The Worst Employers

On what basis do people rate their place of work? Is it salary, is it job
challenge, is it operational freedom, is it the office environment, or is it the
name and fame the company has? I guess it is a combination of everything.
Considering that companies are competing with each other to get the best people,
and more professional handling of HR practices is happening, it will be safe to
state that overall, the satisfaction level of employees is going up. The latest
Best Employers Survey (BES 2004) is an indicator of that.

So what is it that makes a company the ‘worst company’ to work for. Going
by BES ’04, there are some parameters on which the employees have rated their
company much lower other parameters. Training is one of them. On all matters
related to training- duration, quality, relevance to job-almost 40%
respondents have shown unhappiness. Clearly, training is one need, which is not
being adequately addressed by the industry. Employers who ignore this, will not
be seen as the best employers.

In future a lot of companies will move up and down the BES 20 ladder, depending on how they handled appraisal systems and their employees’ expectations from appraisal systems

The other area is the appraisal system, where only 55% employees seem to be
very satisfied. They believe that appraisal systems and processes need to
improve in terms of being transparent, fair, and well thought out. Appraisal
system is therefore another strong need in the industry that needs urgent
attention. And in future, a lot of companies will move up and down the BES 20
ladder, depending on how they handled appraisal systems and their employees’
expectations from appraisal systems.

Survey results on salaries, salary hikes, and perks was a completely
different story altogether, with almost 55% employees being unhappy. It could be
argued that salaries and perks will always score low in such survey, but in BES
2004 almost 50% of employees are not very satisfied. Another issue, where quite
a few employees feel that their company is not doing enough is in terms of ‘giving
back to society and undertake social work initiatives’. In fact, this is a
well known fact that very few companies do take up such initiatives; but now it
seems that their employees are noticing this, and rating them. However, I will
like to ignore these factors, and focus on training and appraisal systems.

Training is seen by employees as a perk from the company. They also believe
that the company is imparting training to really enhance their skills and
productivity. And most importantly they believe that training will help them
grow-either within the organization or outside-both in terms of job role as
well as salary. All these things will make the employee respect the company they
work for, more.

Similarly, if the appraisal systems are not very well defined and
transparent, the employees very often have this tendency to feel that their
monetary compensation was not commensurate with the work they had put in. He is
not able to clearly match the hikes or rewards that he got for his work. That is
why dissatisfaction with salaries goes up.

My honest belief is that if training and appraisal system issues are
addressed; employee dissatisfaction with compensation will automatically come
down. And their respect for employers will go up.

Besides these factors, what is going to put companies under more pressure
will be non- participation in such surveys. Though BES 2004 survey questions
were sent to the top 200 Indian IT companies, including hardware and software,
the response was not too good. Only 40 responded. Employees of the remaining
companies should ask their employers why did they not participate. What was the
problem? In fact, we have already got two calls from seniors asking "can
anything be done now" and from about eleven middle and junior level people
asking me why their company does not figure in the survey. I bluntly asked them
to contact their HR chief for details. And figure out if their company is the
best employer or the worst employer.

The author is Editor of Dataquest IBRAHIM

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