FEEDING THE ORGANIZATION’S SOUL TO EFFECTIVELY CARRY OUT A MISSIONPosted by CQSalazar on Aug 3, 2012 in Feature Stories | 4 comments
Can a three-day activity transform people and send them on a path of long-term spiritual fulfillment? Judging from the overwhelmingly positive feedback on the series of TSPI employee retreats, the answer is a resounding yes.
For Gemma Encarnacion, senior manager for discipleship and training, witnessing rifts in relationships within the organization runs counter to being a Christian company. “I noticed that the problem was internal,” she explained. “Some TSPI employees just say ‘Hi! Hello!’ whenever they see their colleagues. There was no ‘TSPI family’. The interactions were not relational.”
While companies would typically resort to manpower training, Ms. Encarnacion believes TSPI’s organizational challenges were something that traditional modes could not resolve.
“When you talk about trainings, the framework is usually more theoretical. The problems I saw were deeper. We needed to address what’s on the inside to be able to build harmonious relationships with the people we interact with,” she explained.
And so what was originally envisioned to be an activity for senior management started a “domino effect”: more and more employees from various levels in the organization– from branch managers to account officers, and even those working at the head office – started clamoring to have similar activities.
For maximum impact, the approaches and themes of the retreats were tailored-fit to the participants’ job. “For instance, when you have Account Officers, you have to take into consideration that these people have a lot of baggage since they deal with clients daily. On the other hand, the head office people are also different since they are not on the ground and they deal mostly with their colleagues,” she explained.
It was a herculean task in terms of logistics. TSPI is not a small organization; it has 90 senior managers, 400 branch managers, and 1,700 account officers. In all, Ms. Encarnacion oversaw 21 batches of employees from all over the archipelago go on staff retreats. Despite having a small team, she managed to pull through, with some Divine intervention. “For several times, it would be raining so hard. Then when we needed to do an activity in an open-air venue, the downpour would suddenly stop,” she said.
The organization’s enthusiasm paid off. Participants said the staff retreats gave them a chance to pause and reflect, which is something that has become a luxury when working 12-hour days at the branch. As it is costly for an organization like TSPI to hold regular retreats, Ms. Encarnacion said it is important to have follow-through activities, such as during morning devotions and through the discipleship guide given to Account Officers to make it easier to translate to clients during meetings.
The retreats turned out to be more than just a relaxing break from work or time to bond with fellow colleagues. For most of the participants who have previously joined retreats, it paved the way for them to have another meaningful, personal and unforgettable encounter with God. And for those who were new to retreats, it allowed them to remember God, His promises and His abundant blessings.
In just three days and two nights, participants and even the organizers of the retreats bore witness to God’s mighty hands at work. And while each retreat has its own specific experiences, challenges and stories to tell, all 21 of them were victorious because it was God Who moved throughout the whole activity and Who continues to move and work in the lives of the participants long after the retreats ended.
This article is a feature story published in the TSPI 2011 Annual Report and was originally written by Mr. Glenn Diaz, Writers Edge Inc.