The biggest fallout of the pandemic has been a deep sense of insecurity among the employees across corporate India. Nervously surviving in a landscape dotted by job losses and wage cuts, they constantly live under the metaphorical sword of Damocles. For their employers, however, this is a rare opportunity to earn the long-term trust of employees by protecting their finances – job and wages.
If in this hour of peril, companies can assure their employees of minimum financial security, they will remember it for a very long time. Every business is a long battle that is fought relentlessly on rough terrain when employee behaviour, productivity, and loyalty become crucial differentiators.
Companies that are farsighted should seize this opportunity to build long-term bridges with their employees, perhaps its most important stakeholder in the modern era of complex corporate relationships. In 2020, the first year of lockdown, many boardrooms displayed kneejerk responses, slashed manpower, and reduced salaries. As a result, this year the bottom lines of many companies are shining thanks to reduced costs on salaries, travel, real estate, and maintenance. This year, better financials provide many companies the opportunity to be not only tolerant towards their employees but also farsighted.
The same principle applies to the state as well. It is incumbent upon any government to fortify front-line soldiers in the battle against COVID-19 such as doctors, paramedics, nurses, policemen with vaccines, medicines, beefed-up insurance, and whatever way possible so that they can devote all their energy to secure the society.
This is the time when the industry should shun cynicism and open a window to new possibilities and engage with the employees – their soldiers – afresh with empathy and compassion. We must stop treating employees as cost centers and rescue human resources from mere numbers in excel sheets where most companies have relegated it to.
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