Sunday, November 25, 2007

Slave for life

Why do we need to pledge loyalty to some company? Yeah.... the usual answer is cause you want them to be faithful to you in return. But these days, the concept of staying with one company is alien to most. In fact, this attitude has percolated down to objects of daily use such as refrigerators, computers, telephones, and even relationships. People only so much of something. They feel overwhelmed if they get too much of anything. Speaking about jobs though, if you ask someone firms he/she has been in in the last 5 years, and if the answer is anything less than 2, then more often than not, the other person is saying to [him/her]self "what a loser"....

What is happening here people? There used to be a time in yesteryear India when people were happy to get just about any job as long as they took some money home at the end of the month. But things have changed a lot in the last few years. Jobs are much easier to come by because of the free economy, and spread of education. People are more educated; or lets just say they know more these days than they did a few years ago at their age. This argument is true of pretty much every successive generation though. Lets not confuse education with knowledge for some time now. There is a greater demand for knowledgeable people, and jobs for such kind of people in India at least, which is now driving the job market. You see industrial expansion all around these days. IPOs coming out pretty much every month these days is indicative of the industrial revolution happening here.

But the big questions I have is "Why should I be loyal to a company for a very long time, and thus enslave myself?" The answer may not be very simple; in fact, I don't know it myself, but at this point in time, I know that I don't need to be loyal to any company. If you look at people who are loyal, and are looking to grow in the company in which they are are doing it either because of the money, or the work, or the reputation of the company or the position they will attain in the next few years, or for come amount of satisfaction and job security, or because of peer pressure, or a certain combination of all of the above. Of course, there are many more reasons that I haven't mentioned or even thought of. However, may a times, these people are kind of under productive in nature. They seem to have settled into thinking that they can not be displaced from where they are now. If there's anywhere they are going, it's up the promotion ladder. In return, the company does them favours by giving them incentives, promoting them, and sending them on foreign trips, etc.... But, is the company acting in it's own benefit? I mean consider there is this under productive person (A), and a significantly more productive person (B). A is loyal to the company, and everyone knows it, but B is a carefree kind of person who doesn't care too much for anything/anyone. The company decides to send A to the client as their front, knowing well that they could have done better by sending B, but they don't cause they know that there is a greater chance of A staying with the company for longer than B. So, if they send B now, then they might temporarily get a good response from the client, but B will leave in a while, and A will be disgruntled because he/she wasn't sent, and will become even more under productive than before, and might even leave. However, if they send A, then A will probably grow up to the responsibility, and even though he/she might not create a great first impression, he/she will possibly stay back with the company, and will grow with the company providing it with a stable and possibly reliable front. I don't know if I agree with the philosophy. I don't even know if I disagree with it. In an age where employee retainment has become a buzz word, and companies pride themselves on their employee retention rate(which is inversely proportional to their attrition rate) this makes perfect sense. But is that a measure worth looking at with great amount of seriousness? Thinking about it from a rational perspective, it makes sense, since the attrition rates speaks a lot about the company. If people are leaving, it is generally true that their expectations haven't been met one way or the other. But is compromising company reputation for employee retainment justified at any cost?