Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts on Employer switching

With the attrition season in full swing, I often hear people having more than one employment offers.  They are many a times very competing, and the decision is difficult.  Various factors come into play beyond the obvious ones (salary, designation, role etc.), like commute distance from home, brand value of the employer, the clientele etc.  In a few cases, even these factors are very closely comparable, making the choice all the more perplexing.

One factor, which I feel trumps a lot of minor ones and one which is often ignored by many, is the history of the employer in terms of the kind of treatment it metes out to its employees, especially during rough times.  This is perhaps, in my opinion, more important than most of the other factors.  Imagine, you join a company that offers good compensation, has good policies on paper and has a good overall brand value, but the core of it is rotten due to bureaucratic crap flowing down from top.  You would steadily burn out and probably leave the company disgruntled.  Money, brand etc. won't matter.  Such corporations slowly rot from inward out like a cancerous tumor and fall hard.  Investors and board members wonder what went wrong, only to reach incorrect conclusions.  the past is a witness to such events.

To quote a few examples; I know of a company that during the 2009-10 recession treated its employees like a herd of cattle.  It posted on the main entrance gate the list of the employees they had laid off .  The security guards were to check the names of the employees in the list and send back those whose names were listed. They didn't get an HR round or even a consolidating email.

 Laying people off is a business necessity sometimes, and I am not expressing an opinion about it.  The manner in which the lay offs were conducted was downright despicable.  People who had joined just a week back were let gone, and that too in an insulting manner.  Think twice before joining such a company.

In another case, an employee high up the hierarchy of a prominent e-Commerce giant, was fired because he raised some important ethical questions about the company's fraudulent financial policies.  Again, a big NO-NO.  People argue that it's just business, but remember that if a company can cheat its clients, it can deceive you as an employee with the least of ethical introspection.

One employer even asked its Managers to artificially create a vitriolic and hateful culture in the teams to make employees resign to save some severance money.  Hideous in my opinion.  There was another company which mandated its employees to sign a bond of 3 years before joining, and it wasn't a company into manufacturing or labor, but a technology one.  The same company made its employees sign a non-compete cause, wherein the people who resigned were barred from joining a pre-decided set of companies till after 1 year of employment termination.  Preposterous!


The best way to gauge this is going through online reviews extensively, sometimes even talking to incumbent employees in the firm, or reading news about the employer's past.  Company culture is very critical to its and your success.  There are many ways of making money for companies, but those firms who think about long term success think of its employees and associates and partners, not resources to be plundered. 
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