Tridiv Hazarika, Manager (Public Relations), Oil India Limited

Tridiv Hazarika, Manager (Public Relations), Oil India Limited

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Post Graduate in Communication Studies as well as Business Administration with a background in Economics, Tridiv has the experience of working closely with the civil society engaged in community development initiatives. He has been working in the field of corporate social responsibility, development communication, corporate communication, sustainable development and media relations after joining India’s second largest oil and gas exploration and production company, Oil India Limited (OIL) in 1998. After joining OIL, he also underwent training in Corporate Communication at IIM, Lucknow and a special training program on Media management by a team from British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) at New Delhi. He is presently working on a doctoral thesis on CSR and its impact on corporate image. Earlier, he had worked as Media Executive at Don Bosco Youth and Educational Services (DBYES) from May 1997 to April, 1998.

            He has authored articles and made a number of presentations on CSR, Development Communication, Stakeholder Engagement and Media in International and National conventions and symposiums including various case studies and presentations on CSR to Government agencies, Civil Society Organizations and Academic Institutions. A Past President of Rotary Club of Duliajan, Tridiv has successfully implemented various community development initiatives through innovative and strategic social mobilization and advocacy. As chief planner and spokesperson of the community based Merbeel Eco Tourism Development Committee, Tridiv has been playing a pivotal role in project advocacy and mobilizing the villagers of 80 odd villages in Sasoni area under Dibrugarh District in upper Assam in implementing an award winning eco tourism and wetland conservation project. The project is all set to become a model project in conservation and development though community participation in partnership with Government and Corporate Sector.

            Tridiv had presented a paper on the award winning CSR Project (creation and support of self help groups) of OIL – Project Rupantar (he is the Secretary of the project) at the 20th World Petroleum Congress at Doha in December 2011. He had presented a paper on OIL’s CSR at the Global Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility in Vilamoura, Portugal during February 2006. In 2011, he was part of a delegation from Indian Oil Companies which visited Sao Paulo, Brazil to promote Indian Business and explore business opportunities.

            On 4th May, 2012, Tridiv was honoured with “Jana Ratna Award” by Shalmari Dighalia Juba Sangha, an active youth club located in OIL’s operational area in upper Assam for his contribution to various community development initiatives on the occasion of the Club’s silver jubilee celebrations.

            A life member of the Public Relations Society of India; Associate Member of National Institute of Personal Management, Corporate Member of Centre for Social Responsibility, Tridiv presently is also a spokesperson of OIL and editor of OIL News, the house magazine of OIL.

Why do you like CSR and Sustainability as a career?

CSR and Sustainability as career options, give you a rare opportunity to touch the lives of people at the bottom of the pyramid. As a CSR professional you are in a position to bring about visible change in the world around you in the true sense of the word. While you can fulfill your individual career aspirations, you also in the process contribute in creating value for people at large, help sustain the planet’s health and also ensure that your organization remains profitable. While, all professionals in their own way contribute towards betterment of society, a CSR professional has the ability to impact the lives of people, especially marginalized groups and also help organizations to achieve inclusive growth.

Whom do you respect the most as a corporate leader?

In the Indian context, Mr N R Narayana Murthy, Infosys’ co-founder and chairman emeritus has been a guiding force. His simplicity and visionary leadership was an inspiration at all times. There are a number of leaders both in the Indian Public and Private Sector who have influenced me a lot by their ability to innovate and achieve success despite various systemic constraints and environmental challenges. I have always been inspired by leaders who have demonstrated that he or she has a heart that wants to reach out to the stakeholders, especially the common people who tend to be out of the corporate radar of a typical business model dominated by financial bottom lines alone.

Which Indian corporate house do you think carries out the best CSR practices in business management?

While CSR has always been a part and parcel of the very foundation of the Indian Public Sector Undertakings which has helped in creating employment and large social assets in the remote interiors of the country, the TATAs for me have laid the foundation of the true spirit of CSR in India. In fact, it is amazing how employees welfare practices introduced by the TATAs have gone on to become labour laws. Their contribution in sectors like health care, higher education, sports etc have created new benchmarks for not only Indian but the global Industry to emulate. Their CSR practices, structure, approach and professionals have helped in creating new business models in the CSR domain.

Why do you think a career in CSR and Sustainability is different from others?

After having spent quite some time in a nebulous zone, CSR and Sustainability – thanks to the growing attention and focus on these two domains from Corporate sector, Government and civil society – have created a professional space for itself in the Corporate world. Especially in the context of professional skills and domain specific knowledge, CSR and Sustainability have become distinct management function other than a side activity of traditional departments in an organization like HR, Administration, PR, HSE etc. Today, progressive companies have created separate departments for CSR/Sustainability with attractive career and growth prospects for deserving candidates.

How do you differentiate an HR manager from a CSR manager?

A CSR manager has to respond to the needs of a much larger target audience or should I say client base. While the HR manager has to handle the needs of essentially the internal stakeholders of an organization, the CSR manager has to also deal with the aspirations and needs of a diverse group of external stakeholders. While, it is relatively easier to handle the aspirations and needs of employees since they are governed by the policies and service rules of the organization, the external stakeholders, especially the local populace within the catchment areas of a Business Organization will be guided mostly by their free will, assumptions and expectations. In many ways, a CSR manager must be able to multitask and have an extensive knowledge base and professional exposure in areas like developmental communication, social work, psychology, economics, environmental management, corporate communications, business management, project management, labour laws, research methodologies, cross cultural communication etc. He or she may have academic backgrounds preferably in disciplines like mass communication, social work, business management but essentially have some foothold on the diverse areas as mentioned above to become a competent CSR professional in the long run.

How do you differentiate a Corporate Communication Manager from a CSR manager?

A Corporate Communication Manager in an organization would essentially be entrusted to take care of the organization’s creative work for brand building, media relations, put up exhibition pavilions, carry out various media campaigns, strengthen internal and external stakeholder communications and relations, contribute in organizing major annual events, provide support service to top management in developing communication strategies and provide professional support in marketing and sales efforts. A CSR manager would primarily focus on conceiving, implementing, monitoring and evaluating various community and sustainable development initiatives and also in the process play a role of an interface between the Company and the external stakeholders especially the populace within the catchment area of the Company. It is also observed that the Corporate Communication manager and the CSR manager compliments each other and in many ways can help each other to achieve organizational goals.

About the author

CSR VISION is India's (probably World's) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.