F&F : Firing & Fairness

F & F : Firing and Fairness

Reading Time : 4-5 mins.

Capitalism and fairness are strange bedfellows.

Capitalism is an unapologetic way of growing at all costs.  It was always a high risk high return game, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose , fairly and sometimes unfairly.

Justifying opex to the business is always tough, no matter what you do. The pressure is to show shareholder value by maintaining profitability. These are regular people who have put in their hard earned money into the system, not to see it fail, but to score double digit growth. That is the hard math. As it turns out, hard math often overrides emotion and sometimes fairness.

On the other hand socialism yields safety but slower growth. And socialism is not what they signed up for isn’t it? Else they would have opted for low pay high security socialistic companies. But the fact is, they didn’t.

The recent Tech Mahindra episode, saw an emotional outburst on social media. An employee had been fired. The way it was done drew a lot of flak and as a result the chairman and HR head did damage control by issuing an apology.

In spite of this, I am guessing the next time Tech Mahindra hosts another hiring event, thousands will turn up and stand in queues for a long time for that coveted badge around their neck.Will this episode stop people from applying for the same job at Tech Mahindra? Don’t think so.

One can argue that the HR rep did a bad job in being sensitive, and there is a dignified way of letting people off, but to be honest, it is always a very, very tough ask. It is an emotionally draining experience to see employees breaking down, counter logic, hurling abuses, and in some cases even getting violent.

Now imagine going through this for say a hundred employees. After the first few, they become emotionally numb. Perhaps insensitive. And then it remains just a job, which needs to be done and executed as instructed.

If they didn’t do it, somebody else would. Period. Sometimes it is worst for bosses, because what they do , also comes back to haunt them, because, they too are a part of a plan. That is how the corporate world works, mostly.

It is understandable and quite natural to have an emotional outburst and outrage. Nobody seems to buy your logic, or see performance records, or realize the business value you bring to the table.

Ironically, that was perhaps the reason you got hired in the first place. So how can that erode?  In some cases politics and balance of power play a role, in some cases they use the much abused word of “transformation” , and in some they say “optimization”. So you wonder, why didn’t they think about it before hiring you?

But all said and done, it does not change reality. People get fired all the time. Its not the first, and certainly not the last. So what are you going to do about it? Change the system or pledge never to work for a similar company? And then your perception follows you or precedes you everywhere you go because you argued for fairness or logic.What’s worse ,people in the network may judge you as a temperamental trouble maker and or label you as a victim card player. You can’t shed off that image, because no one is going to counter you and tell you face to face. Right or wrong, we are the system, employers and employees both make the system together.

On the other hand, if you are on the right side of system, when you did well, got money, promotion, awards, bought houses, got easy loans, expensive cars and all material benefits, there was no barrage of overflowing compliments on social media about a company or a boss! Nobody praised the fairness of the system to promote you ahead of the pack. Nobody wrote kudos on their bosses desk or even bothered to walk up to the HR guy and simply say thank you! Take LinkedIn articles for example, for every Boss-appreciating or Organization appreciating article, there will be a hundred articles criticizing the same!

Fundamentally, if you were good enough to get hired there, you will be good enough to get hired elsewhere. A good player does not become a bad player overnight.So in conclusion, while the incident was unfortunate, the best way is to move forward. If you fail, then learn to fail fast and move on. Pick yourself up and get ready for another battle because remember morning never shows the day…