Employee Retention, Grooming Leaders, Achieving Synergies, Meritrocracy .....what about "Honesty is the Best Policy" for a change

A lot of time a lot of jargon about employee retention is thrown at readers of business newspapers/magazines/journals. Many a times, if not always, I have thought this is mere glib talk. Many a times I have also found myself comparing one company's work culture with the other, often basing my arguments on data scraped from media.

Looks like Business Standard was chosen, by fate to put this article in their pages. I am sure some of my ex-colleagues from Satyam will find it hard to hide a grin once they read this article. In quick succession, a birdie from McKinsey Quarterly dropped this interview of Mr Ramalinga Raju into my mailbox.

Looks like a lot is being done on the employee retention front! Even after making ample space for need of employee initiative, I feel that the steps being taken by various organizations (my ex employer seems to be at the fore front) are an exercise to put "strategies" into place. As argued in an earlier post, despite the most air-tight/water-tight processes to weed out incompetent persons (the term incompetent is subjective) and promote talent, all ends up in the cabin of the manager. I am aware of companies holding Art of Living workshops, Stress Management related talks, devising ways to create CEOs within their companies; but many a times what is required is not smooth talk but honesty, simplicity and non-partisanship.

Today's IT crowd, projected as reckless in terms of company loyalty, are very responsible. Nobody likes to leave his first company for money; but when instances abound when decisions are taken on the basis of boss' idiosyncrasies, one of the ways is to escape the rot into another. I have been lucky enough to join a company which has a amiable yet challenging work environment as its USP.

A true manager is not there only to sign reimbursement requests. He is there to provide feedback on a proactive basis. He should have a career plan for people under him and evolve it in consultation with them. Expectations should be realistically. And most important of all, no manager should forget the promises he made to himself when he himself was an employee.


  1. Ex-employees might definitely come up with a grin , but current employees cannot escape a warm smile for sure.
    The transition that we are seeing everyday is indeed for real.I recently had a chance to listent to Raju in real and could see the conviction on his face. And when you see that on the face of someone who has grown a 2 billion dollar company in just under 20 years, you know its for real.

    Having said that , I do agree that the decision stops with the manager most of the time. But ironically to your post, it has always done wonders to me. Perhaps, I got to work with the best managers ,but pray I did that mindless processes had at least a savior in the form of a manager to veto.

    I remember the days when my manger called me and discussed my career goals on a 2,5 and 10 year timeframe and sat with me for about 2 hours telling me how to go about it. It was awesome and I believe it's the very concept of FLCL that Raju is talking about in the Mckinsey Quarterly that has done the trick.

  2. Hey Ranjit, hope you are doing good! Back to the post. I definitely agree with Raju's conviction of taking his company to greater heights. I am also pleasantly surprised and moreover happy for you - about the TALK that you had with your manager. I do not intend to rubbish what Raju says but at the same I would beg to differ with your "2 billion dollar company in just under 20 years". Even at the best, this achievement "has a rising tide lifts all boats" factor going for it.

    It is not my idea to fan the feelings of the frustrated employees in this "AC Sweat shops" (sorry could not help it!). It is my idea that apart from the individual himself being responsible for the shape his career takes, managers like yours are required who can talk to his people. Help them decide their priorities. Not all of the thousands being recruited have a plan chalked out.

    Rest assured, some of the best ideas in business or otherwise are the ones that were simple and did not require impressive jargon.

  3. It is actually a real simple idea.I am sure tht you would have read the way he expalained it in ET when we won the best employers ard jun/july.
    He compared it to an ant hill.Different independant units together making a big difference.

    And as for a rising tide lifting all boats , I would always praise the guy who stayed put at sea to face the rising tide. You would like to think abt Patni computers here.

  4. Believe me, I am starting to like the discussion. Please go ahead - apropos Patni computers. Maybe I am missing something.

    About praising a guy who stood at the helm, well let me repeat I am talking about "rising tide" not "rough seas". Moreover, I am not even talking about Raju here. I am saying vision is one of the many things that are required here. One surely does not want to get "Betamaxed".