Are We Really Perturbed About Our Employment Brand? – A Case Study.

The facts

I happened to be in discussion with a youngster who pitched in for a job with a well renowned American BPO, recently. She was happy earning some money for herself and her contribution to the family. She took pride in watching her learning curve ascending; experiences were unparalleled. Her seniors were empathising with her, whenever the need arose. She spoke very high of the work environment, which many of us today are not so confident about. She was in the groove. But she had an extremely dreadful observation about the transportation system. I checked with and Amazingly, every word of hers was significantly true to the core. An additional fact, which was revealed through the reviews available on these sites, was that the organisation did not have a very good reputation about its remuneration payouts and was suitable only for starters. I am sure this person, I was talking to, was not comfortable revealing her compensation figures. Hence probably she avoided highlighting it. Despite the two cons, she was enjoying her job.

I soon recalled my own observations over a period of time, as a layman, as a HR professional and as a Road Safety expert; and started building a perspective that beheld different adverse repurcussions that a celebrated organisation would have to confront. A view about this organisation and those alike, is evidently not a “plus”. Afterall lower payments could perhaps still be sustainable if the learning curve is pleasantly soaring and the operative climate is healthy with guidance and compassion available most of the times, but how does one cope with a murderous transportation? The option of availing public transport is ruled out for staff who work at odd hours, in late night shifts catering to the customers in Europe or the US. Those transport contractors who run the show, have demonised the pick up and drop back. Not only, do they not respond favourably to the Fleet Manager appointed by the management of the company, to properly coordinate, but also pay no heed to the grievances of the travelling staff, whose heartbeats gallop as they are driven to and fro. Road safety norms go for a sixer… on the contrary, wrong overtaking, flouting the Motor Vehicles’ Rules, risking lives of other drivers and pedestrians, embed into their routine. Such rash driving ends up with accidents and crashes. What matters to the contractors, is just the number of trips made and the payments that accrue from them!

When the ITES launched itself in the country, post globalisation, it shot a craze amongst youngsters, (Gen X) with glamourous salaries by the standards of those days, a fabulous colourful workspace, coffee machines close to the work stations, for enjoying short breaks and an eating zone looking like a modern-day food court. These call centres/knowledge centres attracted the youth in multitudes including school and college dropouts. Almost seventeen years later all these have become hygiene factors for most of the youngsters, and these highlights do not motivate them anymore. To make matters worse, the expectations of the millenials are by far differently packaged.

The Inferences

One single negative attribute of an organisation can prove to be disastrous. As said earlier, it was alright to offer lower salaries, when as an employer you are content incurring increased training costs and attracting only freshers. It is certain that the compensation overtures made, are to restrain the costs and thus would not captivate trained professionals. Therefore it becomes imperative to incur advanced costs to sustain your employment brand, in areas, which make your employee speak high of you. This certainly includes the means of transportation and its quality, particularly when alternatives weren’t available and the employee was entirely dependent on your transportation system. Being penny wise and pound foolish may work for immediate profitability, but assuredly in years to come, it would be an absurd proposition to continue with such a botched up fleet management. (I was astonished to note that this very organisation has contributed to an astoundingly insightful research on transportation and logistics). Apart from poor impressions implied, it tantamounts to playing with the lives of those who are hired to run the business. The fundamental hygiene factor stands challenged. None of the motivating factors could possibly balance it out. Could the organisation boast about its employment brand?

Corporate social responsibility was made mandatory in India inApril 2014, through amendments in the The Companies Act of 2013 and elevated this nation to be the first in the world to make such a commitment. However, the organisation in the present context had been perhaps exposed to the idea much prior to that, for being a multinational, it certainly saw how globally, the concept had been gaining momentum since the 1960s. Subjects such as corporate conscience, I am sure was well ingrained. But when we revert to discussing the transport arrangements, it reveals otherwise. The hinterland has been put to road safety risks in abundance; we continue to see the deployment of monstrous SUVs that are owned by contractors with a ‘who cares’ attitude and left in the hands of sleepy fatigued drivers who are just out to complete the required number of trips, they have been asked to achieve. Instead of proving to be a boon to the society at large, here’s an activity that allows you to lose your sleep, more so disappointing your concern for road accidents!

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