Leadership training to the staff

Given most of the Nonprofit staff come from rural areas with no access to formal training, this project was aimed to provide professional leadership training to the staff
Sankha Subra Chaudhary
Tata Consultancy Services - Consultant
Kolkata, India

Sankha has been working with CMC since 2002 and continued working for TCS upon merger. With a collective experience of 20 years in the IT division, he wanted to explore fields that were different from the job he has had. While choosing a project to start his journey as a ProEngager, Sankha looked for a project that was in his regional language. As a certified project manager, this project was an ideal match to make use of his expertise and skills.

Goutam Hazra
Tata Steel BSL Limited - Senior Divisional Manager (Retired)
Anugul, India

After years of service in the fields of technology and with Tata, Gautam’s passion to be a motivational speaker was reignited, with nearly 25 training seminars already conducted by him. He has a vision of setting up an NGO of his own in his hometown someday, and is an ardent theater lover. Goutam realized that in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, he was at the ‘Self-actualization’ stage. The term leadership training caught his eye and he decided to take up this project as his first Proengage one.

Kankura Masat Social Welfare Society
Sajal Kanti Kayal, Project Coordinator
Kolkata, India

Kankura Masat Social Welfare Society (KMSWS) was established in 1999. It is working to improve the poor conditions of education, environment, and health through various developed well-planned models in the Masat region of West Bengal. The organization works to uplift and empower underprivileged community members through promoting and selling products crafted by local artisans.


The Project

The management found that since most of the NGO staff are from local regions, they get little to no exposure to the outside world and the growing technology available. This posed the challenge of a growing communication gap. The training was intended to educate them and bring them on-power with better presentation and language skills. This would help them better represent the NGO and thus, they posted this project.

The Journey

Sankha understood from the E-module orientation that the volunteers needed to have a plan in order to move forward with the project successfully. He contacted Goutam and the project coordinator, Sajal to understand the project. Once this was clear, they established that they would have 12 sessions, for 2 hours every Saturday. The timings of their sessions were from 11 am to 1 pm. 

The staff also came on board with their own set of expectations, and the volunteers wanted to understand what they were. Goutam created an Excel sheet with a few self-assessment questions. The members of the staff had to rate themselves on a scale of 1 - 10. 

With a lucid picture of the work at hand, the volunteers began devising strategies that would benefit everyone involved. The volunteers had one-on-one sessions with each staff member to figure out why they wanted to enhance the particular skill they had mentioned in their assessment. This allowed them to scale down and modify their training content to the comfort level of the NGO’s staff. They came up with study modules and created about 10-12 PPTs on various topics based on the NGO’s requirements, which were shared with the NGO for their reference and learning. 

The staff was known to be shy and not very outspoken, but the volunteer’s efforts paid off, and they began interacting. “We used to congratulate the ones who spoke a lot and the ones who didn't, we tried to understand their reasons.” Goutam recalled. Despite the training module being in English, The volunteers made sure to explain the subject in Bengali for the staff to be able to follow along easily. 

A fun moment during the team’s journey was during one of the sessions. The volunteers found out that they had a Jatra performer in their midst. They gave him a dialogue to perform to and entertain the rest of the audience. This session brought out the hidden talents of all the staff members and prompted them to have personal conversations based on their interests with their fellow staff members. 

Challenges faced

The entire team bonded well and everyone involved had a great experience. There were a few external factors that hindered the project, such as electricity and network issues due to the NGO being in such a remote area. In spite of these problems, the volunteers managed to conduct the sessions on time. Sajal recalls, “The staff was eager for the sessions and our motives were clear and met. The people who were shy were now fighting for a chance to speak to the volunteers. This wouldn’t have been possible without the volunteer’s efforts and the technology to facilitate it during a global pandemic.” 

For the volunteers, the transition from English to Bengali was what they realized was the need of the hour. Being able to keep an audience engaged via a virtual set-up was a challenge. They credit their internal coordination and work experience for being able to follow through with the project.  

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“In the past five years that I have known these people, I hadn’t heard them communicate with such enthusiasm and confidence, but here they were eager to answer anything the volunteers might ask them. During the sessions, they got in touch with me personally to get feedback on their performance and to understand the response of the staff. This positivity and motivating charisma is a rare quality to come by, and I have gratitude for the volunteers and the wonderful job they have done. I know for a fact that 70% of my staff have gained significant knowledge from the program and even though this was done for the first time, our expectations have been exceeded.”

“We would deeply appreciate working with the Tata ProEngage program again, as the experience and knowledge the volunteers bring with them are very beneficial to organizations such as ours. To avail, such training, free of cost, is a remarkable philanthropic initiative.”  - Sajal Kanti Kayal

“For me, completing the project was my priority. I wanted it to be a success, and I knew if I didn’t work towards it, it wouldn’t have been so. I wanted the staff to gain something out of my experience, and that my material should be of continuous use to the people long after the program is over, and I am satisfied with my work. I will definitely work with Proengage again. This has been a great way to take a break from my routine job  and explore new sectors beyond the horizons of our work, to gain new knowledge and experience”- Sankha Subra Chaudhary

“Watching our efforts transpire the receiver's expectations and instill in them a child-like curiosity was fascinating and kept me motivated. When working on this project, I realized that people can change if they have the will to do so. There are people all over the world, who silently bringing about the change they want to see in the world. I have retired with the intention to do something good for society and would like to work towards my mission. If I can still access the Proengage program, I will definitely volunteer once more.”- Goutam Hazra