Sunday, October 3, 2010

A wicked pink slip

On a regular brighter Friday morning, everybody walks inside office rollicking and rolling towards their cubicle, looking forward to a great day at work and more importantly, the weekend which is staring and smiling back at them. The feeling on a regular Friday of the week is admittedly radically different from any other working day and it indeed is the day everybody longs for. This undeniably is my ideal Friday.

But again, what if, on that very grand Friday evening, at about four past forty-five minutes, a letter is placed on your desk which rattles off details of how you have been a burden to the organization after over 10yrs of service, and getting even more humiliating…the letter orders you to leave and vacate the premises at the very spur of the moment.

Feels like a slap on the face
After running your eye balls through the violent and ruthless letter addressed to you, you almost go out of breath…desperately throwing your hands to grab the air pump to calm those tensed and strayed bronchioles inside your lungs. You then gather your nerves and wits together, and like a true Gandhian you non-violently walk out of the office, bidding goodbye to the company which is so dear to you.

Well, this is exactly what happened to a person I know…and putting myself in that person’s shoes, I can imagine the disgraced and the revengeful feeling that life takes you through at that point in time.

Different situations demand different actions
Today most organizations are grieving bad weather conditions due to global recession which has hit this planet big time. Only if we could do business with another planet…things would breakeven. But then, since we do not have that choice, corporations follow the retrenchment route towards reducing cost.

Well, then there are those organizations which face theft, fraud or dishonesty committed by their employees. Corporations then get busy taking disciplinary actions against such cunning and devious minds. Reminds me of Mr. Ramlinga Raju, founder of the once prestigious company, Satyam Computers, who siphoned off 40.8 million dollars raised by the company.

Then there are those set of people who are mere non-performers belonging to the lower strata of the organization tree. These are vulnerable employees that organizations use as scapegoats to fulfill their profit aspirations.

The person who is mentioned in my real story is someone who belonged to the low-cadre, who indeed fell victim to the gory acts of the management. In fact, the organization ripped off her fundamental rights of dignity and social justice by blatantly giving her only fifteen minutes till she could assimilate the fact of her dismissal. The victim was made to feel like a criminal who was caught for draining out money from company accounts.

Well, a food-for-thought to the management is that, if you really have to ask an employee to quit because of poor performance, you need to make sure that you give that employee a dignified exit, without straying away from his constitutional rights.

Know you rights
It is very important that employees know their constitutional and fundamental rights that are applicable irrespective of the position he holds in the corporate tree. The Industrial Dispute Act (IDA) applicable to all workers in India is a very important document which stresses on how the accused employee must be given a chance to defend himself and then only he/she should be pronounced as guilty.

“It is the duty of the organization to legally issue a show-cause notice to the employee, giving him a chance to explain,” says Advocate Wasnik, who carries 40yrs of experience in the field of labour laws. It was my privilege to discuss with Advocate Wasnik who gave me an insight saying that employees in the support roles (who are mostly victimized) have more legal rights than those who belong to the managerial cadre. Furthermore, he said that IDA is applicable only to the workmen category…and that if the management is unhappy with employee performance, the company not only has to evidence the facts, but also needs to give the employee the right to explain and justify.

So, it is very important that we know our rights and the laws abiding with it. But, only wish that the legal procedures and processes were simpler for employees, challenges would have been much easier to tackle.

To get a dig into the Industrial Dispute Act, download the IDA at Download

Post script: Well, in that case, educated souls in the management who make such illiterate and illegitimate decisions need to attend a diploma programme in Gandhian studies…which will teach them to rebuild their conscience without losing out on competition.

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Before I sign out, as I always say take very good care of yourself and God Bless!

1 comment:

Uma said...

Hi Mearl,

Thanks 4 the thought provocating debatable article, “Pink Slip” is indeed a dreaded word which sent shivers across the helpless employees in Corporate world, while the Company manages to use it ruthlessly at their convenience. Ur article comes up with information on IDA, which each n every employee ought to know. Honestly I have been naive of this. Thanks for enlightening.

Companies just need any excuse to hand over a “Pink slip”. Viz : Non Performers, Economy downturn, Whistleblowers r just some of the absurd excuses.

•Non performer is just a lame excuse, how can in the 1st place he/she b continuing to b employed for more than a years if he/she is/was a non-performer?
•In the name Economy/Global Meltdown. Corporate have grossly abused and misused these adjectives for their whims and fancies.
•Out of the box thinking/Innovation is something on which u need to thread very carefully, ur immediate boss may not be able to digest if it is going to b applauded. Wherein his job could be threatened. The quickest solution is to just axe the employee.

Being part of the corporate world for more than 2 decades, I can share my bitter experience wherein the so called Managers do NOT want to c a Smarter, Intelligent subordinate or some one who has a potential to raise above all adversary to get more business. No matter how much u differentiate yourself fm the peer group or build a stronger profile personally, professionally n technically. It goes all in vain if ur Boss n HR just cannot read it or turns a blind eye. U need to be a casting couch.

Company boost of CSR, “We Care” jargons which r just hypocritical, these adjectives are only to showcase their brand but in reality it is quite the opposite. HR policies r conveniently implemented/applied with different yard stick to employees thus losing the creditability of the HR/Management.
It is sad to be shown the door just around the close of working hours on a Friday while he/she prepares for a weekend. I am sure it must have come as a rude shock and shattered all dreams. It cud be as if u r on the death row waiting to go to gallows. This 2 coming for a employee who is at the lower strata of Organization Chart n who cannot defend or is ignorant of the rules, this shows the poverty of ambition on the Management to handle this case. Wonder if the Management had drained all the possible options.

I need to raise a question as to who decide if a employee is non-performer or not???

Sitting in Management meeting, the person who Chairs calls a shot, every other member needs to second or unanimously pass the warrant o/wise any opposition will invite trouble for him/her. It all boils down to b a “Yes Minister”. The only qualifying criteria to succeed in corporate world are b “Good to ur boss” he is ur ticket to success who comes in a form of “Godfather”.

Today’s corporate world demands to “Co-Operate silently n blindly”. If u can call an Orange an Apple u reach the top. V have impotent Management who are interested not in the organization but in their personal wish list and r time server. Employee’s r not commodities to use n throw like a toilet paper.

Can V hope to c a change in this trend ??

Management/HR need to be Honest, Unbiased, Open without any hidden agenda, Transparent, Accountable and willing to take suggestion fm employees. I believe each n every employee is gifted with a hidden talent, which can contribute to the growth.It is the task of HR to tap/extract/motivate these resources. This calls for Matured Leadership n commitment who does not get cowed down or dilutes the principles.

As India grows, talent retention, career road mapping/growth is something which each one of us look forward for.

Let me end with a quote fm John Kotter “

“People are more inclined to be drawn in if their leader has a compelling vision. Great Leaders help people get in touch with their own aspirations and then will help them forge those aspirations into a personal vision”

Keep writing, TC