I heard about the layoffs at my previous organization today. And needless to say, I am disturbed. So were Meesum and Rajat. And I am sure a whole lot of us who have already quit the organization. The agony, confusion and frustration of those still at Inductis, is certainly not something that I even want to talk about.
But why I am even concerned?
I left the firm about 6 months back. But a part of me is still there. I still am in love with the people and the company I grew up with (professionally)
How it all started
Today just took me back by a little more than 2 years. October 2004, when I had joined Inductis. It acted, worked and felt like a wonderful place. Energy, Respect and Smartness - 3 words that I would have used to describe the Inductis of then. With 100% of my cribs being genuine, I was in love with the firm. I loved the people. I loved the culture. I cribbed about the faults of the company, fully knowing that there are faults that take time to be taken care of. Those were some wonderful times when Shumeet was asked to go for recruitment at NSIT on the very first day he joined the firm, and Aman was found pushing my car in the parking of First India Place at 10 in the night, ably supported by the lean mean machine, Ashish Bang (I wonder if he can even push move a mosquito, given his awesome physique) !
.. And how it ends
Today, I feel pity. For what remains of an exciting firm, is a bunch of leaders who look and sound more like a petty traders, sitting at the corpse of a hundred aspirations trying to make a few quick bucks.
What do I think is wrong with this Layoff* (even though I am all for performance orientation and counselling out* if someone does not perform after repeated chances)?
1. Not giving people a chance to improve. Any employee centric firm should have given the people a warning, a chance to pull up their socks!
2. Catching them off guard. If you are bigger, stronger than the person you are going to hurt, you offer handicaps.. rather than keeping as many as possible with yourself.
3. I've heard that some of retrenchment is not even of under-performers. They are of decent/ok/average performers. Reason given - we have made some losses. I don't think six bad months (especially given that you sold yourself to a "bigger" company that would have enabled you to generate enough cash flow to invest in the business) should lead to such brutality.
4. For me... its the biggest setback to what I have always believed Inductis to be. Till sometime back, we used to talk about it... "We've never asked our people to leave. We believe in staying with them, and giving them more than a chance". Things surely have changed to something where people are let go of without even a warning.
The bottomline is - The company does not care about its people anymore.
Anyone ready to take the blame? I don't think so!
*Layoffs/Firings/Counselling Outs - The way I see it, today, there is a difference between these three terms.
Counselling out is when the firm does not believe that this person fits the company's expected performance levels anymore, and is asked to gradually exit the form in a mutually beneficial manner, where (s)he gets a month or more to find a new job. Usually, in counsel-outs, employees are given a chance to pull up their socks and try and perform (within a 3 month window), failing which they will have to move on. They are put on support/improvement programs.
Firings - When someone is being asked to leave based on his performance levels, or some other organizational issues (such as misconduct, sexual harassment, etc.)
Layoffs- When performance is not the real issue. You just want to let people go and immediately so. Because, you don't think you can care for them anymore. Because they are a burden. Or, maybe, because you've lost the means to support them (and you are too proud to admit so)
[Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are solely of the writer. Based on what he's seen, heard and felt, and do not represent anyone else's views or concerns]