Feel burnt out Try to laugh it out

Updated: May 28 2006, 05:30am hrs
Call it asset management if you must, for employees are nothing but indispensable assets for an organisation. Corporates are increasingly relying on workshops to polish their assets for team building, leadership, motivation and stress management to boost their employee motivation, morale and creativity.

The training sessions and workshops are not just limited to lectures anymore. Several new techniques like laughter therapy and firewalking are redefining corporate workshops. Take, for instance, firewalking. Sharad Talwar, an ex-IIT/IIM student working with an MNC, recalls his firewalk experience, I have started operating at a completely different level in terms of my potential. I have changed as a person. Difficult situations have suddenly become easier to handle.

The trend of firewalking is fast catching up with corporates in India because it helps in coping with stressful situations at work and psychological problems like low self-esteem, depression and phobias.

Other motivational tools include using mind power to bend a spoon and even breaking hard boards. There are different tools for various levels. For instance, for the top management it is to redefine their leadership roles and for entry-level employees it is to boost team building.

Says Anuj Khare, a coach with Appin Empowerment Solutions, a manpower training company, We have held these workshops for HCL, Power Grid and Bhel among others. External corporate training is believed to be very helpful. It gets them into the mode of possibility thinking. Incidentally Khare, a software entrepreneur switched to corporate training after he realised the potential of firewalking, which helped him overcome his fear of public-speaking.

Dr Samir Parikh, chief psychiatrist, Max Healthcare, New Delhi, says, An organisation is a unit made up of individuals. Everyone works at a different level of motivation and has unique needs. It is very important to address the individual in the organisation. Its precisely why seminars on stress management and work-life balance are finding corporate takers.

Laughter yoga is also catching up with corporates. The tension-releasing laughter exercise interspersed with gentle breathing and stretching exercises, rhythmic clapping and chanting of Ho Ho Ha Ha in unison works as a therapy, say converts.

Dr Madan Kataria conducts over six-eight laughter yoga workshops in a month in different countries all over the world. He says that Denmark-based It firm Four System saw its sale jump by 40% as a result of practising laughter yoga for a year.

Shiv Khera of Qualified Learning Systems ends up conducting 15 training sessions a month. He says, Corporates face high level of stress. Laughter yoga is an economical, instant and scientifically proven method of reducing stress. Laughter enhances communication and helps in team building.

Recalls Ayan Panda of Perot Systems, The laughter workshop got my adrenalin flowing. I felt energetic. It made me realise that you dont need a sense of humour to laugh. Just start by faking laughter and you will end up laughing naturally.

Khera has developed Blueprint for Success (BPS) programme that works on the principle that our attitude determines our success. You see, motivation is like food for thought. Everyone slips back in life and we need positive thoughts everyday. We need to sharpen our skills constantly.

Says Sunil Naganuri of Daksh, There are times when you really need a feel good factor and an external motivation to perform. Thats what Mr Kheras motivational talk gave me. In fact I bought his book after attending the workshop.

A word of caution. R Shankar, CEO of Mercer India, says, In a large organisation, employees at times feel lost and out of place. In this case such workshops are very prudent in telling them that hey, you are important and we value your efforts. These practices go a long way in building a strong HR culture. However, professional and personal enrichment programmes must be designed in sync with each other as too much of emphasis on one might hamper the other.

Are HR heads taking notes to implement new asset management theories