Dec 10, 2008

Employer Employee Relations in Indian IT industry



IT Entrepreneur Abhishek Rungta posts on his blog

And suddenly, the situation has taken a u-turn. Companies are laying off their "talent bank" for which they fought so ferociously. The guy who walks out of office today is not sure, if his job is here to stay when he reaches office the next day. The morale is at all time low. Employees are finding it difficult to trust an employer. The question is - "Will he sack me today?"
This is an environment of extremes and uncertainty. This is an environment of relationship without trust. And, this is going to worsen with every cycle on up-and-down.
So, Who is to be blame? And more importantly, how this cycle can be broken? OR, Can this be at all checked?

In my opinion,
This environment is a result of a number of social-commercial factors, like:

  • Employee side:
    • Desire for overnight riches and i-want-to-retire-young mindset
    • Career objective not properly defined. (Corollary: Objective=money)
    • Peer pressure. Comparison of lifestyle. Increase in jealousy.
    • Spending more than the earning!
    • Gaining experience without gaining competence (i.e. 12 years of experience looked like 1 year of real experience repeated 12 times over! - which eventually remains 1 year of experience)
  • Employer Side:
    • Inexperienced and poor management
    • Unavailability of proper HR professionals (Hint: NOT those people who think HR = headhunting)
    • Treating employees as commodities
    • Not sticking to the basics
    • Lack of strategic insight into one’s business
Currently, the problem is in a virtuous cycle, and it is difficult to break it, since it is not based on a tangible outcome. It is purely based on emotions! And, if this cycle is not broken soon, it will intensify and re-occur more frequently.

This is what I commented on his post:
The two big issues that need to be resolved are:

1. What is the business leaders’ expectations from HR? If it is just recruitment, then they will always equate HR with headhunting and only hire such HR people. In some ways NASSCOM and other industry body should raise awareness on how IT leaders can leverage HR for better value.
2. Often smaller niche firms have a junior HR exec/manager who cannot advise/coach senior business leaders on people processes and issues, and also cannot push back on business decisions that might impact people aspects. Such firms might need to engage a senior HR consultant to act as a de facto HR leader for direction and strategising.