Article (August-2018)


Employees relations @ Engagement

R. N. Mishra

Designation : -   Consultant - HRM

Organization : -  Tata Steel, Jamshedpur


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The emerging shifts in economic paradigm over the last decade have now taken a definitive form. Organizations have not only to provide goods and services that are world class and competitively priced, but they must also constantly innovate to anticipate and respond to emerging market conditions, where customer - centricity is the most preferred value. Speed, quality, service and innovation have therefore to be the characteristics of organizational life to deliver this value. In this new context, will older dynamics of managing employee cooperation work? Or is it first a question of clarifying, if not questioning, our approach towards engaging our employees to the highest state of passion and excitement? Or is it a question of examining our perspectives : do we need to engage employees; or do we hold that engaging must lead to a cooperative workplace order where our objective would be customer delight through employee care and involvement? Today, enlightened employers are doing soul - searching as to what has caused indifference to cooperation on the part of gen-Y employees, which leads to questioning their people - management systems, policies and architecture. No matter what our perspective or our concerns, organizations cannot deliver in the new era without consciously building organizational cooperation as a strategic priority.
Since about a decade now, the trust deficit between the employers and the employees have been highly visible resulting in strikes, lockouts, work stoppages, and physical assault in several industries. The corporate violence is a new twist to escalating poor employee's relations, taking lives of the senior management members. The incident that happened at Maruti Suzuki Limited is still fresh in the mind. It is very worrisome to observe the decline taking place in the 'employees Relations'. The latest incident of brutal assault on the senior management member Mr. Aslam Kothali of Z-F Steering, Pune on 21-03-2018, and his succumbing to the injuries, is a serious incident of Corporate violence, and the root cause lies in the long history of discord taking place, much, much before 2-3 years. Unfortunately, Owners, Production Heads, even the HR mangers are erring on wrong side insisting for production and productivity scaling, reduction in labour cost, generation of revenue and taking casual attitude towards grievance handling, welfare measures, employee happiness & satisfaction, fairness in employees related decisions, working conditions, wage related issues, work-life balance and so on and so forth. They are overlooking the paradigm shift in the demography of the employees and the economy. The employees are more and more learned, understand their rights and privileges well and more concern about fulfillment of their urge and aspirations. Their loyalty has changed to their commercial attitude. They too demand equitable justice and fair play.
The rampant mode of "out sourcing activities", more engagement of contract labours, disparity of wages and allied benefits, have further worsened the industrial relations in general and employee's relations in particular. The employers have still not able to accept the ground realities and treating the contract labours unfairly, even unethically, without appreciating the bare minimum expectations of them. This inflammable mass is highly volatile and can ignite fire on a moment of provocation.
The central government with all it's noble intentions introducing several schemes for generating employment and employability. But they are only being used by many employers for reducing cost and allied benefits. The schemes like OJT, EPP, NEEM have not stabilized to secure guarantee to employment. They are being used to 'use and throw' mechanism. The 'fixed term employment' is a double edged sword, unless implemented with the spirit behind it. While about 30,000 ITIs or Diploma Holders are entering the labour market every day, they have only uncertain future. This is one of the reason that they adopt militancy in their behavior. This is a matter of great concern and requires immediate attention of the business leaders. Their engagement is vital and must be understood with clarity and transparence. The roll of FDIs and FIIs are further complicating the 'employees relations'.