Downsizing through social media is the #newnormal


    FPJ writer speaks with experts from the industry to fathom the undertone of the new normal of relying on social media for sacking employees

    Genius minds have rightfully quoted, “Technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master.” The pandemic smacked the world right when we were cemented between our mundane life and electric technology. But what it really brought with it was the sudden changing equations of acumen in the corporate industry. While we are inching towards a ‘new normal’, one news that astounded all was when a few renowned companies sacked over thousand employees through social media. While the news created quite a furor over social media it brought to our notice the wavering concept of ‘new normal’.

    “What has happened is unfortunate and highly unprofessional considering that the said company has a good name in the corporate world,” said Sameer (name changed), who had been in a similar situation. “This pandemic has not affected any particular sector, but the global economy in general. Sacking people without any prior notice that too through social media cannot be shoved under the rug of ‘new normal’. More than the virus people are gradually seeping into depression and anxiety caused due to lack of jobs and this could create a negative working environment in the near future. Considering social media as a means of communicating with your employees, will create grave situations, with employees always under the fear of losing their jobs to such apathy,” he added.

    Abiding by work ethics

    Till date people were under the impression that “desperate times, desperate measures” was merely an understatement oblivious to the fact that in some cases it might just get de facto. “Social media has its own way of functioning, but using that as a means of sacking employees without any prior notice is unacceptable. If we take the global scenario into consideration, the pandemic has affected everyone globally and not just one industry. From a daily wage laborer to a company owner everyone is stuck in this spectrum,” said an official from a corporate firm on the condition of anonymity.

    Explaining the functioning of corporate framework the official said, “The concept of downsizing is not new, however this came to everyone’s attention because of the means used to do so. Each company has its own set of work laws and ethics and both the employer and employee need to be crystal clear about the same. Even if there is a need of downsizing, companies must adhere to the guidelines and laws without leaving the employees in a wallow. If virtual means need to be adopted, companies must have a one on one conversation and explain the employee reasons behind the said decision in a sophisticated demeanor. Employees are the backbone of a company and they work extremely hard and do a lot of sacrifices for the company to run smoothly and they need to get their dues aptly.”

    New laws needed

    In today’s time, government and corporate work hand in hand at some levels and so this news surely created some ripples in government employees. “Seeking a job in today’s competitive world is a tough nut to crack and once you have one, you give your whole and soul to it. So when you are just sacked overnight it does leave a deep impact on your mind,” said an official working with a government firm.

    Elaborating on the implying changes in near future, the official said, “New work laws and ethics need to be designed to deal with situations like these so that both the employer and the employee could work on a standard platform in harmony. Use of virtual media needs to have its own set of restrictions that need to be followed thoroughly.”

    Deciphering the conundrum

    The common bridge between a problem and solution is finding the mezzo. Solutions in such case need to be driven with the intention of favoring both the company and the employee that will not just help develop relationships but also enhance the workforce environment.

    “We are becoming aseptic in our relationships, yet true leadership’s core quality is empathy,” Says Hari Menon, Corporate Learning and Development Consultant. Decoding the conundrum he said, “It will happen in markets where supply is bigger than demand and in India we have this scenario. We have all lopsided policies and methods because of oversupply. The last decade was spent in dismantling the collective bargaining strength of the workforce, the outcome of which is evident. Unions were made impotent and representations were dismantled. It is only with strong representations, will the workforce be able to take a stand. So today there is no one who speaks for the workforce.”

    When asked about streamlining workforce policies in the future he said, “Collective bargaining is the only way that the workforce can get its rights and be treated half as decently as they deserve to be treated. This initiative could have forced industry to consider creative ways to keep the workforce and still manage overhead costs.”

    Unlocking Maslow

    Considered as one of the basis of corporate element the Maslow’s theory takes centrestage here. Clinical Psychologist Anu Raj deciphers this situation through the psychological glass. “If you ask me how does this imply here then at its very base, the theory speaks of the physiological needs namely air, water, food, clothing and so on along with the safety needs that speak of personal security, employment, resources, health and property. Both the needs are interrelated because a good employment will cater to your physiological needs thereby also maintaining mental stability.” Amplifying the theory she said, “Safety needs will be catered to only if an individual is assured that his or her job is not at stake. We do address such issues when people come to us after losing jobs or businesses in an unpleasant manner. Firms must design some ground rules before downsizing employees.”

    Such sudden downsizing brings to the fore the need to draw a line when it comes to usage of social media in a professional setting. It also urges the need to modernize work ethics and laws so as to develop a positive relationship between companies and employees and avoid such hassles in near future.


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