Farmers’ Protest – Employees’ Protest: Any Similarities?
Dilbagh Singh has been protesting for several days in Delhi along with thousands of his friends. His main focus is to get attention from the Media and Government so that the new farm laws are rephrased to suit the convenience of the farmers. He and his peers are showing anger, frustration and shouting at the top of their voices to achieve their objective.
Anup Kumar is a corporate employee working in a reputed company in Delhi. He is not in agreement with some of the new policy changes in his company. What are the ways in which he would protest? It is very unlikely that he would take to the streets. It is very unlikely that he would even make it known to the policy makers. Most employees like Anup just withdraw in a subtle manner, become less productive and less engaged. Employees protest in a manner very different from farmers.
What to expect in an employee’s protest?
Employees in corporations protest in a way very different from other social protests. Seldom we see employees taking to the roads or shouting slogans. Corporate protests are more individual in nature and are often unorganized. And more importantly, they are almost always non-violent.
So, what exactly happens when your employees are unhappy? Well, the first thing you see is a lack of enthusiasm, reduced engagement, leading to less productivity. Unfortunately, oftentimes, the management fails to notice the early signs of protests until it starts hampering productivity. Soon, the quality of work becomes poor; employees become irritable and show less team effort. The break time increases, the ‘sick leaves’ or unplanned leaves become more frequent. And it becomes very easy for employers to tag all these as poor skills or unprofessionalism issues of the employees.
Like they say, a chain is only as good as its weakest link. The dissatisfaction in one employee may spread fast within the team through the blame-game. And before you know it, it’s not just one or two but an entire team that is working against the best interests of the company, whether the individuals are aware of it or not. In such scenarios, what is a responsible employer ought to do? Introspect – what is wrong with the office space? Could the workspace be the reason for this silent protest? Could this be prevented? And now that it is on the surface, how can you handle it?
Let’s have a look.
How To Handle Corporate Protests?
First of all, prevention is always better than cure. And here are a few ways you can keep your employees happy.
Open Communication: Build a culture within your space that encourages open communication at all levels of hierarchy. Teammates should be comfortable talking to their fellows and bosses equally. Transparency in targets with clear guidance to adhere to will prevent unhealthy competition or enmity.
One-on-Ones Sessions: Set targets – chase targets – acquire targets. There’s more to a workflow than just this. Your employees are all unique individuals. They have unique skills and also unique limitations. Such limitations may not get addressed in your daily ‘status call’. It is important to resolve each individual’s roadblocks separately. This is where an occasional one-on-one meeting of an employee with the team lead or the HR can help. Give your employee a chance to speak out his mind without fearing judgment. Both you and your employee can learn a lot from this experience.
Anonymous Platform: Create a space where employers can express themselves without any fear of judgment or consequence. Open communication can build great relationships, but anonymous platforms allow employees to vent and feel heard. If you would excuse the audacity, it works much like prayers, if you take some time to address some of those, if not all.
Sessions With An Expert: Some issues may not be entirely a workplace thing. Sometimes, the issues arise in conjunction – issues with work-life balance. Sometimes, the load of a person’s personal life cast a shadow on their work life. Is that your problem? Probably not. But is that harmful to your workflow? Yes, absolutely. What can you do? Get a professional therapist on board who can help people sort their affairs and not let it affect their contribution to the office’s work. As a bonus, you also help you get some brownie gratitudes too.
Mood-Boosters: Protests are more common when the workload is high, usually during festive times. Employees can’t wait for the holidays to begin; instead, they have to work harder and longer. Perks, bonuses, gifts can work as brilliant mood-boosters temporarily. Carefully planned fun outings, team lunches, office parties, etc., are also good to keep the morale high in your employees on a regular basis.
At Ethika, we advocate that you make an effort to ensure lasting happiness among your employees. Keeping their wellbeing in mind, it is important to build a great mindset by creating unique experiences rather than merely formal and emotion-free gestures. At this point, it is needless to say that when employees are satisfied in their work environment, it makes the entire process run smoothly. It is an investment that deals in huge benefits.