This article is a lightly-edited summary of the key takeaways from our speakers’ appearance on our podcast, “The Shape of Work.” If you haven’t listened to our show yet, be sure to check it out here. These speakers have an incredible stable of startup experiences to draw from, the kind of stories that are unbelievably helpful for HR/people managers to hear.
In this episode of “The Shape of Work,” we have Jayant Rastogi, the CEO of Magic Bus India Foundation. It is a non-profit organization that has helped 1.5 million children till date.
GUEST AT A GLANCE:
Name of the guest: Jayant Rastogi
What he does: CEO, Magic Bus India Foundation
Find him on LinkedIn.
Get Smart: “Your employees are the single most important element of your organization. If you have them, you fight 80% of the battle already.”
In this episode, you will get top highlights about:
- The transformation of the Magic Bus Foundation.
- Effectiveness of Automation.
- Jayant’s ways to success.
- Taking care of employee well-being.
- Impact of the pandemic on NGOs.
- Strategies to make an organization a great working place.
The transformation of the Magic Bus Foundation:
Jayant explains that the industry is more complex than it looks. He mentions the difference between the corporate sector and the nonprofit sector. When Jayant’s journey in Magic Bus started, he felt overwhelmed for the first few days. It was an organization without systems and processes. His first step was to conduct parallel processing and get people to rely on it.
They went for all the automation processes together. It is generally not possible in all companies.
They went through a massive transformation which eventually turned out to be great for the organization. Currently, their financial systems, technology, and all other processes are in place. They turned their employer promoter score from -35 to 56.
Effectiveness of Automation:
They faced a lot of challenges while automating the organization. When they implemented new technology, the employees started having trust issues against Jayant. They felt that he did not believe in their work. To solve this, Jayant tried to assure them that the organization is here to look out for them. Moreover, they started seeing the benefits of this technology too.
Jayant’s four ways to success:
The following four mantras helped Jayant immensely:
- Attitude and gratitude: To hire people who are dedicated and can pick up in Magic Bus. They should be thankful for the good things they have.
- Forgive and forget: Both employees and leaders can make mistakes. However, it is better not to carry the burden of the fault. It brings in trust issues and hampers the relationship between each other.
- Teamwork: It is important to work as a team. Moreover, the employee should love their work. It is necessary to bring energy within the team.
- Survival Quotient: They should have the capability to bounce back after a fall.
Taking care of employee well-being:
Many small organizations had to downsize themselves. Before the lockdown got announced, Magic Bus was busy carrying out work and conducting fundraising. They started by carrying out a business continuity plan. 35%-40% of their funds were donated to the PM cares fund. They decided not to cut the salaries of the lower-level employees. They performed intelligent cost savings by moving their programs virtual. Technology helped them a lot. Jayant says that this adaptation of technology could have taken years otherwise.
Establishing Magic bus in several countries:
Establishing Magic Bus in different countries has been very difficult. They have fundraising offices in the United States, United Kingdom, and India. But 95% of fundraising happens in India. It is easy to raise money from Indians as they know the techniques. However, they are still figuring out this technique in other countries.
How did the Magic Bus become a great working place?
Jayant explains plenty of ways through which Magic Bus became a great working place. Technology did play a significant role here. However, several other factors played their part as well. First of all, the employees should be good and giving. At the same time, the organization was transparent with the employees to avoid trust issues. Most importantly, the goals and visions of the company and its employees should be the same. The cultural fitment should be correct. In Magic Bus, money is not the main motivation. Jayant also credits the HR director of the organization for enhancing the productivity of the employees.
They also used several platforms where the employees could interact with each other.
Attrition rates in the organization:
The organization segregates people into three segments: the strategic/leadership segment, the middle managers, and the implementation/organization segment. All the people from these areas are from diverse backgrounds. In the implementation segment, the attrition rate is very high. The NGO offers jobs to the marginalized communities for whom they are working. They are first-time job seekers who are learning and understanding the sector. It lowers as it moves towards the middle managers and the senior leaders.
Magic Bus took a couple of initiatives to turn it around. They organized Performance Leadership Programs where they invited the top performers and provided them the biggest challenges of the organization. They are put in cross-functional teams and asked to identify the problem. However, they would also ensure that one team member is the expert in the field while the other is from a different segment. The results have always turned out to be good. This process helps people understand the problems and become a part of the solution.
Strategies to make an organization a great place to work in:
The first and foremost factor to make an NGO a great place to work is trust. Leadership should walk the talk. Building trust requires transparent communication and honesty. In addition, the organization should reward people who do well. In addition, it should also focus on talent development through internal and external workshops. Getting people involved and taking care of them is extremely important. Magic Bus arranged O2 concentrators for their employees.
Employee well-being in an NGO:
Magic Bus tied up for several mental health and counseling sessions. These sessions have been anonymous. Jayant says that it is a necessary step towards watching out for the employees.