Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Great Indian Induction ....

Like many HR jokes that circulate on the internet, so is the one that how the polite, soothing “Welcome to our Organisation” from your HR suddenly turns into “Don’t stand at my desk wasting my time”. So, after many pre-joining emails from the HR that made me happy (except for the one where they sent me the soft copy of my offer letter which made me frown due to the daily wages they were offering), I was quite charged up on the first day.

I walked in really happy but to my horror, the scene was shocking! It was neither because the chairs were ergonomically incorrect nor because the room was really gloomy and depressing as if designed to put us to sleep. But it was because the tables were empty – meaning no free notepads and pens! Now whether you agree to this publicly or not, we all love the word ‘free’ and even more when it gets associated with the workplace. I personally believe it is the least compensation they can offer for the otherwise meager daily wages. Quarter after quarter, after every investor meetings & result announcements, we show our solidarity and lineup in long spiral queues for the Lower Parel market manufactured synthetic T-shirt that seldom is of wearable size, but we still do.  

More so, I have hopped many organizations in search of better employee gifts and mark my words when I say that the induction pen is far better than the one that you usually get in the stationery after climbing up three floors and signing on numerous registers. So, obviously it wasn’t just me who was disappointed. When I scanned around during the session, I did see many of the dejected new joiners looking down and messaging on their BB. Perhaps they were spreading the word around. Later, they did try to make it up with free lunch, evening tea and some welcome bouquet. But were they thinking that such gestures would net-off the pen loss?

The induction was designed with many sessions. Like one really senior, really really senior guy walked in as a speaker and kicked off saying ‘I have been in this organization for 30 years .... ‘.  Before he said anything, my eyes widened with respect, no really, I did have respect in my mind though my neighbor’s mouth was wide open conveying disgust and shock. “They call such people as speakers for induction session?” he said to emphasize his disagreement to the selection process. I poked him and made him show respect, but just when I turned my attention back to the dais, the speaker continued “… you know why?”  I quickly sensed the seriousness of the situation and pulled my neighbor down hard just when he was about to stand up and ask the speaker “you tell me, WHY!!” in bold letters. My neighbor obviously wrote-off my cowardly behavior and walked out under the pretext of a phone call.  I didn’t pay much attention thereafter because I was busy calculating the number of companies I would have on my CV in thirty years going by the current rate. I smiled thinking what I would say if I were called to give such an induction sessions after thirty years.
Later on, he tried to make the session interactive by asking some questions but it did not help much. Like one time he asked an open forum question “what made you join this organization". There was a pin drop silence in the room when he continued “…except for money”.  People, I tell you these days !

Then one HR lady walked in, decked up and that’s when I sensed a sudden vigour around me. She began with a question whose answer I thought was very obvious “So what do you think guys! Can any organization function without HR?”. There was a unanimous “NO” from the male crowd around me. That day I learnt that guys can fake anything to please a beautiful lady.

But some sessions were really important like the Finance & Payroll session where everyone was busy noting down options to save tax while mentally planning the shop name they would use to fake the medical bills. Also, the one that publicized the environment friendliness of the organization which ended with us knowing the different types of birds and their nests that could be spotted in the campus.

Overall, the induction, I was told, would help us to understand the length, breadth and depth of the organization. I started revising. So if two lakh employees formed a hand-in-hand human chain, the length would be approximately 400 kms? Don’t ask me to prove it because they didn’t confirm when I asked. And when they meant depth, they sure meant how deep their pockets should be to hold the 8.2 billion dollar yearly revenue. Whoever carries so much cash around I wonder …....

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