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I blame my hyperopia!

During one of our guest lectures, the speaker, with an undying desire to keep the students engaged asked us a question hoping for some ice-breaking to happen. She said, “What do you hate the most about the lockdown? Please type your answers in the chat-box.”

If you can imagine an HR class, you must have guessed the answers that flooded in already. “Stress”, ”mental health issues”, “anxiety”, “screen-time”, “bandwidth issues (Amen to that!)” and “relationships”(assuming we excelled at that before the lockdown, SMH) and “burnout”.

As I explained the same to my friend Rakesh (name unchanged due to the intention to embarrass), he exclaimed “What! How do you not see it! The biggest problem is ‘death’!”

Right then it occurred to me! I suffered from hyperopia aka farsightedness! Information overload on the big picture blinded us from reality. HR strategies on employee engagement have made rounds since the late 90s, but the global engagement scores are barely averaging at 50% today. Companies have come up with fun engagement initiatives during the lockdown like virtual coffee breaks, bring-your-pet-to-meetings-day, etc. Though all these initiatives may spur some buzz initially, they are sure to die down eventually due to their inability to comprehend the actual problem – the reality. Employees are adults; they need not be engaged constantly or be provided with platforms for socialization. As adults, they are well aware of their commitment towards the company and vice versa. All they expect from a company is mutual trust and support during tough times. Patty McCord, Ex-Chief Talent Officer of Netflix, explains beautifully the existence of a professional relationship between the employer and the employee in which, both parties understand the possible brevity of their stint and must both strive to make that journey fruitful and memorable. So live, let live and befriend an ophthalmologist!

- Archana Ramchandran

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