“I truly believe that if you take care of your employees they will take care of your business”
I met a friend the other day, who has ventured on an entrepreneurial journey by launching a start-up. He seemed to be very excited and his business model sounded impressive to me. Over a cup of coffee, as we got into a conversation on the challenges and realms of his business, I felt something muffling my mind. He expressed his discontentment with the way his employees performed. I was aghast to hear that within six months, he hired 15 employees and fired almost 10 within 2 months of their joining the organization.
As a strong believer in the human spirit and a humble researcher of Human resource management, I found this weird and disturbing.
How on earth can any organization, small or big, new or old ever prosper or grow with such a practice?
Covid 19, unlocked Pandora’s box. Diseases, deaths, loss of livelihoods, loans, fears, and apprehensions swept across the world. Horrifying images of millions of migrant labourers walking hundreds of kilometers with bleeding feet, hungry stomachs, parched throats.-thrown into the unpredictable dungeon of hopelessness and misery.
Yet the human spirit wins and will always win.
There were people everywhere who came forward to feed, to provide shelter, to donate so that there would be some reprieve.
There was a great lesson hidden in the pandemic for organizations - To fight or flight; To accommodate or adopt severance; to hold or let go; to stand by or throw away.
Companies need to investigate, meditate on ways, and means to uphold employee morale since it is the employees who make the business run.
Choosing short term easy options like terminating employees from work, cutting down medical bills, pushing people to the corner will only lead organizations towards gloom and despondency.
It is more than necessary for the management of organizations to hold their nerves, to feel the pulses, to understand the undercurrents of the situation, and have a long-term vision.
What should organizations do?
The answer is simple: Stay cool and focus on employee employment, health, and engagement
I can see some believers of certain ideologies based on hire and fire laughing their hearts out and probably thinking what an insane person I am and imaginative or simply poor economics.
However, It’s not as difficult as it is perceived to be.
How do we lay impetus on employee employment, health, and engagement when getting returns is questionable?
First things first
- Companies can adopt remote working for a period of 2 to 3 years with some pay cut.
- Companies may cut down on transportation, on some fringe benefits, but not jobs
- Companies may start online reskilling and up-gradation of employees for broadening the horizon of their potentials
- Companies may start virtual parties, get together, the celebration of events and festivals to keep people engaged, motivated, and feel like a family
- In the absence of physical proximity, miscommunication or less communication plays the devil’s game. Hence, a systematic, open communication protocol must be put in place.
- It may also be suggested that depending on the critical nature of jobs, the decision to engage people on a work from the home basis, or weekly working for a few days from home and alternatively from office, or working from the office regularly should be decided.
- Companies should conduct regular health check-up of employees and also ensure that medical bill reimbursements are not cut down
- On the other hand, incentive plans for employees for remaining healthy and productive should be devised.
- Workshops, both virtual and physical for boosting employee morale, helping them manage stress, churning their leadership and corporate citizenship behaviour are essential.
“It is inevitable that some defeat will enter the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated. It is finished when it surrenders”
It is for the management of organizations to decide whether they want to tread on the path of Leadership, increase their brand image, win employee ownership and continue to be coursing towards a sound and sturdy legacy.