When he called me that evening, his voice was broken. There was a pall of gloom and uncertainty. He had gone home from Bahrain on a short leave to bring his wife and kid, after a salary hike the month before. He was all happy, as he had identified a little flat for the small family and had even purchased a car.
The mail was simple: ‘You need not come back! Relocate to Mumbai where the company has a small facility.’
That was almost like a bolt from the blue, and the young man was worried. Mumbai was not his cup of tea, despite the charm attributed to it. Moreover, he was all set to build his family life in Bahrain. It is not just the distance of around 1600 kilometres from Bahrain to Mumbai that made the difference; for one can claim that across the Arabian Sea one is nearer home. But everyone has certain dreams and ambitions that make their lives move forward.
His loans were in the bank in Bahrain, and if he leaves the place, there will be several complications. Also, his wife was all cheers when he said they are going to live together after a long gap. Life should not crumble like a house of cards.
But what could he do?
Certain realities unfurl like this. Ironically, his manager was not taken into confidence before the marching order was issued – even his senior colleagues were kept in the dark.
When I told him not to worry and catch the flight, I was not sure whether he would be able to join his office that claims to be highly corporate in attitude, where ‘hire and fire’ is the order of the day.
In a smaller corporate environment, you may be able to have some intervention, but the problem is that such places do not have a proper HR policy and never follow the practice of informing the higher officials concerned. Everything happens at the personal level. If you are not in the good books of the management, you would be shown the door!
“I do not like him; hence he is not fit for the job” is the egoistic answer some of them give. In a workplace, if just one person’s personal interest is deciding the future of an employee, it is not a good sign. There should be certain amount of job security that would naturally improve the reputation of the company and employee engagement, which would, in turn, help the company achieve better results.
How do you expect someone to perform better when there is the Sword of Damocles over his head?
As I was referring this incident to another friend, he said the corporate world is thinking very narrowly in its approach towards the employees, which would affect the company in the long run. In a company where there is uncertainly and the fear of the pink slip, how would you work for long without stress? You cannot go to the office every morning anticipating a pink slip, or a transfer order to a remote location where you are sure you would not be able to survive.
This happens in many places, from Elon Musk’s Twitter to the global e-commerce platform Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, among other products and services. The post-Covid corporate world is not that bright for any employee, and the job loss blue continues.
But, if the smaller companies also follow the same policy to satisfy their vested interests and personal ego, the story would be different and disastrous. An employer becomes powerful when he/she is able to accept an employee irrespective of the personal interest and lets him/her work as long as his/her attitude never causes any financial burden or becomes a blot on the reputation of the company.
It is bit too embarrassing that one fine morning I come to the office to find out that my junior colleagues have been transferred, without my knowledge, which would make me a stranger in my own office. But that is the reality which many people pass through because the HR policies are often formulated taking into account certain vested interests.
Or, is there an HR policy at all in many of these working places that promote servitude than professionalism?