2021: Look back to look forward:2022

Before we jump!!

2021!! A year of tough love. It is the year which taught us the important life lessons bluntly. It tried to bludgeon the lessons into us.

One of the biggest lessons is never take other people for granted. 2021 taught this with two phenomenon. The second wave of Covid and the phenomenon called “The Great Resignation”. The second wave taught this lesson in personal life. We lost near and dear ones in every walk of life. The second taught that one loses important people of the team in professional life, in a matter of a 2 KB email.

Surprisingly, both could be handled much better if senior and mid level management of Governments and Corporates have taken ethically correct decisions in 2020.

Covid will never be controlled until we take care of our neighbors. All Governments know that they need to share their vaccines with poorer nations. Until all are vaccinated, the virus will keep on evolving. The solution is not giving booster to your own country, but to share those vaccines. This is a step, which will never go down easy, in a democratic world. Democracy runs on the very idea of “of the people, for the people, and by the people”. The “people” here are voters, and other countries do not vote for you. Hence, it is a no brainer not to help non-voters.

Vaccine is shared!!

At the height of vaccine shortage in India, the so-called Super daddy of the world, decided to hold ingredients to make surplus of vaccines for themselves. Some diplomat even came out saying “ It is in the interest of the World, that we save American Lives”.

One thing though makes me feel proud, even in the so many catastrophes, is India took the ethically correct step in vaccine policy. India shared it’s resources with less privileged. It did attracted flak from some people, but I felt it is a decision worth standing by. It is morally and ethically, the correct step. Also, it is the only way to control the evolution of the virus, which we are now seeing at the fag end of 2021. This has the potential to disrupt 2022.

The Great Resignation

While at ethics, there is another fall out that we can see is “The Great Resignation”. 2021 is all about resignations. Be it people who have been for a short while or for a long time with the company, they are all leaving. Attrition with certain skill sets have reached dizzying heights of 50% or may be more. So what is going on ? It is a perfect storm.

Companies are going for transformation, some doing it because they feel it is required, others doing it because they have FOMO ( Fear Of Missing Out). Aggressive transformation created a demand of certain skillsets, and there is a huge lack of supply and hence the disruption in the job industry.

Reduce cost to Optimize Profit

But, the actual reason, is something that has been happening for last 5 years. A major ethical dilemma that Corporate leadership have avoided. There is always a huge pressure for maximizing profit. Before the current Transformation Tsunami, there was a lull in revenue. So the only way to manage the profit was to reduce operational cost. In Banking/IT Industry, the biggest operation cost is human labor/wage. In India, IT is a major industry, and so we are seeing the affects more vividly.

In the last 5 years, the yearly salary increments were consistently less than the national inflation. This means that instead of at least keeping the take home equal to the expense of the employees, the Companies took money back from employees to inflate their balance sheets.

Senior and mid level management decided not to act. They delayed promotions, they worked on the boundaries of truth and lies with their teams. All this to meet the year end financial targets. Yes, revenue might have been slow, but then transparency increases trust and loyalty. The slow erosion of trust created a tinderbox full of resignation letters. It just needed the match stick called “Transformation”, and then “Houston, we have resignationS”.

Now, we are trying to retain, we are offering promotions, matching competitor offers, but these all sound hallow. We have failed on the ethical front. We are no longer the leader whom the team is ready to follow. We are no longer trust worthy. We are just managers. Covid has made it worse. Since now change of job means only a change in email id and a hardware change. In certain cases the replaced hardware of same make and model. The work space is same home office.

Back to Office

The Companies are waking up and new mantra is “Back to Office”. The erosion on the trust front for Management is so high, teams are saying it is because they feel, the bring to office is for more micro management and more productivity. On the contrary, everyone in management knows that work from home has increased productivity, so why back to office. Simple answer, increase employee engagement. Make them feel part of the company. Give the employees a place where they feel they belong too. Supposedly, will make it harder for them to leave.

But these are all like treating for the fever, and not the infection which is causing the fever. First and foremost, our leadership needs to make teams feel secure and valued. We need to take the ethically correct steps. We need to ensure that we stick to ethically correct decisions. Not wait till our hands are forced. Bring the trust back, then bring the employees back, since trust is foundation to feel that we all belong together.

Next year let’s make it all about “Do unto the team as you would do unto yourself” . Identify who deserves that promotion, propose their names. Identify people who are doing their bits appreciate them. Take the ethically correct steps. Take care of the team, the team will take care of your company and you. Once the joy is back in the team, results are guaranteed, be it balance sheet or reputation. Year 2022, let’s get the show on road!! Wish you All A Happy New Year!! Stay Safe, Stay Ethical!!

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Any random issue that catches authors mind is converted into a story

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Satrajit Samanta

Satrajit Samanta

I help Citibank to maintain and improve it’s market presence by bridging the IT solutions with the current business and customer needs and demands.

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