Why Can’t an Employee Fire an Employer?

When you hire, do you feel uncomfortable when you see multiple & frequent job changes on a candidate’s CV? Do you feel uncomfortable because you don’t find stability in that candidate? Well, in general, seems like a genuine concern. But, have you ever thought whether this concern was even valid in your company’s case?

Let’s examine why a company fires an employee. Isn’t it the “Expectation Mismatch” between the company and the employee? The company might have expected something that the employee could not deliver. Hence, company fired the employee. Completely Justified!!

But, have you ever thought of other way around? Imagine that an employee joined a company with certain expectations – expectations that might have been conveyed during the interview process or via other official communication media. After spending some time in the company, if the employee realizes that the company could not match his/her expectations, then what should he/she do? Should the employee not fire (leave) the employer? Isn’t it completely justified?

Can such incidents not happen frequently, until the candidate finds an environment (company) where mutual expectations are well met? Now, if you believe that whatever promises/expectations you convey to your prospective employees are well met within your company, then why are you worried about the candidate’s multiple job changes? Should you not just leave this stability concern behind and explore whether you both (company and candidate) can meet each other’s expectation or not?

Would be glad to hear what you all have to say.

The Most Idiotic Interview Question

I have had many interview experiences – in different sectors and at different types of companies – and over time, I have realized that there were many things during an interview process that made me uncomfortable. Most often, it was the interviewer and his/her questions that disappointed me. And, whenever I found that I was sitting in front of a poor interviewer, my interest in the process had gone down. Today, I plan to share what I believe is the most idiotic question any interviewer asks.

It is – “Tell me about something about yourself

While I have been asked many stupid questions during interviews, I find this question the most idiotic question any interviewer asks. By making this statement at the start of the interview, the interviewer clearly conveys that he does not have a clue about how to start the interview conversation.

And, interestingly, I find thousands of posts talking about best ways to answer this question. What a waste of time!

Mr./Ms. Interviewer, you had my CV before we met and you knew my background before we met. What do you want to hear? I am finding it hard to understand what personal or professional info I should disclose, considering most of the talking points i wanted to share with you are on my CV and rest I had shared during my telephonic interaction with your HR. Now, you have my CV as well as a briefing from your HR. So, I am confused a bit.

I am confused, also because of the posts on internet about best ways to answer this question. All the posts talk about stating my professional experience with some personal activities touch. And, the content suggested in those great posts seem to be similar to the content on my CV and what I had already shared with your HR. So, I am confused.

I am confused because I am not able to understand whether you just like to follow tradition by asking this question or are you interested in ‘something else’ about me. And, this ‘something’ is a tricky word for me. But, if you want to just follow interview tradition, then you are just another idiot. So, I am confused. The internet posts suggest that I should give you talking points – well, do you not have enough talking points about me? Do you not want to talk about things that are on my CV? I have not had any interview scenario in which the interviewer had asked this question and discussed an entirely a different aspect of my life – other than what was mentioned on my CV – during the interview.

I will be glad to know readers’ opinion on this, and maybe, other interview questions/experiences that you would have found stupid in nature.

Employees – Help Yourself and you will automatically end up helping your company

I have experienced the work environment of startup, large established companies, and NGO sector closely. Interestingly, employees (of course not all of them) at the above mentioned places share a common characteristics – deliver what company wants, and that too with the minimum quality that can be accepted or appreciated.

Let’s see what happens in this situation.

In the pursuit of producing the required minimum quality for the company, you feel pressured and stressed, and you always intend to finish your work somehow. This is primarily because you don’t love what you do. And, you don’t love it because you believe that you are working for a company. Consequently, it gives you a feeling of drudgery, every day.

Now let’s look this situation with a different perspective.

I am assuming that you have joined a company of your interest or at least a company that matches 50% of your interest.

In this situation, it simply means that most (at least half) of the time, you are working on things that you wanted to work on. Further, it means that the tools that you are working on will somehow help you develop or strengthen your skills, which ultimately help you in future – because you chose this job in order to climb a certain ladder. Therefore, every bit of learning at every level is going to help you in future.

So, how about helping yourself on the job? Why not forget the company for a moment? Why do you think that you are working for a company?

If you really think again, you will find that you are working for yourself and, therefore, you should help yourself on the job. Try doing this for a few months, and you may experience an altogether different quality level of your work. You will feel good about it, because you will be targeting your own high quality benchmark, not just the required minimum. This way, you will not only enhance your competency level, but also surpass your peers in terms of performance on work. And, ultimately, your company will automatically benefit from your quality outputs. Once your company benefits, you will be rewarded accordingly.

Therefore, let’s focus on helping yourself, and not the company. Further, this attitude will be with you forever, and you will end up producing great results, no matter where you work and whosoever you work for.

I will not put more thoughts here, rather, I would urge you to experiment this at your workplace and share your thoughts with me. I would be glad to hear from you.

Founders – Are you unconsciously setting up a hierarchy within your company? Part 1

Wherever you go, you will hear from founders that they foster flat structure within their companies. The term ‘flat’ has become a trend nowadays, and it appears that everyone is trying to develop a flat structure.

Through my involvement in startups and with large established companies, I have found that most of the founders or managers misinterpret the term ‘flat.’ They consider this term synonym to ‘everyone is accessible to everyone.’ Well, this is just one tiny aspect of the ‘flat’ culture within a company.

In this post, my focus is on startups, because the significance of ‘flat’ structure changes dramatically in large established companies. In startups, I have observed that the founders act in many different ways that create an unintended virtual wall between the founding team and rest of the employees. Such acts hinder innovation and collaboration. Employees stop worrying about company’s well-being. And, therefore, the fundamental objectives of a ‘flat’ structure are not met.

This post is the beginning of a series, which will feature one example of founders’ behavior in every post of this series. Here is the first one.

1. Offering facilities based on ‘employee hierarchy’ rather than ‘need’

Founders have desire to feel ‘powerful’ and ‘exclusive’ within their companies. This desire leads them to lay down company policies that offer better facilities to founders. No doubt, founders deserve great facilities, but barring others to avail great facilities on the basis of employee’s rank sends a wrong signal to the employees. Let me explain with an example.

“In a company, founders structured a policy that allows founders to travel by air, but bars other employees to avail air travel facility within a country where rail and air both are the options.”

In this situation, an employee feels that he is less valued. The outcome of this policy is contrary to the founders’ intentions of making their employees feel valuable. The result is more visible in early stage startups.

You might argue that such a differentiation is made because founders’ time is more valuable than others. But do you also want to say that employees time are less valuable to the extent that they will have to travel 20 hours via rail as opposed to 3 hours via air? Well, you may again argue that the cost of air travel is more than the cost of spending 20 hours in a train by an employee. Ultimately, you are trying to minimize your operational expenses, and you may succeed doing so.

But, I would like you to look at your saving after implementing this policy. Then, look at the intangible (yet strong) negative impact that this policy has on your employees. The intangible effects might be visible in employees performance, their motivation, organizational culture, and similar. You may try to quantify this intangible effect and see the monetary effect. And then, compare these two numbers (cost saving and quantified negative impact of the policy) in a frame of a few years.

Do you really see a gain? If yes, then you should continue with your policy. If not, then you should give a thought to it. Even if you see a gain, if you really want to build an organization with appreciable culture, you should be careful in implementing such policies. You might be right with your policy, but you send a wrong signal to your core and early stage employees. And, the fact is that you will most likely not realize it, unless, after a few years, you look back on the incidences that would have happened within the company.

So, how about creating this policy based on ‘need’ rather than ‘employee hierarchy?’ Or, conveying the right message and making your employees understand the need behind such a policy. Ultimately, you want your employees to take care of your company’s well-being. So, no matter what path you follow, you might like to convey your intention and logic behind your decisions so that your employees could be with you in the journey.

This was just an example to show that founders set rules that directly affect the company culture. In different types of startups, different scenarios emerge and different types of policies require founders’ sincere attention. Founders will just have to think through the fundamental logic behind any policy and, consequently, they will have to step into the shoes of an employee and feel the possible implications of that policy. Otherwise, founders’ will experience the impact of such a policy in many different forms – attrition, low performance, low output quality, and similar others – that ultimately affect company’s health.

I will be back with the second part of this series.