Monday, January 5, 2009

Employer - employee relationships post global recession

Employer employee relationships will undergo a permanent change. In good times every company proclaimed employees to be their most important asset and when the good times became history, the most important assets have turned to become the most important liability to be pruned with immediate effect. So what do employees have to make out of this mixed signal?

As it is the relationship between the employer and the employee has been eroding from that of a life long one to that of a few years. Individuals found more options of employers and chose not to stick to any one employer right through their career. This transient nature of relationship between the employees and the employers is only going to get accentuated with the current round of lay offs. Employees are going to ask why is that we should pledge our loyalty to companies when companies themselves follow a use and throw or rather a hire and fire policy.

Engagement of employees cannot be seen in isolation or an absolute. It is relative to the business performance of the company. Business comes first. Employees have never been and can never be first. The claims to the contrary could be considered hollow with intentions to mislead or made sincerely with no appreciation of business realities. But when one sees the behaviour of the large seasoned and mature organisations who also follow the same ways as that of young upcoming organisations, in misleading the employees to believe that they come first and forever, one wonders whether this is fraud or oversight.

Acceptance of such a contactual service centric relationship between the individual and organisation is good for both. Organisation need not spend their time and energy on the frills like outings, get togethers, training, tonnes of feel good activities. They can be very focused on the work which is at the core of the service centric relationship. Similalry individuals will not expect such frills and will judge organisations by the quality of work. The quality of work will attract the quality of talent.

Individuals will grow and see things in the right way. That they are service providers and employers are service seekers. As long as there is honorable give and take they will be together. Else goodbye, we will find our way. Employers do not have an obligation to support in me in good and bad times. Neither do I have an obligation to support organisations in good and bad times. Let each of us find what is best for us. Individuals therefore need to behave like service providers. Be current and up to date, hone your skills and be marketable, develop the skills and talent which is wanted in the market, be aware of the various service seekers who will want your talent, plan your finances in a manner that businesses should - build reserves for the bad times, invest wisely, spend within your means,

Next time someone tells you that you are an asset to the organisation, you know it is a juvenile joke.