Embedding Happiness and Respect in the Workplace: The Missing Piece in HRD

May 24, 2024

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

― Albert Camus

Human Resources Development (HRD) and Happiness: Restoring the Connection

Did you know that Human Resource Development (HRD) and happiness correlate? Employee happiness can often fall by the wayside in today’s fast-paced work environment. But Dr. T.V. Rao, a pioneer in HRD in India, argues that happiness was the original driving force behind the field, not just profits or efficiency.

In a candid conversation with Coachaya Board Member and Master Coach Ujjaval Buch during a recent ICW webinar hosted by Coacharya, Dr. Rao, Chairman of T V Rao Learning Systems Pvt. Ltd., shared his insights on the journey of HRD, its connection to employee well-being, and its role in building strong institutions.

HRD: Cultivating Commitment Through Respect and Purpose

Dr. Rao explained how early HRD practices focused on building “commitment” among employees. The core principle was clear: happy, valued, and respected employees are more likely to be dedicated and productive. This philosophy laid the groundwork for essential HR tools like performance management (focusing on development, not just appraisal!), career planning, and regular feedback.

However, over the course of time, HR processes have become a box-ticking exercise, losing sight of the core goal – to create a work environment where people enjoy their jobs. This raises a critical question: Are we prioritizing productivity over the human element? After all, HRD, at its heart, is about people. And to be human is to crave respect, fulfillment, and happiness in our professional lives.

Building a Culture of Respect: The Heart of HR and Every Institution

Expanding on the core of human resources, institution building, and coaching, Dr. Rao beautifully flipped the script on traditional views of human resources. He said that HR, at its core, is about mutual respect and empowering individuals.

Sharing a compelling view, Dr. T.V. Rao underlined that when we respect ourselves, we allow our potential to flourish. When we extend that respect to others, we create an environment where everyone can thrive. This, he believes, is the key to happiness and peace, not just within organizations, but in society as a a whole.

Going beyond HR, Dr. Rao suggested that all institutions have a role to play in nurturing our humanity. Schools, hospitals, businesses – all these entities, he argued, were established with a fundamental purpose: to serve. And that service, he emphasized, starts with fostering self-respect, respect for others, and a sense of purpose in everyone who walks through their doors.

This “spirituality in institutions,” as he called it, is the foundation for a more human world. It’s about mutual respect and everyone working together to cultivate a sense of respect and purpose within themselves and those around them.

Webinar Highlights

This insightful webinar explored several key themes:

1. Human Resources Development (HRD) and its evolvement

2. Spirituality in Institutions

3. Institution Builders

4. Spirituality in the Workplace

5. Difference between Institutions and Organizations

Spirituality in the Workplace: Finding Meaning and Connection

A technical glitch during the webinar led to a valuable discussion with Dr. Anshul Gupta, author of “The Spiritual Indian Corporate: The Ideal Workplace Redefined.” Dr. Gupta identified four key principles for workplace spirituality:

  1. Finding meaning in work: Employees should feel their work contributes to a larger purpose.
  2. Connectedness with work: Employees should feel a sense of connection to their tasks and colleagues.
  3. Alignment of values: Individual and organizational values should be compatible.
  4. Compassion: A workplace culture that fosters empathy and understanding.

Dr. Gupta argues that when these principles are present, workplaces become more spiritual, leading to stronger institutions.

The Call to Action: Rekindling the Spirit of Service in Our Institutions

The key distinction between institutions and organizations, as highlighted by Dr. Rao, lies in their goals. Institutions strive for a greater good, focusing on service and human development, unlike purely commercial entities. While some institutions may lose sight of this purpose, the constant reminder of their noble mission serves as the lifeblood that keeps them true to their core values.

What Dr. Rao said was a reminder to keep coming back to this question again and again and again. When doing anything, what is the purpose behind it? You will see the clarity emerging just by asking this one question.

Let’s hold institutions accountable to their higher purpose, creating a world where respect, empowerment, and a sense of service reign supreme.  Can you play a role? Coaching can be a springboard to realizing your purpose and helping others find theirs. If this resonates with you, contact Coacharya at contact@coacharya.com or visit our website for information on coaching programs and resources.

Share Your Thoughts!

We invite you to share your thoughts in the comments section below or join the conversation on our global coaching community, CoachNook.

ICW 2024 Webinar: Spirituality and Institution Building

Like to listen instead? We have a podcast!

Cover photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

Yamini Kandpal
Yamini Kandpal


Yamini Kandpal works as a Content Specialist at Coacharya. With a background in writing and editing as part of journalism, she has found her own corner in the stories of the coaching world. While away from work, you can find her traveling or scribbling her musings in a notebook.

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