CHENNAI, India — In a first of its kind, Ford India organized a ‘family dynamics’ workshop for its married employees to help them achieve a better equilibrium in marital life and work-life balance. The workshop, conducted at the Maraimalai Nagar plant last week, was attended by several married couples.
During the workshop, one of the participants became quite emotional. “I feel now I have not devoted much time to my family all these years. I was totally immersed in work, and realize that those years are never going to come back,” he said. But the counselor conducting the workshop instilled some optimism in him. “Don’t blame yourself, and see how you can make a right start now. Things will soon become alright.”
Ford India’s Employee Relation team organized the workshop by roping in a family co-ordinator, Asisha Benjamin.
“We think the family’s role is very important in keeping our employees actively involved in the manufacturing process. The young workforce has its own challenges in terms of financial planning, career development for their wards and moreover to channelize their entire energy towards achievement of productive ambitious goals. This workshop will enable them to connect to their families in a better way and will enhance their happiness,” said Dominic Saavio, general manager, Employee Relations for Ford India.
As many as 14 married employees, drawn from several Ford India departments, attended the workshop with their spouses. The workshop had several modules on family dynamics such as self-awareness, effective listening, managing realistic expectations, conflict management etc to equip the participants to deal with family life in a mature, effective way.
Benjamin, an experienced family co-ordinator, said the workshop was customized with employees in the manufacturing sector in mind and would help participants in leading a better, meaningful family life with a better understanding and mutual respect among partners.
“It is true that in our effort to achieve career goals, family often becomes the first casualty. In this workshop we teach how devoting and spending quality time with them matters, how mutual respect among partners and family members is important and the significance of magic words like “I love you’ and “I Can Understand,’ she said.
“We encourage the participants to introspect and cite instances from their own lives to become more involved in the workshop. Having their spouse with them also helps them see the gaps in communication and understanding that must be bridged to achieve a more balanced family life,” she said.
G. Gowri Shankar, a manufacturing associate from Body Shop who attended the workshop with his wife Shanmuga Priya, was effusive in his praise for the workshop. “It is a really effective and useful training programme for all. I’ve learnt that effective listening is the most important thing in family life,” he said. C Boopathy, another participant from TCF and his wife B. Sheela, felt the workshop must be extended to more employees.
Senior plant leadership including Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing and Senthil Kumar, vice president, Vehicle Operations, welcomed the participants and emphasized how Ford encourages its employees to build a healthy and balanced family life and expressed hoped the workshop would help them achieve it.
Employees and their spouses enjoy a light moment at the session.
Participants pose for a group photograph with plant leadership.