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The ‘cause and effect’ of IR
PH Singh | New Delhi | Wednesday, 20 July 2016

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Just play along with cause & effect, gravity, flow thermodynamics, electromagnetism and time. You will not only feel motivated, but appear motivated. 

A one-sided love story may collapse vigorously, but a two-sided love story may collapse more furiously. All individuals, depending upon their maturity level, have their own triggers set at different anxiety levels. The biological, social, environmental and experiential permutations and combinations make us different from each other.

Also, no status of human emotion can continue for long. The surge of emotions is our natural reflex in response to a ‘trigger of a new event’ detected by our six senses. Willingly or unwillingly, such events do pop up constantly in and around us. These triggers get checked by our behaviour. While the familiar ones are accepted by our system, the unfamiliar ones result in a reactive alert — a delusion that causes psychological and physiological alterations in our thoughts and behaviour patterns.

‘Reality’ is not what we see, hear, or think. It swims with ‘cause and effect’, dives with ‘gravity’, flows with ‘thermodynamics’, expands with ‘electromagnetism’, and modifies with ‘time’. The perfection in creation and growth of life processes depends upon the accuracy of these fundamentals.

Thus, if nothing is constant, how can ‘motivation’ have a continuous effect? Just play along with cause & effect, gravity, flow thermodynamics, electromagnetism and time. You will not only feel motivated, but appear motivated.

Take the case of an orchestra group. When instruments are tuned, rhythm vibrates, and the song is melodious; all the singers, instrumentalists, and listeners enjoy the music. The performers as well as the listeners appear motivated. The discomfort begins only when other priorities pop up to disturb this rhythm.

Employees learn and replicate what we practise. Having two qualities of safety shoes—better one for the management and cheap ones for them—will obviously instigate them to throw these shoes at the management.

Employee motivation and industrial relations are in no way different to these concerts. The trouble starts when people try to push the boundaries due their incompetence, false ego, unreal issues, and hypothetical solutions. We must believe the fact of life that every cause has an effect, and every effect has a cause.

Maintenance of a relationship is also a reciprocal phenomenon of ‘cause & effect’, so is the case with industrial relations. You cannot sustain a ‘win-lose’ game. Sustained triumph is the forte of a ‘win-win’ collaboration. One must contribute and must share the proportionate reward of one’s contribution. The labour unions should not encourage poor productivity and indiscipline. Similarly, the management should be transparent in giving out the proportionate reward. Both the agencies must believe each other and learn to work together towards the peaceful and productive means of shared coexistence. Only a genuine cause can breed a genuine effect. Abuses can only bread abuses.

Industrial relations and employee productivity go hand in hand. The unprotected is exploited, and the overprotected becomes unproductive. The maturity in dealings keeps a balance in order to ensure optimum and qualitative productivity. This maturity also helps one to develop gravity in oneself, for oneself and around oneself to ensure better IR.

The person, who lives with his values passionately, creates tremendous gravity for self, and others get pulled around her/him automatically. These values may or may not be compatible with one and all, but it will still pull some supporters along and grow with their own gravitational strength.

Flowing with ‘thermodynamics’ creates equilibrium and balance in one’s nature and society. Accumulation at one end at the cost of starving the other end, creates anomaly in the system. The reward and punishment must be logically defined, balanced and tuned to the real and creative energy flow. Bias is the main cause of IR trouble.

Employees learn and replicate what we practise. Having two qualities of safety shoes—better one for the management and cheap ones for them—will obviously instigate them to throw these shoes at the management.

In a factory, a union member complained to the HR head that the water cooler of the canteen was not functioning properly. After a few days that union fellow returned to the HR head to enquire about the cooler. Without checking the facts, the HR head assumed that since the union member is pursuing this issue, the cooler was not rectified.

This led to a hot discussion, and the matter escalated to a quick stoppage of work on the union’s call. Everyone started rushing. When the concerned technician and canteen supervisor were called, they confirmed that the cooler was attended to and was running fine since the very first day of complaint.

Nobody, from the union fellow to the HR head, bothered to check the facts before reacting and ended up creating unnecessary conflict.

If the salary increase of the management is market driven, while the increase in workers’ salaries does not even match the price escalation, will definitely drive them towards a forceful collective bargaining. ‘Let them earn to the proportion of their contribution’ is the thermodynamic effect for a productive and smooth IR.

Expanding with ‘electromagnetism’ ensures growth and development. The electromagnetic force is responsible for practically all the mental, physical and chemical phenomena one encounters in daily life. This includes the creative forces we experience through attraction, repulsion, love, hate, binding, unbinding, pushing and pulling the tangibles and intangibles. Productive growth and deployment of IR is nothing but balancing these ‘pulls and pushes’, interacting between mutual needs and expectations.

The event of smooth productivity and growth must satisfy the parameters of quality and quantity of man, machine, material and method which cannot be handled arbitrarily. Any methodology, which is not scientific is bound to result in chaos. If something is left to go wrong, it will go wrong. Making employees shareholders of the business may align them internally towards smooth running and growth of the organisation. Some portion of wages may be given as subsidised shares.

IR processes and practices must grow with realities and expectations. We as IR managers generally fail to gauge expectations, and do derive realities hypothetically, to balance and synchronise them. We often fall short of inputs to convincingly correlate expectations with realities.

In a factory, a union member complained to the HR head that the water cooler of the canteen was not functioning properly. The HR person informed the maintenance to get it rectified. After a few days that union fellow returned to the HR head to enquire about the cooler. Without checking the facts, the HR head assumed that since the union member is pursuing this issue, the cooler was not rectified. Therefore, he replied that it will take some time. The union fellow reacted to the lack of concern of the HR head for employees’ welfare.

This led to a hot discussion, and the matter escalated to a quick stoppage of work on the union’s call. Everyone started rushing.

When the concerned technician and canteen supervisor were called, they confirmed that the cooler was attended to and was running fine since the very first day of complaint. Nobody, from the union fellow to the HR head, bothered to check the facts before reacting and ended up creating unnecessary conflict. Such incidences of communication gap, poor follow-up and lack of updation often spoil IR situations.

Thus, just swim with the ‘cause & effect’, dive with ‘gravity’, flow with ‘thermodynamics’, expand with ‘electromagnetism’, get modified with ‘time’, and enjoy a productive relationship. There is nothing hypocritical about IR.

(The author is plant HR head, Hero MotoCorp)

© 2016 HR Katha

1 comment

  • Comment Link manjula Wednesday, 20 July 2016 posted by manjula

    I definitely do agree with your views on equality approach with respect to benefits - eg sited on shoes does depict it accurately. However , in my view , it's equally important to be self motivated given the work trends and mind sets . Unless , their's fire in the belly , individuals may not perform irrespective of the strategies used to motivate them.

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