When Our Driver Became Our Trainer
He could have parked the bus, set up the tent for the training and sat idle - he would have done his job as a driver of the Buzz bus. But if that was all that Sarvagna Chari did, he wouldn’t have become a trainer with Buzz – the most cherished promotion we have seen in the organization.
It was in 2017 that Sarvagna joined our team as a driver in Kolar. He served the Indian army as a sepoy for three years, starting at the age of 18 and serving some of the most critical army bases like Kargil, Uri and Jammu Kashmir. He discontinued the services and came back home and found his first job as a night watchman. He later joined an NGO as a driver. But could he limit himself to just doing that! He was the driver, nightwatchman, office boy and assistant accountant – all rolled into one! He learned everything quickly and worked without expecting anything in return, not even a designation. And sadly, he didn’t get a promotion.
When he came to Buzz he thought it would be the same here. But how could we not reward someone like Sarvagna who showed us how to do your job perfectly well and serve even more by going beyond.
Sarvagna never limited himself. He was actively involved in supporting our trainers. Right from planning their monthly training schedules to delivering the training to digitally updating data of the training, Sarvagna voluntarily supported the trainers.
“But that doesn’t mean he overstepped into the space of the trainers”, says Ayyappan, Operation Manager, Kolar District. “Sarvagna always did more than what we expected of him and yet he never disrespected professional boundaries. He gave inputs to new trainers on how to keep the attention of the women who attend the training and built a rapport with the community. No wonder all our trainers in Kolar district wanted to travel by the bus that Sarvagna drove!” And he surely redefined the job description of a driver at Buzz. We can no longer hire drivers who prefer to sit idle - a huge human resource challenge!
Everyone noticed how fluent Sarvagna was with the Buzz curriculum. He knew the training manual as thoroughly as any seasoned trainer at Buzz, then why could he not become the trainer? Sarvagna brushed aside this suggestion from his manager multiple times, thinking it would be a role too big for his shoes. But when the situation came where the Buzz program in Kolar district no longer needed a driver but a trainer, the team knew they wanted Sarvagna to have this opportunity.
After five years of serving the Buzz mission as a driver, Sarvagna then accepted the challenge and underwent the trainer orientation programme and proved the team right. There was no reason why he couldn’t be a trainer. And for the first time in Buzz, a driver became a trainer.
We wonder why he does so much, “I simply love learning. I got good marks in my pre-university but because I didn’t know English, I couldn’t continue my education in science. I missed out on opportunities, but I always have this thirst to learn and do more. Working with Buzz, I get the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile. The love and respect I get from villagers is something I never imagined”, says Sarvagna with utmost humility.
This year, the entire Buzz team in India came together for its annual retreat and Sarvagna was one of the MCs. He took charge of the podium with simple pride, having demystified hierarchy with his willingness to learn and grow. When Sarvagna got the job as a trainer, his wife told their children, “Your father will make us proud”. We want to tell his children, he has made all of us proud.