[This write up was prepared for my
speech on Nov 4, 2014 at the HR Meet of Hindalco. It is in
four parts. This is the fourth and the concluding part.]
Books on Organisational
Behaviour tell us that when you trust somebody you are making yourself
vulnerable. Perhaps this could be one of the reasons why we do not trust people
It is quite common for
people in Mumbai to leave their house keys with neighbours. The maid collects
it from them and cleans the house, sometimes makes their dinner ready. The
situation is such in which people make themselves very vulnerable to theft, but
it rarely happens. This example tells us the vulnerability, but it also tells
us that trusting others is inevitable part of working together. In many
instances this is done out of necessity. Building trust proactively shows a
very different mindset, and perhaps an evolved philosophy of managing people.
Mr Rajesh Shah, MD
of Arihant Industrial Corporation has taken proactive steps in building trust.
One of them is that if an employee is hospitalised, a staff member visits him
immediately and hands over Rupees fifty thousand. The staff is instructed not
to wait for sanctions and bureaucratic procedures, they are asked to do it
without delay. They do not look up the sick person’s attendance record, or loan
outstanding or any such information.
organisations create systems and procedures to provide sickness benefits by
providing insurance covers, none matches the trust building potential of
Arihant’s action. Why? Perhaps because employees also realise that the action
of handing over Rupees fifty thousand without any question or condition makes
Arihant vulnerable, unlike coverage by insurance.
There are many instances
when employees have trusted organisations. In Arihant itself employees
undertook a pay cut when the going was not good. [When the financial status
improved Arihant paid back all of them]. Arihant Industrial Corporation is an
SME which faced big ups and downs in the business in the early part of their
journey. What made employees of Arihant whose income was nothing to boast about
take this unusual step?
At Pune another SME
called Vanaz Engineers Ltd. has such credentials in building trust that we
should write a case study on it. Vanaz was in deep financial crisis and no bank
would give it a loan. So a few hundred workers obtained personal loans from
co-operative banks and handed over the money to Vanaz to run the company.
At Pune, there is an
emerging story of a union taking initiative to restore trust and confidence
against all odds. But let us wait and watch the developments.
I am not talking just about
building trust. I am talking about unusual decisions made spontaneously yet thoughtfully
on a difficult path, yet based on cherished values and in spite of personal
Our subject was ‘Innovative Practices in Employee
Relations.’ Let us understand the words first:
Innovative means ‘introducing new ideas; original and
creative in thinking.’ Practice means ‘the customary, habitual, or expected
procedure or way of doing of something.’ So let us understand that the phrase
Innovative Practices is an oxymoron!
The verb ‘relate’ means ‘To feel empathy or identify
with.’ And the word ‘relationship’ means ‘the mutual feelings that exist between two parties.’
Now try following a
practice to foster relationship. Try telling your wife ‘I love you’ every
morning, for instance. It will feel nice initially, then it will not be noticed
and if you continue to do it, there will be enough occasions when it will be
I would submit that
building relations has much to do with spontaneity and a response tailor made
for that occasion, which means the response must be different on every
occasion. Yet it must be based on sound values like trust. The prerequisite for
this is confidence in one’s own abilites, not so much as the character of the
And finally I would
present this statement by Milton Mayeroff. It is my favourite one:
“Through caring for
certain others, by serving them through caring, a man lives the meaning of his
own life. In the sense in which a man can ever be said to be at home in the
world, he is at home not through dominating, or explaining, or appreciating,
but through caring and being cared for.”
True caring comes when
you understand feelings, more so when both the parties involved understand
feelings. And relationships whether with individuals or groups are all about
empathy and feelings.
There are of
relationships of a different kind. As Osho says
‘Relationship may be
just out of fear….. Relationship may be just a kind of security – financial or
something else. ….. Relationship is a substitute.
And he goes on to
is beautiful because it is a mirror. But there are stupid people – they see
their face in the mirror and they see it is ugly so they destroy the mirror.
The logic is apparent: this mirror is making them ugly, so destroy the mirror and then they are beautiful.”
Relationship is a mirror, it mirrors our persona. It tells people what
we stand for and what we do not stand for. It tells people whether we are timid
or strong. It tells people whether we are men of conviction and beliefs. And it
tells people whether we are sincere in building relationship – with groups and
Vivek S Patwardhan
"What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others."
Labels: Arihant Industrial Corporation, Building workplace relationship, Trust, Vanaz Engineering