Blog: What my boss taught me about employee engagement & retention

Employee Engagement

What my boss taught me about employee engagement & retention

A simple act by the boss made the author realise the virtue of engaging employees positively and how that helps in retaining the talent.
What my boss taught me about employee engagement & retention

I don’t actually recollect where I heard (or) read the story. However, with all due respects to the one who created/narrated the story, I would like to share the gist of it and then get connected to the perspective.

Long long ago in the far away woods, there lived a happy family of 3 - Father, Mother & their Son. As the life & times unfolded, father’s energy drained, mother’s skin wrinkled and the son grew into a handsome young man.

One day, a devil saw the handsome young man and instantly its heart slips under the sleeves.  The devil takes the form of a “Charming Beauty” and lures the young man.  As the age calls for, the young man falls for the devil. As months passed, the “Charming Beauty” expresses her concern of turning old and losing her prettiness. The only solution is to have a mother’s heart for dinner as it avoids her from turning old & requests the young man to get her his ‘mother’s heart’ failing which she will leave him.  

Charmed by her beauty & love, the young man approaches her mother and she happily picks her heart out and gives it to her son.  As its turning dark, the young man starts running to her “Charming Beauty’s” place carrying the bleeding heart in his hands.  Suddenly the young man hits a sizeable stone on the path, falls down and gets hurted on the knee.  The bleeding mother’s heart cries out – 

“Oh hurt your knee.  I should be very painful. Please relax and walk carefully as I can’t see you getting hurt.”

And then the young man realizes what a big mistake he has committed and apologises to her mother, hits his head hard against the nearby stone and cries out loud to the almighty to help him out.  Seeing him in such a situation, the bleeding mother’s heart also prays the almighty.  Moved from the chore, the almighty appears before the son heals him and brings back his mother alive.

My interview @ Kolkata: The perspective from the context

I remember my early days in my career where I had received an interview call from a reputed corporate of India and the interview and its subsequent posting was at Kolkata.  The company also offered the 2nd AC Train journey as reimbursement to attend the interview.

I had approached my then current boss for a 4-day leave and when asked for the reason, I told him the truth. Without even thinking for a while, he congratulated me & told me to take a flight and he will pay me the difference in the fare. I was taken by surprise and that very moment, my respect for my boss grew manifold.

Further, he also told that since it’s a reputed brand and am visiting their corporate office in Kolkata for interview, he asked me to observe the environment there & try to see if I can get to see anything interesting (systems, process or practices) so that we can implement it in the organization (which I was working at that point of time).

Subsequently I boarded the flight and attended the interview.  He even called in the afternoon to understand if am comfortable & also about the interview process. Throughout the entire day I was at the interview call, and even today as I write this, I remember this act of kindness.

Interestingly, all through the day and despite the fact that I was about to face the interview, my eyes & senses were observing the surroundings to see if I can see something of value so that I can carry it back as a token of gesture of thanks to my BOSS.....and finally I found one:

I could see that the HR & Admin department (comprising around 30 members) share a photocopier machine.  And, the dept. doesn’t have an Assistant for getting photocopies.  On interacting with a Management trainee over there, he told that anyone in the dept. (even the head of the section) who is in need of photocopies, have to personally go to the photocopier machine and print the photocopies on their own.  I was also given to understand that the entire team is given training on “Managing with Photocopier Machine.

On return, I shared this with my boss and the idea struck with him and soon it was implemented in our office.  And at the end of the month, I also could see the reimbursed flight fare in my payslip.

This happened when I was in my 3rd year of association with that company and went on to work for about 9 years...till he retired in 2011

Today when I look back and whenever I read the story of “A Bleeding Mother’s Heart”, I remember my BOSS and many such instances of handholding and the way he mentored me professionally & personally.

Hope you all could see the “Engagement turned Retention” perspective and also the way he proved that BOSS is not just about “Body Of Status & Stature”’s also about “Body Of Soft Skills”.


Thank you boss for being my boss!



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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Relations

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