29 Aug 2011

"Corporate Loyalty" - An Oxymoron!

“Attrition is so these days! Nobody wants to stick around!” quips a corporate professional (probably some days before he decides to jump companies himself). Job hopping has become a common phenomenon these da
ys. A person who sticks for long in a company is looked at either suspiciously or sympathetically.
'Corporate Loyalty' has now been termed an oxymoron by a few pundits. Apparently no employee likes to hang around in one organization for more than 2 – 3 years. But when and why did this phenomenon occur? Cynics claim it is because we are part of the so – called impatient generation; that we do not like sticking around. I beg to differ. Are we not brand loyalists? Don't we stay loyal to brands and fail to adopt anything else even if the latter is better? Don't we have friends whom we have known for decades? We still stay in regular touch with them however busy we may be.

The answer, I believe, lies within the companies itself. It lies with their favourite word – Consolidation. This adopted concept in which they have started 'compartmentalizing' jobs is the main cause of this unrest amongst individuals.

When organizations were just planting their feet in the ground, people who joined faced challenges. Their job roles were varied and encompassed a lot of responsibilities. They were not restricted to departments, designations, procedures, manuals, etc. Instead they wrote manuals for the years to come. There was a sense of enjoyment, accomplishment. They looked forward to going to work to handle and conquer a new challenge. They stayed loyal to same company, and got rewarded accordingly. Monetary benefits did not matter much; recognition and gratitude did. They liked gifts they got from their organizations which made them feel cared for.

Then companies stabilized. They started 'consolidating'. They started restricting job roles of employees. Anything new attempted by an employee was shot down by procedures and policies. And the warmth between employees and employers ended somewhere there. Now employees are expected to do a certain amount of work, and it is compared to the amount of money they are paid. That is the new benchmark. Respect, recognition, etc. seem to be lost and salary increments, petty politics, the demand for unearthly hours without any remuneration other than monetary have taken over. The fun is gone; there are no more challenges. People have their jobs decided by the industry and it is weighed vis – a – vis their pay. Is it surprising that they jump jobs to do the same thing all over again for a slightly larger pay?

Organizations, in order to improve employee morale and loyalty, need to look at non – monetary benefits. Many claim they implement job rotation, but how beneficial is it? Organizations must look at building a more human relationship with its employees. I don't think I need to list those steps as a lot of those are already listed in books; the only problem is very few organizations care to implement them. The bond between an organization and its employees decides how 'loyal' one is to his/her organization.

21 Aug 2011

Relativity & its Impact on Perception...

Which circle is larger? For most, it is the 1st. But both are of the same size. That's the point; relativity impacts our perception.

Perception is defined as the process whereby sensory stimulation translates into organized experience. But perception, in simpler terms, is the after effect of what a person experiences in a given situation. It can vary from person to person. Interpretation and perception are inter – linked; interpretation involves making sense of a stimulus.

So you decide to buy a book. It costs $35 at the store you are currently. You decide to go onto www.flipkart.com or www.amazon.com because you believe you will get a better deal. You see it costs $28 on a website (a saving of $7) and you immediately place the order, feeling pleased about having got the book for a bargain. Now, you have to prepare for your brother's wedding and decide to buy a suit (sorry gals for being such a chauvinist, but I thought it would be better to talk about something I know about). You zero down on a suit which costs $407. But a fellow shopper whispers in your ear that the suit is available for $400 at a store 10 minutes away. Do you take that 10 minute drive to save $7 on this instance? Mostly not! But it is the same $7 we are talking about. The saving in both instances should give you the same euphoria. But perception here, is impacted by relativity. The $7 saving looks much more in a $35 deal vis – a – viś a $400 deal. The relative prices of the commodities have made all the difference in our perceptions.

We humans like to compare everything. Our scores with our classmates, our performance in office with our colleagues, our salaries with those of our close friends, etc. We even like to compare between cars, clothes, computers, mobiles, etc. when we want to buy one or even formulate an opinion. Thus, it is not the features of an object/experience that count, but its features relative to another relevant one. We feel demotivated if our existing jobs pay lesser than those of our colleagues, if our clothes or houses or cars are not as good as theirs, and start perceiving our lives as failures. We start losing self – esteem which hampers our work, our thoughts and our lives overall.

One way to get out of this mess is to genuinely be aware of this trap. And to genuinely attempt to steer clear. This can be done by conscious attempts to move away from people/situations which might make us feel inferior or unhappy. Stave clear of people who are influential or who like to flash their wares, which keep changing very often. When we compare our lives with ourselves; what happened in the past and the circumstances we have faced; we will make better sense of it. Being content will lead us to giving our best at work, home and amongst friends. So let your perception be free of any comparison, or the concept of relativity. Try it, and do let me know if you see a visible difference for the better.

11 Aug 2011

Why Global Companies Prefer Indians At the Helm...

This article is dedicated to successful Indians at the helm of a lot of global companies; and many more still to come.

What do you think is one of India's leading exports? Time magazine has recently given an interesting answer to this. It says that CEOs are one of India's most important exports to global companies.
Yes, if you look around the global boardroom, the evidence comes pouring. There is a long list of Indians heading global companies. Anshu Jain was recently named co-CEO of Deutsche Bank. This means that once Jeurgen Fitschen retires, we'll see an Indian leading Europe's most powerful bank. Vikram Pandit is already the top boss of Citigroup. Indra Nooyi heads Pepsico. Sanjay Jha heads Motorola.Vindi Banga once led the food and personal care behemoth Unilever before he became a partner at a private-equity firm. His brother, Ajay Banga, was last year elevated to the position of CEO of MasterCard. We could go on naming many more names. In fact, even Warren Buffett has an Indian by the name of Ajit Jain heading his reinsurance business. And he's also one of the probable candidates who will take over the reins of Berkshire H athaway from the Oracle of Omaha .

It's clear that Indians are the preferred breed for the top jobs at global companies. But what makes them so apt for the position? Let's go the other way round. What is it that global companies value the most apart from obvious things like knowledge and leadership skills? The answer is multiculturalism! In an increasingly globalised world, you need leaders who can easily merge into different cultures, adapt to different environments and have the skills to deal with changing and challenging business dynamics. Interestingly, many Indians grow up doing exactly those kinds of things.

India has a rich and varied culture. We have 29 languages, each of which is spoken by at least a million people. There are another 122 which are spoken by at least 10,000 people. Apart from linguistic diversity, we have people following different religions. So Indians learn early on to mix and adapt with various cultures and traditions. That puts them at ease when faced with similar situations in the global arena.

Secondly, Indians learn the precious art of negotiation pretty well given the political red tape that they have to face in their native country. They learn to kick open rigid doors or create new ones if the need be. The third important ingredient is the gift of the English language, a legacy left by our erstwhile colonial masters.

These facts are some which have led to more and more companies wanting to have Indians on board. Let's hope our entrepreneural spirit stays as strong as it is (if not become better) and more Indians find their way to the top around the world.

courtesy - Equitymaster.
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