As a child one of my favorite stories and still is, Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.
A vain emperor, who obsesses about fine clothes and jewellery, is told by a few con-men that they would prepare for him clothes, that would be visible to only the intelligent, competent people and will be invisible to the stupid, incompetent and un-intelligent people.
After acting it out or miming that they are dressing up the emperor, even the emperor ignores his own reflection in the mirror fearing that he may be exposed as incompetent and goes along the false flattery by the con-men. He not only ignores that he is butt-naked, but also arranges to parade himself showing of his newly acquired clothes among his subjects.
All of his subjects, continue to praise the emperor, despite being shocked that the emperor is naked! It is only when a small child, who expected to see the finery on his king, is disappointed and shouts out that the emperor has no clothes at all on him, that some of the subjects start laughing and say the some. While the emperor himself and those who fear of being outcasts, keep up the facade.
Now if you replace the emperor with Indian IT, the con-men with the balance sheet manipulators, and the subjects with IT employees, it completes the story.
Just a few months back, there was a huge public fallout about the lack of transparency in Infosys Governance, with some strong statements by the usually reticent Narayana Murthy. The senior stakeholders chose media to converse with each other and share their opinions. Cut to post Brexit and Trump scenario, Infosys was one of the first to layoff employees, citing “performance appraisal” review process, which is usually used in IT industry as part of cost cutting process when the pressure on margins increase. Many of such employees have evidence of their credible performances through emails and citations achieved during their tenure, but had reached higher cost or pay packets.
What changed in the last six months, that that a renowned IT giant goes from accusations of poor governance, to layoffs (cost cutting) and then rewards as high as 50% to the top bosses. Did the cost cutting, made the balance sheets so attractive?
Why is the revered #NarayanaMurthy who came out guns blazing on the governance issue, so muted over the layoffs. ?
Why cannot our leaders be real leaders, and take a 1 Re., pay check for a year, when they already have millions in the banks ? Is any thought given to those employees, who may have home loans, medical issues and children’s education to pay for ?
Why were we not prepared to face global changes, and protect our working environment proactively? Did we just found out that Digital and Automation are going to be the key players – it has been around since ages now. Why our workforce is not deemed to be ready, whose responsibility was it to train and make sure that our workforce is skilled to suit the customer requirements. ?
Questions there are, and perhaps not easy to answer. But the leaders need to look within, and while rewards do need to be given to those who deserve and philanthropy is good for society at large, please remember your working class, the people who bring the moolah on the table and are part of the very same society.
Let’s hope the emperor soon realizes, that it is skills, efforts and acknowledgement of it’s true subjects, which can help him put up with some brand new clothes.
#Layoffs #IndianIT #Infosys #ToI #ITindustry #CNN-IBM
- Disclaimer – The above is a personal opinion and viewpoint of the blogger.