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The Workplace Volte Face

June 7, 2010

Its amazing learning what recession has done to the workplace and the learning keeps growing everyday. Again nothing surprising but definitely helps in a deeper understanding of organisations way beyond what textbooks prescribe.

Pre recession there was this optimism baloon in which most organisations and its people were floating blissfully. Not to say there were no challenges. But there was optimism around and that helped in a way to address these challenges. But then this post is not about the challenges really. Its about the changing perceptions at workplace.

Supply demand favoured employees. There were more options for employees and employee behaviour often tended to become arrogant. Quite justified too as most were coming out of years of restrictions on their lives. It was a freedom that many were looking forward to after putting a lot of hardwork in the past. True some were arrogant to have more faith in their abilities than perhaps correct. Employers on the other hand would go to large extents to satisfy some of this arrogance.

Post recession, most employers would tend to agree that its much easier managing people’s expectations now than it was before. Employees have become a lot more tolerant as the supply demand swings around to favour employers. Employers are more cautious about deviating from policies for employees. We suddenly read more about no star policies, horizontal versus vertical structures etc.

HR is not independent of business, and economy shapes your HR spend be it in the form of budgets, headcounts, layoffs etc. However there is a part of me that wishes organisations could be more consistent in their approach and go back to their core values to guide them whether in high or in a low. I attempt to tread the path with this thought as a guide and I truly admire organisations who demonstrate this consistency.

There is a learning for us employees too to be a tolerant and to demonstrate some patience, especially Gen Y, who are really the apple of all eyes, but also a little wobbly because of the choices available for them today.

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