Help others and give something back. I guarantee you will discover that while public service improves the lives and the world around you, its greatest reward is the enrichment and new meaning it will bring your own life.
A few days back, around the festive Diwali season, I met with a colleague and his family. Our colleague was the proud father of a newborn. As I drove back home, moving at a snail's pace through the infamous Bengaluru traffic, a series of events raced through my mind.
The very same colleague had been suffering from a very serious rare disease and was desperately looking for an organ donor (cadaver). His wife was pregnant with their first child. The cost of the total operation was well over his annual salary. The family was under duress.
The organization, too, did it's bit to help with the expenses, and also negotiated a bit more with the medical insurance company. Nevertheless, the financial needs hadn't been completely met with.
Some of his colleagues wanted to garner support from the employees within the organization. In situations such as this, many of us tend to inhibit ourselves: Questions, and valid ones at that, arise. These include questions such as "Are we doing the right thing?" "Should we really get involved?" "Are we setting a precedent here?" "Should we reach out to all the fellow employees or just his team members?", and so on.
One of the answers to that was yet another question: "What is the cost of NOT helping?" Needless to say, it was a very serious matter impacting the life of not just one person, but that of the entire family. They decided to take the 1st step and even if they had managed to get just a few drops of support, it would still matter.
As a result, a few colleagues got together, and spread the word. Within three days, many others stepped forward to help out financially. This included, by far, people who didn't even know their fellow colleague. The family was completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of support that poured in. The boost to their morale was simply amazing.
A few weeks later, our colleague found a cadaver, the organ transplant was a success. Later, and they also had their 1st child, resulting in one very happy family.
The most important lesson for me was that there are folks who'd like to make a positive difference to other people's lives. If an organization, and especially its leaders, are effective in harnessing this and provides the required climate, support & governance, employee solidarity can go a long way not just in Corporate Social Responsibility but also in strengthening employee engagement & satisfaction.
So how is this possible? How can organizations inculcate a feeling of belonging in the employees, not just among themselves, but with the organization? I guess that organizations that have leadership that is trusted, that actively demonstrate trust in employees, & have a sound organizational culture, combined with effective HR policies, shall reach this goal.