How to fire employees? Firing employee? Firing employees? THE GUIDE

These days every now and then we hear about a friend/colleague getting fired or a company laying off its employees. Then the blame game phase, where the employer will blame the employees and the employees will blame the employer.

Firing employees is not easy

For any sane minded company (you should work with sane minded company only) firing is one of the most difficult part. I had interacted with some of the people for whom firing is just a way to improve his business. If somebody is not performing ask him to leave, thats all. Some people are good at firing, I am not. I have always struggled with firing employees and I have learned my lessons too. Firing is awful for the person doing the casting out and, surely, for the person being fired. Still it is important to let people go at times. I was a part of many discussions where we were passing the ball to each other for the firing announcement. I was also a part of the team that got fired. So I have been on both the sides of firing table and felt the heat exact same on both sides.

Why employees get fired

Just 4 reasons:

  1. For breaking laws.
  2. Non performance
  3. Economical problems
  4. Strategy changes by the company

Employees getting fired for breaking laws:

Now even this can be further divided into 2:

  • Being unethical: This is when people steal or cheat or sell off some proprietary things. This is highly unaccepted. In this case one doesn’t need to think twice. Hear the person, give a good and fast trial and call the fire alarm. In such firings it is important to announce the reason for firing really loudly. I remember a case with a very high profile US based company that started its operation in India. A senior person, very high performing person, was fired from the company for bribing the government officials for a contract. Company did get the contract. In any other company the person might have got appreciated with incentives as bribing is taken as a accepted practice in some part of the world. BUT this company wanted to make sure that its people understand the value behind its integrity, so fired the person loudly. Every person in the company got a mail with the reasons and was asked not to take this route ever. So in such cases do shout loud enough after firing. This will also settle the dust of confusion among the employees. Leave no place for gossips or misinterpretation after firing.
  • Breaking of other company rules: There can be other breaking of rules like coming late, or being arrogant to the seniors etc. In such cases I haven’t seen much of firing as most of the firing had non-performance as the real reason and breaking of company rules only as the surface reasons. In such cases before firing the person you need to give the person atleast 3 to 4 chances. Provide training to the person, assign a mentor and delegate the firing process to the mentor. After 3 to 4 chances do let go the person with proper explanations. Also it is advisable to clear this process with other employees. I will also suggest to drop a common mail to the company explaining the reasons and the process for such firing.

Firing employees for non performance

This is a much debatable topic when it comes to firing because of non performance. I have only seen few occasions when the person has accepted that he/she wasn’t performing. In most of the cases both the parties will disagree on the non-performance status. I recently interacted with a person who got fired from one of my known companies. I know their management really well. So he asked me, “Why did so and so fired me, I was one of the most performing person in the team and they fired me for non-performing”. I inquired and found many more reasons behind his firing including some level of politics (You know what I mean). But overall this guy wasn’t clear on “WHY I WAS FIRED FOR NON-PERFORMANCE”. There were instances were people were getting fired for non-performance and I advocated and mentored them. To the surprise of many they became the pillars to the company. Also there were instances when non-performers did not improve and did cost to the company because of my intervention.

With non-performance based firing one need to be very careful and make sure that their is no foul play involved. As in one of my previous post it mentioned that “People leave company because of their manager“, so can be the case with firing. There are many cases where the firing happened because the manager was not happy with certain thing (which can not be counted as non-performance at all), or the manager was feeling threatened because of the junis talent and so on. So in case of non-performance, let the HR department define the non-performance clearly. THE KEY IS CANDID. You need to be open to the employees as in what you mean by non-performance since performance is estimated based on results and results are depended on team work. At many times the job profile may not be well defined leading to non performance. Different people have different attitude towards work, some are task oriented or well-defined job description oriented, so you need to define their roles very preciously to avoid non-performance. A scrutiny of non-performance may also lead to improvement in work and work-flow processes.

In case of non-performance firing make sure that it doesn’t come to the person as a surprise. Let there be a complete open and candid process for such firing. (Also take it as lesson for your hiring, generally a lot of initial stage non-performance firing happens because of bad hiring)

Mass Employee firing due to economical problems

This can be really sad when all of a sudden the client flow dies off and the company find itself in a financial crisis. Company does try to fight back but at times nothing work out. In such cases, it is very important to involve the whole of the company to understand the problem and fight back. Recently I visited a CEO of a growing company, he explained me how his company went through financial crisis and how his employees helped him come out of it. In that conversation he did mention that he was very open to the employees about the financial crisis faced by the company. He attended few meetings with the whole team and explained them the issues faced by the company. Then everybody worked extra, analyzed the problems and brought the company out of financial crisis. In all possible cases one need to be very candid with the people in concern.

Even when the CEO explains the issues to the next level it sometimes doesn’t flow down to the core people group. CEO of the company need to ensure that the next level is passing on the information with the same intensity. I have access to some of the top companies in India and I have seen how their CEO sends regular group emails, be it a happy moment or a sad one (but most of these companies are tech companies and every employee has access to emails).

Point of the matter is that employer needs to involve the employee in these situations. Such layoffs should not come as a surprise to anyone.

Employee firing due to strategy changes by the company

This was another reason that I have personally witnessed where the company decided to stop a particular department as they felt it is not the right direction for the company. Such decisions can come out of management meetings and can hit the team as a surprise. But even in these cases company need to discuss with the team about such a move. After all success is all about fine tuning. It is easy to destroy but very difficult to create one. When the company shares its observations with the team then there can be a mutual discussion and sometimes it can come bring huge profit out of such departments and products. Even when the company need to take such decisions, it needs to make sure that the team members are given enough time to explore new opportunities in life.

Do not just delegate firing to the HR department

At many layouts and firing the top management is not at all seen, it is taken care by the HR department. Delegating layoffs or firing to the HR department is not very much advisable. I used to get involved in firing representing the management. Also CEOs and other senior members do jump in at serious firing cases. It is very important to involve the immediate managers and team members in the firing process. In some cases i will also advice the involvement of management including the CEO.

Overall summary on How to fire employees

  1. Make sure employees know the exact reason why they are getting fired.
  2. Make sure it doesn’t come to them as a surprise.
  3. Make sure you hear different version of the story before taking a decision. Allow fair trail.
  4. Make sure you don’t delegate firing to HR department alone.

When did your boss become a boss?

(My apologies for not writing regularly, I am little too caught up with my new book, and other initiatives)
I was reading “So When Did Your Boss Become an Authoritarian?” at bnet and thought of writing few lines here. I heard different stories about their bosses from many of my friends. They had huge respect for their bosses. (I am not naming the company because I am not sure of the facts but yes, I heard the same story from many people) They even recruited more than 100 people at one go. It was expanding and was a symbol of great success. But after few months people started leaving, the place became a horror story. Hiring and firing became a common daily routine. The reason, “our boss changed”. The company still exist and now they have even put a big advertisement to recruit new people. I wish it was one odd company. I head these same stories with different company name associated with it.

Some possible changes:

I can point some of the possible changes and reasons behind it:

  1. Tracking people: As the company grows, the bosses of small companies want to track everything happening. They will put more rules, reporting and everything possible to track the activities not checking the consequences and the need. Reason: They are not sure if everyone is working hard. Why it hurts: There are people who work by their own and are 80% responsible for company’s success, they get pissed off with these new things. The people who don’t work still don’t work.
  2. No time: Bosses have their own choice of work. They sometimes forget to give time to the added responsibilities. Earlier these problems did not exist, it poped up because of new developments. Reasons: Bosses don’t like this work. Why it hurts: Some people don’t answers to questions, which means a lot to them. Solution: Delegation of work.
  3. You changed: I liked this post my Narayan Murthy Sir. When you were young, new and had only one goal and that was to make your company grow, your boss liked you. But when you started asking money and time for your family, things changed. “He is no more the same person” says the boss and changes his perception towards you. He changed because you changes. Or Both changed because time changed.
  4. Communication gap: This is such a huge topic to talk about. Communication can be divided into 2 parts: “Visible” and “Invisible”. “The boss’s smile”, “Boss’s eyes”, “actions”.
    “trust” everything falls under invisible communication. When the company is small these communication happens more often. You understand your boss better but when the company grows the verbal communication takes over the invisible communication. The gap starts building up. Solution: Have lunch with them, have parties together, meet up with them, take classes etc. Even you can visit there house once in a while or start a family day in office.

There are more points, let me leave it for you 🙂 have fun.

Two good posts – Working more vs working less and meet robert scoble

As a leader/manager/head you always have to solve this odd equation, how much work is enough? How much profit is desired? More profits certainly means more work. More work may not mean more profits though.

I was reading some of my favorite blogs and stumbled upon two interesting pages, one is a post at Harvard business publication. It is a very different post than what you read, it supports working less by taking an example of 37signals. Not an easy thing to achieve, I must say they did not follow this practice but have achieved this result through organization. Read on and building your own opinion about the equation.

Harvard logo

“When you’re competing against companies that have so much more, the only answer is to do less … do less than your competitors to beat them. Instead of one-upping other companies, one-down them. Instead of out-doing other products, under-do them.”

It recently switched to a four-day work week to keep employees fresh and focused.

read on “Work Less, Give Your Customers Less… and Succeed Like 37Signals” ….

The other page is a wikipedia page.
Robert scoble

Robert Scoble joined Microsoft in May 2003. Scoble was part of the Channel 9 MSDN Video team, where he produced videos that showcased Microsoft employees and products.

Although Scoble often promoted Microsoft products like Tablet PCs and Windows Vista, he also frequently criticized his own employer and praised its competitors (such as Apple Computer and Google). He was unusual in the level of access he offered to his users, which included publishing his cell phone number on his blog and urging people to contact him directly with issues, as well as accepting comments on his blog. His support for Microsoft in his blog, however, drew controversy and in February 2005, he became the first person to earn the newly coined moniker of “spokesblogger.”

The Economist described Robert Scoble’s influence in its February 15, 2005 edition:[10]
“ He has become a minor celebrity among geeks worldwide, who read his blog religiously. Impressively, he has also succeeded where small armies of more conventional public-relations types have been failing abjectly for years: he has made Microsoft, with its history of monopolistic bullying, appear marginally but noticeably less evil to the outside world, and especially to the independent software developers that are his core audience

I just wanted to introduce Robert Scoble, read on …. You may also want to visit his blog at

Happy weekend!

How to handle undeserved high positions

The world is surely biased, you will see politician’s sons becoming ministers, boss’s brothers/sisters/relatives becoming bosses/managers, superstar’s son is gets a better break and someone’s friend jumping high in position. All this is a part of the game. Also in corporate world this happens that family members are joining to a very undeserving position. Some of the companies are very strict about it, eg: Infy

On the broader blood relations issue Nilekani says that “family members of the founders can’t work here.” Murthy told me that neither his son nor daughter, now both in their 20s, will join the company.


The case with wipro is different

That must be a relief, given the dynasty that is beginning to emerge at Wipro, one of India’s other top IT giants. Azim Premji, the 62-year old chairman, controls over 80% of the stock and his 30-year old son, Rishad, is joining at the end of this month from the London consultancy office of Bain & Co, to work initially on financial services.


getting an undeserved high position
(getting a undeserved position is ok, if one knows how to handle it)

That is a part of game and many of the relatives study really hard to take care of their responsibilities but sometimes you are made the leader without enough skill sets and knowledge. Company can take a very different turn if you don’t know how to drive it properly. This post will help you handle undeserved high positions. This post is for me as well as I get (and got) many undeserving positions because of various reasons. (I need to push to office and need to finalize somethings before 12 noon, will complete it from office 🙂 , so keep reading)

Update (6 June, 2008) – Continues …..

As promised, I am going to continue my post, couldn’t do that yesterday (and a day before yesterday). It’s true that all of us can get into an undeserved high positions but how do we handle it will decide our success. So here are some of the tips:

  1. It’s ok to be wrong. Nobody is expecting you to be correct all the time but they certainly expect you to realize the mistake when it happens and will appreciate your loud confession.
  2. Being in a high position doesn’t necessarily mean your involvement at work level. You generally have to get involve in decision making and (generalized) directing. Even I will suggest you getting away from making strategy yourself (read Why CEOs Shouldn’t Set Strategy, just remember that they assumed that CEO doesn’t know the subject well. If CEO knows the subject, do get involve) , you can just be a critics to strategies and offer you suggestions. Let’s take an example: Say I am head of operations for web marketing department and we have a PPC department and link department, one day both the PPC head and Link head leaves the department. What should I do here? I will try to see if someone else fit into the position. Assuming that no one fits in the position (which is horrible situation as you alway keep building backups for every team member), what will you do? I have good knowledge about Links and very less knowledge about PPC. I will ask both the teams to prepare a strategy. Though I will help the link team in building one. With PPC team, I will listen to their suggestions and strategies, will try to understand as much as possible. If that seems logical to me, I will ring the go bell. Also I will let the team know that I don’t have much knowledge about PPC, so they need to be on their toes to run it properly.

    The core of the point is that being on a high position doesn’t mean you need to get involve in day to day work, just build people who will do that for you. You deal with heads, and direct them to direct the work force.

I have another interesting topic (Web – Personal branding Vs Corporate branding) in mind, so want to abort this one here :). Some of the qualities that will help you handle any position, be it deserved or undeserved:

  1. Good learning ability: If you can learn any field with ease, it helps you fit into various positions. As our professors used to say, “Stay student as long as possible, if possible forever”.
  2. Good upbringing or adopting good values: I remember the guy from aditya birla group (he was some head, one of the top, I forgot his name), he emphasized a lot on kitchen learning. There are few things that you learn from your families. I call them life values, like respecting others, setting right priorities in life, being honest etc. It is very difficult to learn these values later in life.
  3. Ability to change: You can’t play baseball with cricket bat. You are uniquely designed and you may fit into something but in order to help other sections you will have to bend a little, you will have to take a lower/back seat. The Ability to change is a very handy one in handling high positions.
  4. Keep an open door policy: “What the %^%$$ is it?” should be allowed for both the parties to build a good team. If the senior never allows criticisms then better he himself don’t criticize anyone. Let people express their viewpoint and assure them an honest ear. You being approachable is a great strength.
  5. Understanding your team: They are not like you, don’t expect them to be like you. Understand their strength and weakness and use them accordingly.
  6. Being Candor: Oh! How much I loved it and Oh! How much some of them hated it. I always tried to say the truth and feeling as it is, so that we can remain on equal terms. No hidden policies. Many had tough time accepting it and had all the bad words against me. Many did improve and they still thank me for that. Being Candor is not enough, you also need to make sure that you don’t develop perception towards anything or anyone.
  7. Good speaking/writing abilities: One needs to give pep up talks, one will have to write and respond to mails to keep the things moving in high energetic zones.

Wait for my next post, will be up very soon!

What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?

Ok, this is a post that will humble me even further. God was so good to me that for last 5 years I was able to live a life worth looking back and thanking God. We all work, we all create quality products and services but I am happy that I with the help of many were able to help many do their work smartly and create better products.

What did you achieve in last 5 pro years
(Last 5 years of professionalism)

After leaving Grmtech these are some of the comments (in random order) that really kept me motivated:

  1. ” Wish you all the best. I have learnt so many things from you rather from your blog. Today I can’t stop myself from writing this comment. May god bless you all the time and be the best again.”

    Susmita Chatterjee (She worked with me for some months. Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading my blog regularly.)

  2. “I came to know this from your blog only. I read your blog regularly because I find it interesting and informative. Sorry for being so late in posting comments. I hope its never too late to begin.”

    Manjit (She worked with me for very few months, we enjoyed the work but it was a big surprise to hear from her. Thanks for remembering me)

  3. sometimes people make a huge difference in the environment surrounding you… and you are one who does that Sir… i am sure those guys in your new company would realize your true worth very soon… U ROCK SIR!!

    Sir, you made GrmTech the place what it is today. Without you it would have not been the same innovation oriented group of people. Personally you have made me what I am today. I owe a lot to you Sir. I have learned many things from you.


    We will miss AjiNIMC at GrmTech.

    May God Bless You Sir.

    Good luck !!!! (more …)

    Anand Kedia – [He joined as a very young team member and how he is handling a lot of things now. Many hate him and rightly so 🙂 he sometimes is irritating too, I respect him for his initiatives (very few people have this quality) and I wish I could have shared some unwanted experiences with him. Never too late for it. Here I go: “The spirit of communication is not the spirit in which you speak/write but the spirit in which the other person hears/reads you. So always thing of the impact that it will have on others by thinking like others. Thats the only change you need, rest everything rocks except your knowledge level. People respect you for your knowledge, so read read and read and then apply apply and apply and then read read and read and then reapply reapply and reapply” :), he is a great guy to work with)

  4. When I started my career in SEO people use to ask me WHY? Why are you choosing this field, while you are an ETC Engg. and you can get a good job, but when I joined my first job that time I was completely fresher. It was you who taught me the real taste of web and now almost 20 hours of my day goes to web and I am really enjoying it. There are lots of stuff associated with web, and it is also true that you are going to learn every moment of your life. Thanks Aji.

    By Alok (Currently heading a company as CEO, He worked with me on one of the projects. It is great to know that people are creating more jobs for India).

  5. If I look back at those 3 years, Grmtech has been more of an institute rather than a company for me (Thanks to Aji and Sourav Da).

    by Anirudh – It reminded me of some early days of Grmtech where we wanted to make it more like a university to do a very highly work and research. Congrats dude for completing 3 years at Grmtech.

  6. Wish you all the luck and success sir…m sure whrevr u go…u will keep on inspiring people as always

    by Vasudha (We worked together for just few months. People inspired me and some say that I also inspired many :). Great to see your comment).

  7. I know that you have the ability to change the environment when you do not like it…keep it up…my best wishes are always with you [:D]

    by Saikat (he is one of the best lot with whom I am associated with. There was a time when my first 30 mins in office was scheduled for a meeting with Saikat and the topic of discussion was INNOVATION. We worked on many new stuffs. Soon looking to work with you.)

  8. good decision. Sometimes we need to deconstruct and reconstruct certain things in our life. I am happy that u have done so. I believe right now u r quite confident with ur new venture. Carry on, all the best.

    by Susenjit

    Nice seeing you growing up. 🙂 Best of luck in ur life. hope things will turn in ur favour.
    It was great pleasure working with you. I always remember you.

    by Subikar
    [This was truly motivating as I never expected that Subikar and Susenjit will comment on it. I am very very happy they did. Towards the end we did not share very good professional terms. We departed very sadly or in a very unusual way, very rarest moments in my professional career. There comments gave me a lot of energy. Subikar proved that any person if dedicated enough can prove his worth. I recruited him on my own risk, many laughed at him and on me (for my recruitment) as he could not even talk properly. Things changed very, he believed in himself and I in him. He became one of the good performing team members. Ended up doing many work on his own. It was big learning in my life. Best of luck to both of you and thanks for dropping in.

  9. Its great move and we should not keep us away from changes that happen around us. It was great time working with you. Now surely some more people will enjoy your experience and knowledge.

    by Mithilesh [It was good working with him. He codes like an artist, never happy with the perfection of code 🙂 … we have learned a lot together. I will remember him whenever I see a complex regular expression :)]

  10. Wish you a very best of luck for your future. I will always remember your humble support and advise. The knowledge you gave me in last 11 months (not only technical) will surely help me to grow my career graph. 🙂 keep in touch

    Shyama Kant [It was very emotional moment when I left Grmtech. I was helping him to fight the odds in his career. He was improving amazingly. I liked him because of his attitude towards work. He worked very hard to complete things. Soon he will be in different trajectory creating greater products. He was the only person who sat with me when I was a new driver, he is a risk taking guy :), wishing all the best. ]

  11. This is Jayangshu from Kolkata. I came by your blog by chance few days ago and quite liked the post titled “How to decide your new employer”. After that I saw few of your new post.
    But today I ended up reading a huge no. of your old post tooo ( Despite of having my xams tomorrow, writing my last xam ). And they are really great. Liked some of ur stories too. Keep blogging Aji

    – by Jayangshu Saha [through email…. I should blog more :), thanks for dropping in]

There are plenty more (thanks for all great comments, emails and scraps). I will keep on adding comments from emails and blog posts here. A very special blog post for me. Whenever I will feel down I will read this post.

What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?

It’s people, It’s people who creates. It’s not the Idea but the people behind the Idea. I have always believed in people and got very good returns. When many ask me that “What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?”, I will use this blog post to tell them, “A small group of people who trusted me and helped me grow the products and companies”. This blog comes very handy in expressing your emotions too.

Did I miss your comment, please drop me a mail.

My first day at DigitalAvenues was really great

All happened really quick, on 25th Apr got a call from DigitalAvenues for an interview, on 29th Apr I took a leave and went for the interview. Reached there at 12:40 (instead of 12:30 because of huge traffic jam) and started interview in next 15 minutes. Partners after partners talked, we liked each other, thought of getting married and DONE. They prepared the paper, I signed it and I was in. On 30th Apr, I served a one month notice period to Grmtech and somehow that day became my last day there. I called up DigitalAvenues and asked them for an early join and they agreed. Took a day off yesterday (1st May) and I was in office today (2 may), my first day at office.

I reached there before 9, called up the guys and they were surprised since they were not prepared as I was going to join them officially on Tuesday (6th May). I was in t-shirt and jeans, so I asked them about the company dress code. I heard this back, “Wearing something is important, what you wear is not” (We laughed and carried on). Within minutes I was in the conference room going through some ppts about their new product line. When I saw the product, I was forced to say “WOW!!!!!“. Then I met another partner, he explained to me about the service part of the business and the whole model. I will be taking care of the web marketing department from Tuesday. We did a lot of official talks including an introduction to the pillars of DigitalAvenues (the core team leaders). It was more fun (amazingly fun) than work. My first day at DigitalAvenues was really great.

I was amazed at:

  1. Their ability to think and deliver big.
  2. Their achievement in short span of time.
  3. Their colorful PPTs, it looked so amazingly professional.
  4. Their crystal clear strategies.
  5. Their pristine clear mission and commitment towards delegating their vision to the bottom of the company. The management layer was into the business strategies rather than work.
  6. They having amazing fun inside the office.
  7. Amazingly artistic crowd. Their designers are really talented and a search on web shows the same (see some work).
  8. Enough for the first day 🙂

I will be spending another unofficial day tomorrow at DigitalAvenues.

Why Indians fear failure?

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” — Albert Einstein. We can rephrase it is as “Anyone who has never failed has never tried anything new”. But then why are we afraid of failures?

Why Indians fear failure

Being an Indian, I am not stating this as a fact, rather as an observation with a 28 year old eye. Last seven years in the Indian corporate world, where I was hired for innovation, have forced me to conclude that “Yes, We (Indians) are taught to succeed and not to fail”. Most of the times, failure is seen as a result of inefficient, unfocused and UNWANTED attempts made by an inefficient, unfocused and not so smart individual.

It takes me back to the year 1995, my 10th grade science practical exam. We were asked to make projects based on scientific theories. The most popular choice was to go for a wind mill or a solar heater. Our seniors did it and their seniors too and probably their seniors too, everybody knew about these so called popular yet regular projects. However, my friend Rajkumar decided to break the so called success mantra by doing something new, a water clock. He made a water clock where one drop of water was hitting a second’s hand every second (He did all the calculations and I guess it worked). But he really had a tough time in convincing his teachers of its worth (and his hard work). He was discouraged at every stage and the weapon used to dissuade him was again the after effects of failure. It’s not a story with one Rajkumar but almost every Rajkumar.

Here are my viewpoints on why (most of) the Indians are not very comfortable with failures:

  1. We hardly failed: From our childhood we hardly failed as we were not allowed to fail. We were given a tested formula before every experiment which minimized the chances of failure to almost zero. We were almost always taught the “how to” with “what to”. As we grow the word failure takes a different meaning altogether as we never saw that as a part of our normal day to day life.
  2. Failure makes YOU a failure: It was always inculcated that failure makes you a failure. Things are changing but still the respect for the failure is missing. I really liked Sir Ken Robinson talk on “Do schools kill creativity?“. I wonder if our education system is creating the fear of failure inside.
  3. Less freedom for innovation at higher education level: I had been a student of 2 great universities but we hardly had the freedom to try something new. Creating something new was an option that was left for not so important (out of course) subjects. I personally feel that at PG level or professional courses there should be classes on the necessity of attempts and failures. The more freedom you have for innovation the more you will try and least will you fear failures.
  4. We never enjoyed the luxury offered by failures: Every failure comes with a cost – huge or low. Most of the time we can not enjoy the luxury offered by failure due to the cost and the time involved with every venture. Failure is a lot of fun when you are not putting your throat at risk. How many of us have modified our two wheelers for fun? We owned them for use (I am happy that things are changing very fast though)
  5. At corporate world we are appreciated for success (only):

    Ganguly dravid

    However, in my present organization we take special care to ensure that real attempts are appreciated and awards are not limited to successful attempts only. In fact, I wrote a mail to all the employees asking them to fail more often.

Things are changing very fast. We (Indians) are trying our best to make failure less fearful both at personal and corporate levels. The term failure is being redefined by the latest high-end mergers and acquisitions by risk taking Indian companies. It may be considered as some indications of the new era.

Abraham Lincoln was a success man
Abraham Lincoln was a successful man

  • Failed in business at age 21.
  • Was defeated in a legislative race at age 22.
  • Failed again in business at age 24.
  • Overcame the death of his sweetheart at age 26.
  • Had a nervous breakdown at age 27.
  • Lost a congressional race at age 34.
  • Lost a congressional race at age 36.
  • Lost a senatorial race at age 45.
  • Failed in an effort to become vice-president at age 47.
  • Lost a senatorial race at age 47.
  • Was elected PRESIDENT of the US at age 52!

How to decide your new employer?

After I wrote “Questions for your employer (Hiring Manager)“, many people have asked me various questions like what about salary, career and so on. I will cover some more important questions that you should ask your prospective employee.

NOTE: Don’t ask these questions during your first rounds. Wait till you impress the company. Remember that these questions will always be appreciated. It is your right to interview the company as the company interviews you. It’s a mutual relationship. I suspect people who don’t scrutinize a company prior to joining it. I remember a time when after few rounds in a company I had several meetings with their founders, management and staffs, then I decided not to join them for the time being.

Join good company
(Does your company understands you?)

Try hard to join Good companies

There are only few good companies (where you enjoy work and create great things), try hard to join them. Good companies always want good people. Make a good relationship with them even before joining them. It’s not that tough to win competition with good teammates. “Hiring is the key” – Says Jack Welch of GE. Next section will help you answer, whether to join a company or not. It’s not a perfect formula but worked 80% of the time for me.

  1. What is their mission statement? – This reflects a lot about how the company is organized. Ideally people from the top management to the peon should know the mission statement and work accordingly . Many companies work on different things but everything is done without a proper mission statement. I have seen some small companies with great mission statements, it was so clear that you could sense their direction with just one single sentence. For a bigger company, the name brand name covers up the mission statement. For a bigger company, ask your prospective team about its mission. and then Match it with your profile/choice.
  2. Who manages the company? – Different departments should be managed by different people. If the company is a new startup, assume it to be a little messy but they should have a plan to delegate powers to departments. Ask this, “Who manages your HR policies?”, “How are the appraisals done?”, “Who decides the salary increment?”, “If someone is performing extremely well for the company, then ask the concerned person whether the company treats them same way as they treat other employees or do they have a special provision for them?”. You will be surprised to know that many big companies are struggling with these questions. A good company will always try to answer these questions as clearly as possible.
  3. How do you earn money? Who invests in the company? See if they are open about it. If company is not making good money then don’t expect goodies for yourself. Not earning at present is not a big issue but the outline of business plan can be shared (to an impressive level).

Questions about the company?

  1. Five day week: MY SUGGESTION is NOT TO JOIN any company that works 6 day a week. 6 days a week is almost impossible for hard working people. Sometimes people do work 7 days a week if needed but the company that wants its employees to work more than 5 days a week on a regular basis is certainly not a people focused company. One doesn’t need to work XXX hours to complete a task but they surely need to work YYY fresh hours to make it successful, where YYY < XXX for sure. One day off a week keeps employees fresh. The company that doesn’t understand this doesn’t deserve good heads, lend them your hands and legs, brains doesn’t work for 6 days. I seriously mean it.
  2. How many leaves? Compare it with the industry standards. This is also a big factor that you should consider.
  3. Salary break up and Incentives Ask for a clear break up. Promises made is of no use, get it written in black and white. “You will get so and so when so and so happens”, better get it written.
  4. Increments This needs a clear guidelines. I know many who say, “I will get an increment only if my boss feels so“. This needs to change, one should get one deserves. If companies don’t have such policies they certainly needs to come up with one. Also see if promotions are performance based.

Ideal companies rarely exists, so one needs to get some of the mix and keep working towards a company that respects its people. See some of the stories that speaks about its culture (basically some viewpoints 🙂 )