Asking employees return to office is triggering ‘Great Resignation’: Randstad India MD & CEO

T.E. Raja Simhan | | Updated on: Apr 29, 2022
PS Viswanath, MD & CEO, Randstad India

PS Viswanath, MD & CEO, Randstad India

Talent prefer to work in their comfort zones at home, says PS Viswanath

The IT/ITeS industry is grappling with the Great Resignation - a phenomenon that describes record numbers of people leaving their jobs after the Covid pandemic. What led to this phenomenon? It is not about salary or promotion but employees unwilling to return to work after adopting the Work From Home (WFH) culture during the pandemic; companies not valuing employees’ work and invest in their growth, says MD & CEO of the recruitment firm Randstad India PS Viswanath, as he discusses with BusinessLine on the Great Resignation and other issues related to WFH.

What’s the main reason for the Great Resignation?

Most people asked employees to come back to work. That’s the latest thing that is triggering resignations. The Great Resignation is a very tough period. It’s like a pipe. If you are a plumber and design that water reaches the destination from the overhead tank, you get a good flow if there are no leakages. But, throughout the recruitment processes we now have leakages in the pipe. People also change jobs looking at two major issues – is the role that I am doing is meaningful and is my company valuing my work? If any of these two are missing, they want to change. People are changing jobs because they don’t get valued.

But why this situation?

Talent is more comfortable working at home. They find it an unreasonable ask by companies to bring them back to work. They are nervous; feel that productivity is going to go down because of all things like commute etc. They prefer to work in their comfort zones at home.

Employees also had advantages in salary, right?

Employees were comfortable getting a higher salary as they are paid Chennai salary but staying in tier-2 or tier-3 locations, and getting unfair advantages. They were also saving on things like rents. When they were asked to return, they quit. But, at some stage, all this will end. Companies will become smart and adjust the compensation to those cities where they are living. If I need a better salary, I need to go to Chennai. 

Do employees above 40 years also unhappy returning to office?

Yes, such a trend is also prevalent among those above 40 as WFH has become a lot more efficient. For the last few months, I was confined to my home. However, motivating 1,500 people sitting at home without a physical interaction is going to be a difficult task. However, the virtual environment has really helped. But, in the long term sustaining that would be difficult. People need that warmth, the pat on the shoulder once in a while. When there are only meetings, I would prefer to do it from home. But, if there is a team there and would like to motivate them, I would love to come back to the office. I come to the office two days a week. It is also important that between meetings we have the chit chats and water cooler conversations. We miss this.

While efficiency is there, are there challenges too in WFH culture?

Yes. Not many can afford air conditioning at home, and a house that is big enough to have privacy. There are people who are struggling to adopt WFH. They don’t switch on the cameras, openly talk, and these are the people who want to come to the office.

How about mental wellness? 

Three years back, we started the ‘Be kind to mind’ initiative, which deals with mental wellness and can reach out to the organisations anonymously and talk about the problems. There was a spike in the number of cases where people have reached out to these organisations on marital issues. As you have invaded the home, people are finding it difficult to cope with. Issues between husband and wife are becoming more severe. These are the people who want to escape from home and come to the office.

Published on April 29, 2022
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