Time to reinvent

Necessity is the mother of invention, and sometimes reinvention. While organizations have taken pride in initiating global best practices at the Indian workplace, this is the time when most of them are reassessing organizational policies.

Old is Gold?

Experts say that during boom time, there is rapid growth in the organization and due to this hectic phase, focus is on the deliverable at hand. Due to this sufficient focus is not given to the policies governing operations; either due to paucity of time or the fact that the profit margins allows laxity. Slow down is, hence the time all these policies are reviewed. Policies, if reviewed, only as tools of cost cutting are counter productive in the long run and will impact the operations of the organizations even when the business operations improve.

Policies have a direct co-relation with business efficiencies and it is important to strike the right balance between immediate, improved, deferred and rollback. Now is the time for reviewing these policies and getting to contribute directly to business results by rolling tight on some legacy policies, depending upon relevance and usefulness. At the same time, there may be a need to introduce progressive new policies to get stretch revenues and margins too.

Any change in policy has to have two components to it; first and foremost it should have what is called retentive value. Does the policy or benefit help in getting a better value? It could either be in terms of costs and savings or helping retain valuable employees. Secondly, does it make business sense? Almost any policy is open to change. Yes, there are a few that need to be looked at in longer term and some need to be more frequently modified. A case in point is the employee healthcare policies of many corporations in the west. They have been changing over a period of time on account of the growing healthcare and medical insurance costs.

While many organizations think that it is good idea to reinvent policies during tough times, they have to have a clear idea of the policies that need fixing. Some policies need to be more productively aligned. Leave policies, incentive policies, flexi-time, deferred benefits, compensation policies (fixed/variable proportion), office timing and promotion policies are some of the policies which warrants a re-look in the current market situation. This does not mean withdrawal or lowering spend is the only answer. Results and outcome in such tight economic situation needs to be rewarded. Innovation of doing business holds the key.

The various policies that can be reinvented during these periods can be training and development, appraisal – feedback sessions and rewards and recognition policy. These policies have their own advantages and can be implemented for benefit of the employee and the organization.

So while the idea seems good, can policy changes be good for employees as well? Employees at Patni have largely benefited by the proactive policy changes that have been made. This is being measured in the form of increased employee morale, higher satisfaction and positive feedback. A marked leap in our internal communication between leadership and employee has resulted in transparency; clarity of company’s vision and enhanced employee touch points thus resulting in higher productivity. This has benefited both the employees as well as the organization.

By re-inventing policies and making them beneficial to the employees during slowdown an organization improves the employee’s loyalty to the organization; the feeling of being wanted by the organization. This, in turn improves the productivity of the employees. In difficult business conditions this lets the organization’s management take the hard decisions needed to sustain the business while at the same time not impacting the employees’ motivation. Finally, when the better business conditions emerge, the employees would continue their association with the organization knowing that the organization cares for them at all times.