It came as no surprise to me, to see in the Indian papers today, on how a large IT service provider had changed its earlier offer letters to campus recruits by asking them to join a BPO division for reduced pay. And am sure they were on perfectly legal grounds in doing this move to brace themselves for the downturn.
However a few thoughts do occur on what could have been done to avoid the bad press and rattling freshly minted graduates.
Transparency is not optional
In this case the provider seem to have made the reason adequately clear on why they took this step. However it reveals no insight into what other options existed. Were there other hidden costs associated? What else could have been done to ease the pain for the new recruits? Transparency is not optional anymore.
In opening up a little, the service provider could have set the trend on how well such downsizing moves could be handled by the industry.
This was a perfect opportunity to transform a challenging business situation as a means for re-inventing the organization’s operating practices.
Tough times call for collaboration
The management should have taken steps to engage the recruits instead of throwing a seemingly arbitrary fiat and expect to be obeyed.
Given that we are talking to rational people, to the extent they have been ‘trained’ by the system, the provider could have at least attempted to work out a middle ground by talking to recruits.
The cold realities of the business place need not blunt our humanness in dealing with difficult situations.
The job offer addendum, which is typically not read by fresh recruits, is not the final word between two parties. Remember these recruits would carry the bitterness of this interaction forever.
Re-think your operating models
Organizations need to improvise in these times. If you are looking at your traditional cost structures to assess possibilities then many opportunities are being missed. All along you have learned to scale up your business, now get used to scaling down, only do it strategically.
Reducing headcount is a short term measure to control costs, your competitiveness still remains questionable.
Let go of your cost arbitrage
Your low cost approach is what landed you here, with absolutely no buffer to cushion bad times.
Stop using the same cheap cast to mint your future.
To call for innovation, creativity etc now will be a crude cliche! Deep down you know this low cost model cannot be sustained and know the solution well enough.
Create new businesses and products, be the product provider and not just a service provider. Bigger risks but the rewards too are enormous. It requires long term vision and ability to weather the market expectations in the short term.
Expect your leadership to rise up to the challenge, demand action. Or get yourself a new leader!
Those were my thoughts anyway, what do you think? Could this have been done better?