[Part-1: Values Are All Over The Place]
Majority of Indian Corporates are run by old traditional ways of conducting a business that includes depending upon families, communities, and cultures they are most comfortable with. This creates a form of segregation among people from different backgrounds and lifestyles. Most of the top management and owners in this regard are conservative and traditional.
Under the garb of wisdom and knowledge, the lesser fortunate classes of people accept and adopt the lifestyle given by the ultra-rich and people in power. This allows a psychological control of power in the hands of conservative leadership. That is why Indian Corporate Culture sees so many clashes.
There is no doubt that India’s social, cultural, and ethical problems such as caste, backward thinking, and outdated practices have seeped into the corporate culture as well.
These practices and ideas are forced down the newer generation’s throats. This kills all sorts of inspirations and motivations people had before joining an environment that teaches them not to question and not to say no.
With the fast-paced world, India needs to catch up with the progressive mindset of the times in order to keep, retain, and develop valuable human resources. A country like ours has serious issues with social justice, corruption, lack of opportunities, unethical social environment, toxic masculinity, moral policing, mental health issues, and moral issues. We can not escape them just by improving our language or turning a blind eye to it. We must remember, learn, and improve what happens outside the corporate culture and then implement what should happen in it.
Maybe, due to the lack of understanding between the older generation and newer generation, the gap of misunderstanding keeps on increasing. When you ask HR why employees are gone, they rarely have the right answers. That is because, there are no systems, processes, or methods applied by the organization to measure and account for its own systematic and organized pattern of mistakes, errors, and shortcomings. Here are a few examples of outdated Indian Corporate Culture:
“The boss is always right” –
A quirky little joke that died in the ’90s for rest of the world but still lives on 30 years later in Indian corporate environments. Here we are conditioned to listen to our bosses even if they are completely wrong or out of the line. Politeness is a virtue; however, unconditional politeness isn’t. This is what we need to change. Talking back is not rude until and unless it hurts someone’s ego. Bosses can be wrong and they should be able to hear it directly from their employees without hate.
“Over-time is expected” –
In India, it is expected for an employee to stay late and complete his work regardless of the time limits of his job. If not in the office, he might need to take the work home and complete it there. This is neither healthy nor wise for any human being. However, the culture is made to pressurize employees into obediently following orders without expecting extra pay or benefits.
“Leaves are not rights but favors” –
In India, most organizations stick to the bare minimum number of leaves mandated by law and hesitate to give any more than what the law makes them. Even they are subject to approval from supervisors. We understand that work is important, however, employee satisfaction and taking care of employee needs should not be compromised for work.
“Your previous salary decides your next” –
This is one of the most common problems in Asian countries. Whenever candidates are interviewed for a position, they are asked to submit either their previous pay slips or bank statement as proof of their income level. So that their growth and hike can be raised by bare minimum and not fairly. This allows companies to raise salaries by small amounts even if their budget is good and even if the candidate deserves more. This means that ultimately fate of an Indian employee is sealed with his first job since he will only be given a raise on the basis of it. Making the previous employer’s paying capacity or judgment, the only criteria for deciding salaries.
“Office politics is just culture” –
Indian corporate culture nurtures the team environments where the most popular participants or the top management are happiest. This hampers the overall performance of the organization since the majority of the whole organization does not belong to that top management team or popularity. This allows office politics, flattery, bullying, and mind games to manifest in the highly competitive office groups. This also reduces trust, coordination, and potential of all.
We need a thorough understanding of our imperfect culture and push it to make it better. There are 4 more categories of reasons to explain the sad reality of Indian Corporate Culture, we will continue them in the next parts. Stay tuned and share this with your friends and colleagues in the industry.