PLAY­ING IT

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

in­vest­ing in things and pro­cesses that can fetch quick re­sults or sim­ply trans­late into bet­ter ef­fi­cien­cies,” says Tushar Joshi who heads Hun­dred Per­cent Pub­lic Re­la­tions, a firm in Pune that has a national reach. For an off­site to trans­late into value, it has to be pre­ceded with a wellthought-out set of ob­jec­tives and con­ducted in the right man­ner.

Joshi ex­plains, “Be­fore se­lect­ing the place and de­cid­ing on the bud­get, the CEO or the plan­ning team should first de­ter­mine the goal of the off­site. If there is no clar­ity on what the off­site is in­tended to achieve, (or even if there are mixed views), it is bound to be an un­pro­duc­tive ex­pen­di­ture. Se­condly, it is not just enough to pre­de­ter­mine the goals. It is im­per­a­tive to cite mea­sur­able pa­ram­e­ters for each goal. For in­stance, team build­ing might be one goal. In this case the se­nior man­age­ment con­duct­ing the off­site has to ask them­selves, ‘What does team build­ing re­ally mean in terms of our or­gan­i­sa­tion? What spe­cific mea­sur­able be­hav­iours do we want from our team?’ If the an­swer is aligned to strate­gic ob­jec­tives, there should be clar­ity and di­rec­tion in terms of the met­rics to mea­sure this align­ment.”

For an off­site to be ef­fec­tive, the learn­ings have to be im­ple­mented al­most im­me­di­ately. Says Bharat Kumar, CEO of Bharat Head­hunters Pri­vate Limited, “If peo­ple do not im­me­di­ately ap­ply their learn­ings from an off­site (in their day-to-day work), they are very likely to for­get what they learnt. In other words, in or­der to cap­ture an off­site’s re­turn on in­vest­ment, a fol­low-up is absolutely crit­i­cal. Con­se­quently, the man­age- ment needs to have a proper plan in place to im­ple­ment the out­comes of the off­site. Also, em­ploy­ees should be pro­vided the nec­es­sary tools that will help to trans­fer their learn­ings into tan­gi­ble out­comes.” An off­site also re­quires a sea­soned fa­cil­i­ta­tor. “It helps to have a fa­cil­i­ta­tor who has dealt with the same is­sues that are be­ing ad­dressed at your off­site,” ob­serves Kumar.

So much so for the busi­ness ra­tio­nale of off­sites. But are or­gan­i­sa­tions con­strict­ing their bud­gets in com­par­i­son to pre­vi­ous years? “The an­swer is both yes and no,” says Kumar. “In any case com­pa­nies hold off­sites in places where they can book ho­tels at cheap dis­counted rates (of­ten tak­ing ad­van­tage of off­sea­son deals). This trend is con­tin­u­ing this year. But yes, to­day, un­like be­fore, many or­gan­i­sa­tions are con­duct­ing off­sites for smaller groups of em­ploy­ees. In other words, in­stead of tak­ing the en­tire cor­po­rate fra­ter­nity for an off­site, the fo­cus to­day is on tak­ing a few de­part­ments or just the peo­ple at the man­age­ment rung,” he adds.

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