Do you think that Unions and Associations are for Blue Collared Workers only? Think Again!
IT and ITES employees need a collective voice.

This is possible if either the industry heads choose rural locations for future expansions. Also the government should create policies that make it mandatory for a company to ensure a specified percentage of their operations and services are carried out from rural locations. Example: for a company with x number of employees (or more) or revenue of y and above shall ensure that 25% of its work force is based out of tier 3 cities. For the company itself the benefits of setting up rural IT and ITES operations are many. Cost benefits, productivity improvement, lower attrition of employees, employee loyalty, quality of work etc. In the present scenario, myopic strategies continue to prevail in the industry preventing the companies from making a significant headway into rural IT and ITES growth. The association shall strive continually to create awareness as well as openly requesting them to identify clearly the reasons that prevent respective companies from expanding to rural areas. At the same time the association shall also maximize efforts by making the voice of the masses heard at all levels within the governmental agencies to remove any hurdles or impediments that prevent a company from starting or expanding services from rural areas.

The NASSCOM today is a representation of industry heads / company managements. There is no representation of IT and ITES employees at NASSCOM. The NASSCOM association has left out a major set of stake holders in the IT / ITES industry, that is the IT employees. NASSCOM is today a representation of companies and or government representatives only. It is critical that the voice of IT employees is heard and addressed at NASSCOM. A new policy or change in any existing policy should have the necessary support and buy-in from the employees too. It simply does not make sense that policies be simply imposed without getting the necessary buy-in or commitment of support from every single individual that is going to be impacted (positive or negative, short term or long term).

While in the current scenario it appears as though there are no major issues or reasons for concern regarding company/managements ensuring employee satisfaction, yet there are instances where in many an employee feels that their opinions or interests have not been taken into consideration. Some of the policies have in some companies have created an environment of distrust amongst the employees leading to lack of motivation and thereby affecting the quality of work. The long term implications of such a scenario is the risk that the entire Indian IT / ITES industry could be labelled as not only a cheap source of IT labour but of dubious or un-reliable quality. In many instances there have been instances of major gaps between the job role expectations as discussed during interview/recruitment and the actual work activities assigned on joining. There seems to be no recourse or reduction of such cases on the contrary such cases seem to be only increasing coupled with the volatility of the industry as well as poor project planning and management incompetence.

While you may be happy with the situation in your company now, the performance appraisal systems of many companies is seen by their employees as well as managers as nothing more than just a formality. Due to the lack of any watchdog or proper audit mechanisms, to this day serious and or genuine performance appraisal continues to be an elusive dream for many companies and their employees too. The association shall have relevant subject matter experts to provide guidance and create regarding the performance appraisal mechanisms, objectives, industry best practices, and common practices of different companies in India. The association shall also draft a baseline/reference performance appraisal system that can be used by companies to compare against their standard practices. Either there is no process for handling disputes or the documented procedures of handling disputes arising out of performance appraisals are not implemented and there is no mechanism in place to inform or educate the employee on how the company manages its performance appraisal disputes etc. The association shall demand that every company makes its performance appraisal system transparent. Trends and statistics to be available within their intranet portals of the performance appraisals, how many instances of employee disputes with reporting manager, the average performance trend versus individual performance. Many employees have mentioned that during the course of their work, they had informed their reporting managers and the company management that they needed assistance or help by additional tools, trainings, or a change in policy etc that could help them to perform better (many times at practically no impact to the organization at all) and such requests were ignored by the management. Yet at the time of performance appraisal the employee performance is rated below his/her expectation. With the help of subject matter expert members of the association, we shall be able to guide each individual employee on how to track and maintain accurate records that can help them in case of a dispute. The subject matter experts can also issue guidelines of standard best practices to the company management and at the same time take up active advocacy of instances where-in an employee has been wrongfully appraised as a poor performer.

Many employees today face the dilemma of juggling with unsatisfied customers, uncooperative colleagues, non-conducive work environment and unsupportive managements leading to build up of frustration and stress impacting the professional, personal and social lives. Today IT employees are considered to be the most vulnerable to high stress and frustration. The association will serve as a platform to instil the sense of confidence, courage and comfort. Individual employees feel vulnerable and weak since there is no joint representation of the individual employee. In today’s corporate scenario many individual employees feel isolated, weak, vulnerable and intimidated. Often an employee feels insecure and vulnerable even to demand what is a lawful right of an employee. During recession many employees felt they were laid off or forced to resign on flimsy reasons and after the recession ended to curb attrition the companies have imposed mandatory notice periods. To add to the woes, many organizations have now also put a ban on public discussions/debates regarding company policies on blogs and the internet forums. These measures are an indication that often employee interests get sidelined and ignored. It is unfortunate that neither NASSCOM nor the Government Agencies or Ministries even interfered to instruct the companies to revoke the gag orders imposed. It is very unfortunate that in a free world we hear of policies that curb freedom of speech and the right to express grievances in public by corporate companies. In contrast there seems to be a fear among the senior executive management that in case the IT/ITES employees were to form an association, then the senior / executive management of many large companies in India may be questioned for their style of functioning and planning etc. The sad truth is that fear and intimidation is the only reason that despite many million people employed in the IT/ITES industry, our contribution towards innovation, creativity and creating a new product is nil or negligible. The association objective is to create an air of confidence and comfort to ensure that innovation and creativity does not get curbed or ignored by poor and incompetent managements that function manage through fear and intimidation. The intent is to create an environment that fosters bonding between people at all levels, closeness and loyalty to the organizations that people work for, a spirit of innovation and creativity, a commitment to ensure the growth and progress of India, a commitment to make India the most advanced and progressed nation in the entire world.

The association shall comprise of Legal experts, HR experts, Technical and Functional experts. All grievances reported shall be

In many instances where an individual comes to a new city or place of work have had to face several issues and challenges. In cities like Bangalore, Pune, Gurgaon/Noida, Hyderabad etc, individuals have been mugged in day-lights, criminal intimidation of individuals is becoming rampant because a new comer to the city who does not know the language or the neighbourhood well enough is considered an easy target. In many occasions these individuals feel very vulnerable, exposed and helpless because in many occasions even the civil defence authorities do not offer immediate help. There are many incidents recorded where in an IT employee has had to go through extreme hard ships to even register an FIR for a vehicle stolen, or laptop and cash robbed while walking back home from work etc. The association can take up such issues and immediately escalate them to the highest authorities within the governmental agencies. Use the network of people built through membership to explore, identify and implement mechanisms to curb crime and ensure that IT and ITES employees are no longer looked upon as vulnerable and easy targets. The association shall set up a hot-line for any individual to call up and report an incident of criminal intimidation or a criminal incident, lack of support or cooperation from government agencies, incidents of targeted criminal acts against IT and ITES employees (such as incidents of robbery and mugging in specific areas etc). The association will be able to provide through the press, media and on the internet web-site itself all incidents reported, the status of each incident, the response from the governmental agencies and the company management etc. Through RTI act, we shall collect all information from various governmental agencies. The information collected will then be used to determine best approach to resolve issues. The information collected through RTI can be used to also help other citizens by providing them information and help on how to resolve issues or pending requests with the different government agencies. Example, an individual has filed a request for name correction in the voter list/registration. Despite several follow ups is either not aware of the status or dissatisfied with the status or resolution. The association shall make use of the RTI and its people network to resolve the issue. The association shall regularly post trends and statistics of such issues on its website and through press and media to highlight the issues for early resolution. The association shall also dedicate one day of the month to discuss, deliberate, debate and brainstorm on all the issues being reported to the association, what was the resolution identified, plan of action identified and the most recent status for each issue reported. Sadly, today India is known as a preferred destination for cheap IT labour. Our capability to innovate and create is not exploited / acknowledged. If this trend continues, then the world will really look at India as a country full of ‘Cyber Coolies’. Short sighted managements have not allowed for the creation of an environment that is ripe for innovation and creativity. Many companies inculcate the concept of “customer is king” within the work environment to such an extent that employees do not even dare try to correct the customer mistakes. Instead employees end up resolving issues that could have been prevented. A well organized and informed group of intelligent, smart and educated individuals can bring about massive changes within the nation. The IT and ITES Employee Welfare Association shall serve as a common platform to bring people from different companies, different states/cities, different work profiles and technical expertise together as one family that cares for each other and works together in the common interest of the nation.

eGovernance is the most talked about topic in India today and is being seen as the only viable option to reduce corruption, expedite problem resolution and effective governance. However the main entry barrier to eGovernance is the fact that governments are reluctant to deploy an unknown and un-tested system/process. There is a lot of risk and anxiety coupled with extremely high cost for software and hardware requirements for the development of an eGovernance system. The association can work together to create awareness, dispel myths surrounding eGovernance, identify approach methods and even develop prototypes / proof of concepts that can be demonstrated for immediate adoption by government agencies. This will require combined efforts of the association members to collect all information relating to procedures and systems via RTI act. Determine the objectives for the various procedures. Map the existing processes with appropriate technology related workflow/technology replacement and then design and develop the prototypes. The association can then, through media channels, and internet create awareness amongst the citizens of how the solution can be deployed with minimal negative risks.