During salary revision…the HR must learn to decode silence

The HR departments in all most all corporate would assume and may even get convinced of the fact that the increment, salary revision and incentives offered/done to their employees at the end of the financial year has fully satisfied them. The reason they attribute to the above is that the employees after ‘small murmur’ have gone back to their routine work as before.  The HR functions used to make such wild claim only to ‘impress’ the top management that everything is fine and rosy with the corporate and the HR function has smartly, effectively and proactively managed the task of performance appraisal and salary revision.

How true is such claim or assumptions of the HR function? Instead of seeing the truth, the HR function and the top leadership in every corporate would always work hard to create a ‘perception and air’ around that everything is fine with the organization.

If we really want to analyze the merit of such assumption, we have to learn the ‘management’ insights of nature.

The question of did the flowering plants already knew the nectar and edible pollen grains will be liked by different species of pollinating insects and hence would get attracted towards it? Is that the reason the flowering plants in general have evolved with tasty nectar?

Or, the insects have adapted fully to the nectar and pollen grains and hence, as reward, they also do the job of pollination for the plants?

Since the evolution of flowering plants and insects were scientifically believed to have occurred in different times, the above hypothesis needs to be scrutinized differently.

Much before the evolution of pollinating insects, how the flowering plants would have had their pollination done, and who would have done such job for them, accepting the fact that the flowering plants were the first to evolve.   Then, possibly the plants would have had nectar only subsequent to the evolution of insects, in order to attract the insects to do the pollination effectively.

For the insects, perhaps the nectar would have come as ‘freebie’ from flowering plants. When the choice was limited or nil (work hard and find food or just have the nectar which is easily available), naturally the insects would have accepted the freebie. Such acceptance, accommodation and rewarding the flower by doing the job of pollination, all would have occurred only as natural consequence.

But from such initial or primary acceptance, many insects also would have started searching for better and greater opportunities elsewhere with reference to diverse food availability, decreased threat from predators and favorable environment for safe and easy breeding etc. Thus, multiplicities of insects have evolved.

The point to be remembered by the HR function is that never get lost in ‘people’s’ initial acceptance as indicator of what you have offered to your employees are the best.   The initial acceptance need not sustain. People would have accepted it because they did not have much choice. But that does not mean they are happy about what you have offered.

The people might look for better resources/opportunities elsewhere if you offer them less than what they deserve.   Until such time, their involvement in their work also would get smudged.

The point is not about ‘satisfying’ people by meeting the salary/incentive or increment expectations of people exactly as per their wish, but never fool yourself by the fact that if people have accepted what you had offered as sign of what you had offered is the best.

Accepting and believing things without understanding the ‘real’ will be disastrous. The leaders of any aspiring corporate should never fall into such ‘ritual assumptions’.

The HR function and the corporate leaders have to be sensitive to learn not just from the revolt and rebellion of people, but also from their silence. Silence needs not be an act of acceptance but it can be a much stronger protest or rejection or disagreement.    

Dear corporate, please learn to understand your people from their silence also. Learn from nature to enhance your management wisdom.

Dr S Ranganathan, ClinRise Derma Pvt., Ltd., Chennai

Desire, Dream and Destination – Social Entrepreneur Forum


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