"Recession" is a much revered or should I rather say feared word all across the globe today. It is no longer restricted to the crash of the Wall Street in United States. And my friends, how I love it when the big bosses of the Indian sub continent debate and introspect over gallons of coffee in the centrally air-conditioned board rooms, on how the Wall Street crash is affecting their business back home. "Pink Slip" is not something of which only the Americans are afraid today. It can be issued to any one, anytime at any part of the globe. It is a different ball game all together that the bigger business houses have always been quicker to recover and had been rarely affected by the recession and have always earned mullahs.
The cynic in me tells me that many entrepreneurs and top executives just look for an excuse to reduce head counts using "the global recession" as a feeble excuse. These are tough and turbulent times, no doubts about that, but I my personal opinion is that increasing productivity by terminating manpower without realigning and retraining them or giving them ample scope to position them in new roles is actually a criminal offence. On the other hand, the optimist in me tries to tell me the laws of economics reigns supreme and the top executives are generally visionaries who need to take the companies ahead without letting ineffective people piggy-ride on its success. Moreover companies are not running for doing charity programs.
What scares and disappoints me further is the age of indifference we all are living through in India. We have little time to think and empathize about our colleagues who have been given the pink slip. What is probably most hurtful is when an employee gives his best for the company for years and on one fine morning he is shown the doors. The most common excuse the superiors come up with is that his skill or position has become redundant in the company. Amazing stuff...after years , one fine morning the people who call the shots realize this. With due regards to Mr. Narayan Murthy of the Infosys fame, I disagree that we should stop loving our company because one never knows when the company stops loving us.
My logic for differing is quite simple. Why blame the company (though in commerce, a company is a separate legal entity) when the absence of adequate backup plans for the manpower seems to be the root cause of the problem? I also believe that a strong employee friendly Human Resource department has to play the most crucial role in such circumstances. Being associated with the corporate world I have seen how much employees trust and revere their HR persons and when the same HR guy hands him the pink slip along with his reporting boss, he feels no less than what perhaps Julius Caesar must have felt when Brutus had betrayed him.
Funnily enough my NRI friends are quick enough to always point it out to me while they are travelling to India that they are astonished to see the high purchasing capacity of Indians whenever they visit the malls. India remained the largest consumer of gold in the world in the year 2011. Around 20% of the world's gold demand is from India. Isn't this contradictory to what we have always read in our economic Textbooks?
Isn't a recession characterized by low economic activity? But of course we are experiencing the most critical characteristic of recession like high unemployment all around us. But what about the low house hold incomes with which recession is also associated ? When we see the big fat Indian weddings around us, the urban middle class families flocking to the expensive restaurants and wearing branded garments, and with families not missing the latest blockbusters and watching them at expensive multiplexes, recession seems to be a far-fetched thought.
Finally to conclude with, I must say that the top executives need to be visionaries and not just gear up their companies to become money making machines. Human resource has always been our asset so we must always be empathetic and ensure that proper manpower realignment plan is in place.
About Author / Additional Info:
The author resides in Kolkata, West Bengal India and while she is not spending time with her 11 year old daughter, she loves reading, writing, travelling and listening to music.