Author Archives: onpurposeconsulting


ON PURPOSE introduces ‘Period Chutti.’

Building a collaborative and equitable work culture, one policy at a time.

New Delhi, May 25, 2021: Ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Day on Friday, May 28th, ON PURPOSE announced ‘Period Chutti’ for its employees. This policy includes additional 6 paid leaves in a year, for all employees who menstruate.

The organisation’s intention is to support its employees to rest during their periods, while not having to use their sick leave. Periods are not a sickness after all. This policy also aims to remove the stigma and taboo surrounding menstruation and make it a normal conversation at the workplace.

Why 6 days?

It is a medically established fact that young girls, women and gender non-conforming persons can face up to 14 menstrual cycles in a year. Accounting for cycles that may fall on weekends or holidays and that a full day’s leave may not be required on every occasion, 6 days offers adequate relief to employees without forcing them to dip into the 26 other paid leaves in the year.

Why only menstruators? (Kya Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota?) 

It’s important to level the playing field so all genders have an equal opportunity to perform and deliver the impact the organisation is seeking to create for its clients and its teams.

Guidelines 

The policy is designed to be flexible depending on the employee’s needs, providing for the following options: 

  1. Up to 6 days additional paid leaves will be entitled to all the eligible employees during the year. This can be a full day or a half day leave as per the need 
  2. The leave can be availed either on 1st, 2nd or 3rd day of periods depending upon the situation and need 
  3. To avail the period leave, the employee needs to inform their line manager and send an email to HR mentioning that they are availing leave through the Period policy

Speaking about the initiative, Girish Balachandran, Founder, ON PURPOSE said, “ON PURPOSE was founded to use communications to drive social change in India. Menstruation is a taboo topic in most of India and this is our attempt to break the stigma and normalise conversations, starting first at home (our work place). Nobody should feel uncomfortable telling people internally that they are on period leave. If anyone faces any kind of discrimination or harassment because of it, they must immediately report it to HR and our Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) committee will take this up, immediately.”

 

Media Enquires

Girish Balachandran

girish@onpurposeconsulting.in 

 

Aastha Anand

aastha@onpurposeconsulting.in

Practicing ‘Gratitude’ Kept me Afloat During a Dark Phase

We all have been through those ‘dark phases’ at some point in our lives. While some pass in a trice, others stay.

I was diagnosed with depression in 2018. Back then, I thought just a couple of sessions with the therapist would help get my ‘sanity’ back. Clearly, I had no idea how ramified it was. Also, what I was not aware of then was the need to practice habits that helped restore normalcy/ made the healing journey smoother, and further ensured healthy vitals.

With mental illness, every day was a revelation to something I never understood. I realised, ‘I don’t have control’, ‘I am tired’, ‘I don’t feel like doing so and so’ might be mere platitudes for others, but this was the result of ruminations, endless ruminations. Amidst all this, I came across a random post on Instagram on practicing gratitude. What seemed like a futile effort back then turned out to be fruitful. The post talked about maintaining a ‘Gratitude Journal’ year around. Different people cultivate gratitude in various manners. For me, it started with listing 3 things I was grateful for before bunking down for the night. 

I would like to clarify here, practicing gratitude didn’t treat my mental illness; it made the journey easier. For someone who persistently had horrid thoughts and that awful feeling in the pit of the stomach, it indeed brought about a change and much-needed positive emotions. I remember my mother telling me once, “Why be grateful only during momentous occasions? Why not practice it daily for something as simple as helping someone out?”

I can keep yapping about how this simple technique has helped magnify the positive emotions during trying times but let me mention just the vital things it brings along and why I consider it essential for people battling mental illness.

    • Gratitude helps you celebrate life– Being grateful for the most minor things helps us actively participate in life. Recalling ordinary moments of gratitude magnifies the pleasure and changes the way we perceive situations. 
    • It has a social aspect to it– Building the habit of being grateful takes time. Once you are at it, you automatically start sharing your gratitude with others. Acknowledging the role others play in your life nourishes relationships that often get wrecked due to depression. Also, the affirmation of goodness can help someone build the habit.
    • Counting kindness- This simply means to be kind to your own self. Even for something as trivial as having the meals on time, complimenting the self can be a mood enhancer. This simple habit goes a long way in improving overall body functions.
    • Increased sense of self-worth- Cultivating gratitude forces you to pay attention to your positive aspects and nourish it well. It naturally helps heighten self-worth. 

 

 

This practice has helped me to pause when needed and be kind to myself and others. On certain days, I am just grateful for being able to breathe without choking myself and on certain days, it’s a long list. I can not say I am out of a dark phase, but I indeed have started feeling the right way.   

Written by Uttirna Gnanadipta

 

Here’s why gratitude is the biggest gain in 2020

As we stand at the threshold of the New Year, we seldom brood over the year passing by. Mostly, the only things that one carries forward, from the old to the new, are the New Year resolutions. 

I believe that the New Year resolutions are like that warm mist that releases from our mouth on a cold wintery night of the 31st of December, and evaporates right away without leaving any signs whatsoever. Often, resolutions not backed by the science of willpower, fizzle out as quickly as made.

The pandemic year has made many people realise how they had been taking the comforts in life for granted. The suffering and isolation forced by social distancing have taught how important it is to cherish simple joys in life.

However hard-hitting the year may have been right from the start, it also proved one more time that good always triumphs over evil. The year is replete with so many stories of kindness and selflessness. The year is a testimony to the unconquerable human resilience and how the world community united to combat the common enemy called COVID-19.

2020 showed that gratitude is no more a relativistic view of morality.  Standing in our balconies and applauding the front-line or essential services workers was not about expressing one-time gratitude but spreading the spirit of optimism, positive feelings, and boosting happiness.

Believe it or not, but gratitude has the power of healing. Studies have shown that practicing
gratitude releases good feeling hormones: Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphins which pump in more energy in the body. Gratitude helps in sleep better, improve focus and attention, manage stress, and heal mental pains. Gratitude indeed turns into what we have into enough.

Corona Virus Disease not only became the first pandemic of the 21st century. It brought the world to a stand-still. The disasters like wildfires, cyclones, and floods in different parts of the world became the double whammy for people already facing the direct brunt of the pandemic like financial loss, loneliness, uncertainty, or the pain of losing a loved one. When asked to describe 2020 in one word, many defined it as lost, relentless, exhausting, chaotic, hellacious, apocalyptic, 404, delete, unstable. The list can go on.

After the period of uncertainty, there is light at the end of the year with the vaccine in sight. Practicing gratitude will expedite the healing. There is no reason that we should not usher in the New Year with lots of positive sprits, deny the pandemic to steal our joy, and celebrate what Girish said in an email to Team On Purpose,  “our biggest gain in 2020 – the year we learnt to support each other, through thick and thin”.

Here’s wishing you all a peaceful year-end and time with family.

 

Written by: Archana Khatri Das

The Metamorphosis of Teachers

Can you think of a profession where a boss is tracked down by many on a social media channel only to be told that how much value he or she has brought into their life? I have heard this happening to people in only one profession and that is teaching. A neighbour who happened to be a teacher shared with me how her fan following has been rising. Some 20 plus whom she had taught when they were in grade 1 or 2 have been sending her friend requests and connecting with her. They have filled her with so much love and admiration that she feels they have made her life so worthwhile. I can confidently say that the case applies to most of the teacher if not all.

We are a Family

The pandemic has changed professional life of almost everybody, but nothing like the way it has transformed for the teaching fraternity. But the admiration that students reserve for their teachers hasn’t changed at all. Almost in all cases, where students are accessing online learning, they moved to their new grade in April and since then have been interacting online with their teachers who were probably new to them. But, in a matter of 5 months they have become a close family. All was made possible by the affection and hard work teachers have been putting in to make the learning seamless.

A Communicator or Teacher? 

They wouldn’t have imagined even in their dreams that would ever have to metamorphose into communications professional. A teacher these days is expected to be digital savvy, marketing strategist, a communications professional who knows how to invite and connect prospective customers (read parents) and conduct a business meet or an event on social media sites connected hundreds and remain competitive in the market place.

A Digital Strategist

It was quite interesting when a friend, also a teacher shared with me that the biggest challenge before teachers during this time is how to create customer engagement on digital media? So the focus on them is not just how much and how to impart learning to their students, also how to create online engagements with prospective students or their parents!

Teachers Empowered

I am sure they miss in-person interaction with students as students miss being in school and college. Online learning has definitely made communication challenging for teaches. I wonder how helpless they feel when there are children displaying all seven emotions, some highly distracted, some sitting in different yoga postures, some of them highly distracted, others making the best of the opportunity to evade the lecture! Despite going through the demands of online teaching, ensuring that learning happens for all, they share files and videos on specific platforms, or on YouTube or groups in WhatsApp.

Education Warriors

MOOC may have failed to live up to the hype or online learning was never given a serious thought before covid, teachers have adapted well to online teaching. I would call our teacher community our education warriors. They have adapted to the technology so well that surfing through the technology is gradually becoming their second nature. They have become digital experts and can organise business summits gathering of 200-300 people and making all efforts that learning for students stays in progress.

The technology has even empowered the education warriors in keeping the adventurous students under discipline. Those who do not pay heed in the class or create disturbance, keep their videos off, are eased out of the meeting room, or silenced by deactivating the chat box. This is that army which goes on with its regimen without any complaints.

They are ready to conduct classes any time of the day, even when their throats get dry with classes running back-to-back or long screen time taking a toll on their eyes stressing them out. They are always happy to teach. More power to the education warriors.

Happy Teachers Day

What Would Donna Do?

Cash burn, clients on wait-and-watch mode, budget cuts, deferred payments, fewer onboarding of new clients on one side and on the other heightened communication requirements from customers, shorter deadlines, and immense pressure to deliver and also from the confines of our homes! Sound familiar? Welcome to PR in a COVID19 world. 

We are all amid difficult but interesting times. Client requirements are evolving with each day and what they need is a nimble, and adaptive PR partner that will respond to their needs with complete understanding of the situation and with precision. This is the good side of the situation we are in as we are continuing to stay relevant with differentiated services and helping our clients communicate in newer ways. Meanwhile, how do we keep ourselves not only afloat but also grow as a business?    

One could assume the situation we are in will certainly get stretched and would require a business continuity plan for at least the next 6-8 months, so where do we draw inspiration from? 

How about Donna Paulsen – the iconic TV character from the famous US legal drama series – Suits? Far from an ordinary assistant, Donna is unapologetic, full of ideas, focussed, persistent and displays exceptional problem-solving skills that we could take a leaf from too.

So here are top 5 things on priority that Donna would do: 

  1. Protect people first:
    Take required preventive measures for ensuring the well-being of employees first. Proactively communicate health risks and precautions that everyone must exercise from their homes. In addition, at ON PURPOSE we procured COVID-19 medical insurance for all team member, spouses and children.
  2. Keep ‘em close and stay relevant:
    Build lasting customer relationships during and in the post COVID world. Empathise and listen more to your clients and to their needs. Brands will appreciate relevant and tailormade strategies in the current times and teams that are listening in to trends, market updates and are quickly responding with sound counsel and the right message dissemination. The world post COVID will also see a tremendous shift in consumer behaviour and choices including how they consume content or connect with brands and will require a real-time shift in how we approach PR for our clients.
  3. Help clients disrupt their own way of communicating with newer services and formats of engagement:
    Now is the time for clients to rethink and reimagine their roles in the lives of their stakeholders; customers, partners, employees et al. It is imperative for them to not take a back seat but proactively reach out to their stakeholders and constantly communicate with them. Consult your happy clients on alternate areas of focus that should be an equal priority. Internal communications, employee communications, videos, newsletters, government relations and policy advocacy, crisis communications are areas many organizations need to start investing in.
  4. Re-prioritise your spends:
    Go back to your drawing boards and look at every single piece of expenditure you incur and do away with discretionary spends that you can avoid: marketing budgets for the year, travel, negotiate your rental terms with your landlords for your offices et al. Be careful though, not to be penny wise and pound foolish i.e. don’t reduce costs if in any way it would impact the quality of work you are delivering for your clients.
  5. Utilize human capital efficiently:Freeze hiring if you can and try to in-source by either upskilling or look for more projects better suited to current skillsets. Move outsourced freelance work in-house as far as possible and provide your teams with all the support they need to do their jobs.

Lastly, let business continuity measures and approach not rest with your leadership alone, involve your teams to participate, hear them out and you will be surprised the ideas these young minds come up with! The ever-enthusiastic, always charged, and innovative minds at ON PURPOSE presented some of the most creative ideas that we cannot wait to implement for the next leg of our journey.

Here is a quick snapshot of how we let the teams bring out their inner ‘Donna’

  • Launched a Business Continuity Challenge: What Would Donna Do (WWDD). Teams were provided a brief on the revenue and cost drivers of the company and were asked to come up with plans for cash flow and profitability management for the next 6 months
  • External coaches were recruited to challenge the team’s ideas and provide constructive feedback
  • A jury of senior leaders scored the teams based on 4 criteria:
  1. Disruption: How disruptive are the ideas? How strongly do they reflect a new way of doing business? Reframe our business model and differentiate from the traditional agency model?
  2. Feasibility: How easy will it be to implement? Doable? Less grief?
  3. Purpose-driven: How will it impact our ability to fulfill our mission to drive social change in India?
  4. Creativity in the presentation: How uniquely were the ideas presented? Engaging? Attention-grabbing?


Everyone on the winning team was given a voucher of INR 2,500/- to spend on any online training of their choice 

Our success will be in how we implement the ideas suggested, as a team, together.

Stay tuned for more!

 

By Shalini Gunashekar