Learn and Lead

About continual learning and leadership

Are job sites encouraging attrition?

I have been fascinated by the recent advertisements of job sites. All bosses are shown as being really mean. Remember Hari Sadu? Or the bosses in ‘Guess whose heard from us lately’ ad. It’s really funny watching these ads. Remind me of old bollywood films (actually true for many new ones too) where characters are shown with exaggerated stereotypical characteristics.

And then there is the Happy Kumar ad. It reminds me of a conversation I had with someone who came to me to discuss this ‘fantastic’ offer she had and wanted my advice. In conversation with her, she mentioned that this offer would require her to relocate to a city where she did not want to go. And that she was actually very happy doing what she was and she was happy with the money she was getting currently. And the new job wasn’t something she wanted to do. I was very puzzled and wondered why she wanted my advice. She said, but hey this is a great offer. I wondered if Happy Kumar syndrome had caught up with her. Being happy and satisfied with your job is not such a good thing after all.

The most recent ad is about your pay packet making you feel small. This ad propagates that money is the only yardstick of how companies can show appreciation of talent. I wonder what this job site’s attrition rate is and what they pay to their people. And would money compensate for Hari Sadu? Surely no one will leave Hari Sadu if he paid more money. And we already know Happy Kumar is a really bad boy, being satisfied with what he is doing and all that.

Times have changed. Our parents spent most of their careers with one organization. This of course does not mean that we should spend our careers with only one organization. The fact is that there are indeed a lot more opportunities available now. ‘India Shining’ screams at us in the face. However I think we have gone to the other extreme now. It is now fashionable to change jobs at regular intervals. Does this regular change of jobs impact the individual or is it actually good? Will we really getting better at what we do if we keep changing jobs so frequently? Are we building a foundation or eroding our base?


Gambit said...

Interesting concept. I actually pondered over this for a while (the question in the title) and concluded that I can't really say "Yes" or "No". Hard to generalize, I mean there are sections of today's workforce that believe sticking on and grounding themselves with the organization in the hope and goal of climbing the ladder. Then there are those who can't stay put because as soon as they join an organztaion, job portals shows them infinite possibilities of where they could have joined, and although it doesn't really push them over the edge, it sure does give them the fall back-sense of security that there are tons of jobs out there. Does that play on one psychologically and impact attrition in a scientific way? - Maybe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Mohan.
I happened to get the link to your blog from another blog, and I was curious to see what Mr. Manish Mohan, whom I have personally met, have to say on issues that I like to discuss more about.
I can leave a personal opinion only; even if I think it is an objective-observation, it still remains a personal observation. Fortunately, unlike you, Mr. Mohan, I accept that I am affected by 'whatever-I-think-is-true' belief.

Well, my point for your current discussion is that people, in general, don't leave a job without a reason. So, the concept of ‘leaving-because-just-want-to-leave’ doesn’t really work.
You should not believe in the face value of what a person says, when s/he says that there is no reason for leaving the present job ‘…but it is a great offer’. Delve deep, and you will find numerous issues which either remains the person’s Unconscious, or in the Subconscious. Either way, the person does not have a very clear idea about the problems; that is not to say, however, that the problems do not exist.

To give you an example from my experience: I too, was offered a lucrative salary AND position along with some other ‘cool’ factors. But I ignored the offer, as I had no subconscious or unconscious pull.
It was only when the situation became unbearable in the organization I was working with, that I chose to take up a similar offer. Mr. Mohan, don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that people are not, at times, changing jobs because ‘yeh dil maange more’; but generally they change because they are FORCED to change.

I remember being an NIITian. Everything there seems to work fine for some people. Unfortunately, I was not one of those lucky few.

I have never found it more difficult to balance professional and personal life than the times I had spent at NIIT. There was no ‘personal space’ so to say; all waking hours were filled with project-related thoughts, and the slumber was full of project-related nightmares. Now I know this for a fact, that this was no stray situation: almost everybody had a similarly messed up existence.
I have witnessed people crying… not a stray case once again, please. They were GDs and IDs and CTs; they were responsible young people; almost all of them have worked with some other organizations before; and have never cried in a professional atmosphere.

NIIT is a good place to learn. Well, yes. One can be a part of their role change process. However, it requires one to be an active participant in a series of trainings that one needs to undergo in order to effect the role change. In reality, one cannot continue with it because of tremendous work pressure.

I was told by the Delivery Manager that similar pressure exists in the higher levels too; my reply was, ‘Yes, and the higher level is handsomely rewarded for that; for us there is nothing. Moreover, such high levels of commitment and job responsibility is a prerequisite of being in the higher levels.’ And the person had no answer.

I never thought about leaving NIIT when I worked there. For all very practical reasons, I wanted to stay. And even while leaving, I thought I may join back, if I see things have changed. Now I have second thoughts. How much have the situation changed? Not at all, my poor colleagues tell me. If I join back, I might be going to your position, Mr. Mohan, when I acquire the requisite experience and business acumen, so that I need not work under ‘petty managers who are oafs who think that standing on our heads will get stuff delivered on time’(quoting one of my ex colleagues, who is still working there).

One request: don’t defend blindly, as you are ethically bound to. Defend if you want, but accept the reality. No need to acknowledge it, but accept that NIIT is good only on papers, not in reality. And if you can, change the attitude of the management (of which you are a part) from that of a smug self-congratulator’s, wallowing in supposed self-greatness—to an evolver’s, who believes in changing for the better.
Thank you.
In case you want, I can be contacted at sohhom@yahoo.co.in

Manish Mohan said...

Thanks SM for your comments. And I really appreciate your leaving an email ID. It shows a lot of courage. Yes there is much to improve at NIIT and like I said in my blog response, the inputs provided are good. And if you have met me and know me, then you can drop the Mr. from now on :-).

Trust me, what has been posted is not unknown and we are working at it. The point is not to defend NIIT blindly but to provide additional inputs, ‘observations’ like you mention. For example, while the flexibility may not be visible to all, many people are indeed working from home and from different cities. When I walk down the hall every evening after 7ish, I do see about 15-20 people working late in a capacity of 180-200. Sometimes this is more, sometimes this is less but on average, it is about that. A colleague of mine who was not too old in the system shared an interesting observation. He observed that perhaps one project was under fire and a few people spent longer hours in office for a few days during the project cycle. After a few days, people said that the particular account always required long hours. A few days later, the particular studio seemingly always had long hours and then a few days later the whole floor had long hours. What had not changed was the number of people staying back late. Perceptions have a strange way of forming. Having said that, I agree with all the observations you have made and know that these need to be fixed.

Anyway, this blog is not meant for defending NIIT. This is to share my thoughts and observations about, well just about anything on content development and elearning, primarily focused on Indian industry. I get to talk to a lot of people and interview people from various organizations. The Hari Sadu advt was actually quite interesting and funny. However, this particular comment (Are job sites encouraging attrition) was actually triggered by the Happy Kumar advt. and another conversation I had that I mentioned in my article. I think the point to ask is whether we getting less tolerant and less patient? Job hoping is an easy escape route. What are we really building, contributing to? Are we being a bunch of masons who are adding bricks, or are we building a temple? And we are all aspiring to take on the roles that we really hate (petty managers who are oafs)? Are we aspiring for rewards (handsomely rewarded) for which we don’t really want to make the efforts (high levels of commitment)? In the long run, is job hoping better or sticking to one organization better, and for how long? There are no right answers to these questions, just opinions depending on our individual experiences… and experiences and observations of more experienced and successful people. I share with you an article I got in email recently.

Manish Mohan

........... from R Gopalakrishnan Himself.........

Mr. Gopalakrishnan succeeds Mr. Ratan Tata as Chairman of Tata Sons Ltd., the holding company for many of the Tata Bluechips like Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Voltas, etc. Possibly he is the first non-Tata person to head the Tata Empire.

The below article is really interesting!

Subject: Job Hopping -Interesting article by Dr.Gopalkrishnan, Chairman, Tata Sons

The grass isn't always greener on the other side!!

Move from one job to another, but only for the right reasons. It's yet another day at office. As I logged on to the marketing and advertising sites for the latest updates, as usual, I found the headlines dominated by 'who's moving from one company to another after a short stint', and I wondered, why are so many people leaving one job for another? Is it passé now to work with just one company for a sufficiently long period?

Whenever I ask this question to people who leave a company, the answers I get are: "Oh, I am getting a 200% hike in salary"; "Well, I am jumping three levels in my designation"; "Well, they are going to send me abroad in six months".

Then, I look around at all the people who are considered successful today and who have reached the top - be it a media agency, an advertising agency or a company. I find that most of these people are the ones who have stuck to the company, ground their heels and worked their way to the top. And, as I look around for people who changed their jobs constantly, I find they have stagnated at some level, in obscurity!

In this absolutely ruthless, dynamic and competitive environment, there are still no short-cuts to success or to making money. The only thing that continues to pay, as earlier, is loyalty and hard work. Yes, it pays!

Sometimes, immediately, sometimes after a lot of time. But, it does pay. Does this mean that one should stick to an organization and wait for that golden moment? Of course not. After a long stint, there always comes a time for moving in most organizations, but it is important to move for the right reasons, rather than superficial ones, like money, designation or an overseas trip.

Remember, no company recruits for charity.

More often than not, when you are offered an unseemly hike in salary or designation that is disproportionate to what that company offers it current employees, there is always unseen bait attached.

The result? You will, in the long-term, have reached exactly the same levels or maybe lower levels than what you would have in your current company.

A lot of people leave an organization because they are "unhappy". What is this so-called-unhappiness? I have been working for donkey's years and there has never been a day when I am not unhappy about something in my work environment-boss, rude colleague, fussy clients etc.

Unhappiness in a workplace, to a large extent, is transient.

If you look hard enough, there is always something to be unhappy about. But, more importantly, do I come to work to be "happy" in the truest sense?

If I think hard, the answer is "No". Happiness is something you find with family, friends, may be a close circle of colleagues who have become friends.

What you come to work for is to earn, build a reputation, satisfy your ambitions, be appreciated for your work ethics, face challenges and get the job done.

So, the next time you are tempted to move, ask yourself why you moving and what are are you moving into.

Some questions are:

* Am I ready and capable of handling the new responsibility? If yes, what could be the possible reasons my current company has not offered me the same responsibility?

* Who are the people who currently handle this responsibility in the current and new company? Am I as good as the best among them?

* As the new job offer has a different profile, why have I not given the current company the option to offer me this profile?

* Why is the new company offering me the job? Do they want me for my skills, or is there an ulterior motive?

An honest answer to these will eventually decide where you go in your career- to the top of the pile in the long term (at the cost of short-term blips) or to become another average employee who gets lost with time in the wilderness?

"DESERVE BEFORE YOU DESIRE" - Dr. Gopalkrishnan, Chairman TATA Sons.

Anonymous said...

Hi Manish,
To add my two cents to this blog. Yes, in case of experienced people, attrition is encouraged by frustration and the chance of new opportunities. Frustration in the form of working under pressure all the time. Some organizations have an unwritten policy that until and unless there is a fire in the project, the team will not deliver. That is a myth and after changing organizations I have found that an encouraging atmosphere also induces the team to give their best. Threat of escalations may instill fear in the team but it is not necessary that they will give quality. Eventually this kind of an atmosphere increases the attrition rate in a company. Then there is the cut-throat competition of the peers. This builds on the tension between the peers which is not always healthy. Some smart alecs know which side their bread is buttered and have a knack of showing always their best, sometimes at the cost of others who might be more deserving and would be working in the background. Such people do get to show their calibre in a new environment where people take them at their face value. Plus, in a new company you are exposed to new techniques and new type of projects. People tend to take for granted old employees, and in the long run an organization loses on the experience. Mature and experienced people do not like job hopping, they are forced to do so, when they feel that their experience is not getting its true worth.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora e Manish!

I enjoyed this post. I think the most enjoyable thing about it, for me, was the (almost) conversation style used in it. You made me feel that you were actually speaking with me and not to the great unwashed - and that is a special quality in a writer that I admire.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

Manish Mohan said...

Thanks for your kind words Ken.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by my employers and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of my employers.

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