Monday, October 23, 2006

Infosys is talking about hiring

The last two posts on the Infosys official blog has been about candidates behaving unprofessionally in appearing for the interviews or accepting offers (because they have multiple options). The latest post (in parts) goes like this:

Some readers have pointed out that employers need to be equally professional in their relationships with employees. I agree. When the tables are turned, employers in the past have been known to treat their employees with little regard. Having seen two close friends go through lay-offs, I can attest to the callousness (deliberate or otherwise) that can be involved when the situation is not handled correctly.

However, none of this negates the fact that employees are now hitting back, collectively as it were. No longer loyal, willing to switch at the “drop of a hat”, and unwilling to keep commitments, talent has now firmly entered the realm of unprofessionalism. I have had multiple cases where after accepting an offer in writing, prospective employees have not informed the company that they will not be joining after all. These days you can be sure that you have actually filled an open position only when the employee shows up on Day 1. (Emphasis mine)

Employees may do this temporarily, when the market is good, the rest of the time employers do it big time. Well, an anecdote can be matched by an anecdote. I can give you the other side of the story.

An employer wooed me with perfect behavior till I accepted the offer in writing. As soon as I accepted it, their behavior changed like anything (I had negotiated for a two month waiting time before joining, I was to visit Ladakh). Of course, I started looking for another job when they started throwing tantrums and got it. When I wanted to communicate this to them, it was so difficult to get hold of the relevant person on the line till I told them I am calling to say I won't join.

And guess what, I work in academics, people who teach the students how to become professionals!

But what struck me as most glaring is this talk about loyalty in the post. I thought companies only want networks and temporary alliances in the flat world as predicted by Charles Handy in his 'The Empty Raincoat' way back in 1994.

Using colourful examples and analogies, the book offers a framework for the future of work and life in general. For organisations and individuals one of the first steps to change is the realisation that business and personal security is not about land and buildings, but about knowledge. Handy argues that the "means of production" in the future will be owned by the workers because it will be based on their intelligence and know how - a difficult thing to gauge in financial terms alone. Handy makes the analogy that where in the past an organisation was like a castle, it will become more like a condominium: "an association of temporary residents gathered together for their mutual convenience". It will be like a "virtual corporation" with a collection of permanent and temporary project groups existing more in a computer than in a set of shared offices. Work structures will be more about developing networks than honouring hierarchies and accepting responsibility not just blindly fulfilling core duties.


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