HR Lessons from Dangal movie

A professional writer and passionate blogger, Sampurna has been lending her expertise to the online world by penning articles, guest posts and blogs on career, business and employment for a quite some time now. She also an avid reader; loves travelling and photography.

The latest Bollywood flick Dangal starring Aamir Khan has broken all records at the box office despite having an offbeat storyline. While many stories and criticisms are being woven around the film—some saying it’s a feminist film while others are condemning it as being too patriarchal, Dangal has succeeded in emerging as one of the highest grossing films of 2016.

In this post, we intend to converge on how the movie can be used to learn some lessons for the human resources domain.

An amateur wrestler, Mahavir, is looking for a son to fulfil his dream of winning a gold medal in wrestling. However, he and his wife end up having four daughters. Subsequently, Mahavir makes up his mind to train his two young daughters Geeta and Babita, into wrestlers. Needless to say that later on, the girls do end up winning a series of medals at both national and international sports events.

So, what lessons do we get to learn from the film for the HR fraternity? Here’s a look:

HR Lessons from Dangal movie
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#1. Change Management

Bringing about change is not an easy task. Coming from a small village in Haryana, (a state where female infanticide/foeticide is still practised), and choosing to train two daughters as wrestlers were difficult for Mahavir Singh. Needless to say that society laughs at his gesture and even ends up ridiculing his young daughters for becoming “masculine” owing to regular wrestling. But, Mahavir’s perseverance wins in the end.

#Lesson: Perseverance and repeated sensitization of changes are the keys to effective change management. Results that follow the actions will eventually make people understand the significance of long-term results. HR department of an organisation, being the custodian of change management, should keep its focus on the results amidst the misconceptions of the employees.

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#2. Talent Acquisition and Gender Diversity

Mahavir was expecting a baby boy who would fulfil his dreams of winning a gold medal at wrestling. But his hopes are diminished when he ends up fathering four daughters. However, his hopes are reignited when he realises that his two older daughters have the potential to become professional wrestlers. He decides to make the most of his resources and thus manages to fulfil his dream. His daughters not only manage to master a sport dominated by men but also excel in it.

#Lesson: HR professionals must understand that it is more important to identify and then nurture talent, instead of focusing on gender. Also, every time it is not possible to find the ‘dream candidate’. In such cases, one needs to work on and develop existing resources, and thus achieve the goals. And, finally, yes it’s possible for women also to take up Herculean responsibility in the corporate world and perform them with ease.

#3. Training and Development

Mahavir trains Geeta and Babita on his own, and later the girls move to the National Sports Academy for further training. While they do receive training from their new coach, their past practice continues to play a significant role in shaping them as professional wrestlers.

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#Lesson: HR professionals must believe in utilizing the power of internal trainers before moving on to external training methods. After all, no one knows about the strengths and weaknesses of employees better than internal HR personnel. While external training is also helpful, one must begin with internal training before anything else.

#4. Research and Analysis

When Geeta starts to underperform consistently at international wrestling events, a concerned Mahavir carefully studies the videos of her match and analyses the weak points and eventually rectifies them in future.

#Lesson: Not everyone is perfect, and there will be ups and downs in employee performance within an organisation. But dynamic and useful analysis of the available data is the key to predicting and prescribing future actions. It is the duty of the HR personnel to implement proper human resources information systems (HRIS) and therefore, give good insight into the past and help develop new strategies ahead.

#5. Trust is a “Game Changer”

It is Mahavir’s belief in daughters’ abilities and vice versa that work in positive for them. Despite all odds, Mahavir had full faith in Geeta and Babita that eventually bears fruits for the trio.

#Lesson: Similarly, in a corporate set up, an employer or an organization must have trust in his or her employees. If the bond of trust is high, the organization as an entity will not only be able to endure all kinds of events but also conclusively become more successful.

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