could be a pleasant deviation from the monotony of the carpeted corporate corridors, HR honchos are now prescribing weekend meetings away from the stress and strain of the corporate environment to recharge, motivate and inspire employees. "And if such a setting can be used for an official meet, it will help induce cohesion and most certainly boost up productivity," says HR manager, Saroj Philippe.

A Microsoft-team recently had a work-and-play executive-retreat in Dubai where meetings were held in the beach with waves reaching up to the feet and seagulls flying overhead to keep them company. Much the same way as Satyam employees lapped up the fun at the expansive Ramoji Film City where a techie troop gathered for the company's annual `open-mind' business summit, sometime ago.

"It is a marriage of work and fun in meetings which are held outside office," says HR professional, Malini Nanaiah. Not only does such an exercise combine the pleasure of a cool getaway, it also mixes serious business and brainstorming sessions without the workplace frills. "An out-of-office situation inspires better ideas and seems to yield amazing results," concurs Satyam Corporate Communications manager, Ramnath Peddinti.

While the dynamics of a corporate getaway works in a two-dimensional way, with employers looking for better output and employees seeking their emotional fulfilment, it is needless to add that the retreat almost naturally replenishes the team of people and inspires reflection. "All this translates into more creative solutions as there is both business and bonhomie in the `vision retreats'," observes call centre manager, Oyundrila Roy.

According to her, employees feel appreciated and it creates a sense of belongingness while adding up to the quotient of job satisfaction. "Besides, attrition levels are checked significantly," she adds.

Discussions on targets or sales figures should be unhurried, and should preferably be held after the employees have had their fill of enjoyment.

"If goals have not been met, the team will be responsive after such an exercise to try and get as close as possible to the expected target rate. It almost always results in positive changes in most employees," assures regional manager Tata Consultancy Services, Rajesh Nambiar.

Like a certain multi-national that had its quarterly appraisal for employees (an all-expenses paid trip) on a cruise liner, following which there was a marked increase in output by nearly 15 per cent, even as the error rate came down significantly.

For those inside the temples of IT, it just seems to get better all the time!

SOUVIK CHOWDHURY

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