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Are the Corporates sensitive enough to males

Are the Corporates sensitive enough to males

In today’s IT driven age human capital is by far the most important asset that organization’s have and they are still overwhelmingly male in gender.  It has also been conclusively proven through multiple researches that males in an organization typically work longer hours and on an average shoulder more responsibilities as compared to a female employee of the same grade. In a typical Indian IT company the pressure on a senior Male employee can be phenomenal  .He is typically in a mid management grade and spends close to 15 to 18 hours in the office driving the company’s business. He may be responsible for driving one or multiple areas like revenue, sales, customer satisfaction, governance and employee headcount; areas, which put a lot of stress on him during his working hours.

However the stress does not cease to exist once he steps out of his office as one might assume. The stress on the man does not stop it simply transitions from work stress into social stress and I call this “stress-transition”. We forget to see the fact that the Indian social structure also starts taxing a man once he is transitioned from a teen to an adult. He is expected to provider and protector for the people around him. So immediately after a man steps out of his office he transitions from a responsible manager to don the role of a provider a protector. The typical man has a wife and 2 children for whom he is the sole breadwinner. He also normally has two old parents who in their old age are completely dependent on him for their well being. Apart from this he may also have younger siblings for whom he provides. From being responsible for providing the diamond necklace for his wife to the blood pressure pills for his mother a man is considered a failure if he is unable to keep any of his numerous dependents happy.

Just like even the most resilient metal can fracture if exposed to constant opposing stresses over periods of time, this constant daily “stress-transitions” and the fear of failure may lead to the most resilient man become emotionally fatigued overtime and bring him dangerously close to “psychological fracture”.

Implosion vs Explosion

However, what happens when a man is unable to fulfill this enormous burden of work and social expectations, which is placed on him ?  If he is unable to perform at work he is chastised as a poor performer and may be degraded in rank and even fired. If he is unable to keep his wife and her children happy he is termed a failure by the society and can be taken to task by the legal system which considers the wife an children to be his responsibility to provide and protect. If he is unable to provide for his parents he becomes a miserable son who has refused to take care of his parents in his old age. The parents too can then approach a court and force and their son to provide for them financially. The pressures from outside can cause what I term as “emotional implosion”.

The pressure from inside can be just as severe since a man from his birth is tutored that success in life is measured on what is achieved in his career and how well he able to provide for his dependents. A man who due to whatever reason fails in any of these areas is also under severe risk on “emotional explosion” due to inner pressures of his own conscience.

The trigger

When a man who is subjected to such stress-transitions on a daily basis is then subjected a severe turbulence in his life like a divorce this might lead to the ultimate and total disintegration of his psychological balance. This psychological disintegration normally manifests itself in explosive and uncontrolled aggression towards his spouse and in may areas can lead to homicide of the spouse followed by suicide.

The risk to corporates

Attrition today is a major problem in Indian IT industry. The overwhelming majority of employees leaving an organization are male.

What Indian corporates need to realize that gender sensitization and understanding the male psyche can be a major tool to controlling male attrition?

Employee loyalty can be very strong when it is driven by gender sensitization that is when a company really understands the problems of its male employees and provides them a helping hand. These male minds, which work for them and generate billions of dollars of revenues, are essentially little pressure cookers of fast moving thoughts heated by the temperature of work and social expectations. When such a pressure cooker explodes due to the constant stresses that it subjected to it might lead to a disastrous consequence not only for the employee but also for the reputation of the organization.

One of India’s largest Indian IT companies found itself staring at this type of scenario in 2008 when once of its employees Amit Buddiraja committed spousal homicide of Rinku Buddiraja followed by suicide. The company smartly distanced itself from this issue and refused to intervene. Consequently about two years later Satish Gupta another employee of the same company confessed to the brutal murder his wife Priyanka Gupta. Once again the media cunningly associated the name of the company where the alleged killer worked whenever there was a report on this incident.

Did the Indian corporates learn a lesson from these two ghastly acts and delve deeper into the reason on how a docile highly educated computer honing expert who possibly has never had the stomach to even kill a rat commit such ghastly acts of murder?

Does corporate brand equity and value only depend on revenues and profit margins? Will the reputation of an organization be safeguarded if its name constantly appears every time a homicide case is brought up?

Had Amit Buddhiraja and Satish Gupta received counseling and proper support from their organizations they would most possibly have navigated through their problems and probably have become extremely loyal employees. This may be an example of extreme scenarios but even when applied to large number of employees it can be confirmed that being sensitive and cognizant to problems of male employees might ultimately lead them to also reciprocate in a very positive manner and improve male employee retention.

Timely intervention 

Males today spend over 12 to 15 hours of the day in office and sleep for about 8 hours, which means the overwhelming time of conscious state of mind is spent in the office. Also unlike women, men are gagged by their social upbringing due to which they prefer to remain silent till the point of explosive emotional fracture. As part of the corporate social responsibility and commitment to work life balance commitments corporates needs to allocate a part of their time to drive home gender sensitivities in the organizations with a focus on men’s issues. Men in corporate organizations need to educated that it is OK to be a failure sometimes and the benchmark of success in life is not always measured by his performance, income, and the level of provider and protector that he is.

Private and confidential trainings courses need to be organized for managers and human resources professionals to educate them of the problems men face at home and at work.  A good example would be providing training to Managers and Human resources executives to handle ad react to situations where a male employee and his family is  jailed on a false charge of dowry harassment, or when a doting father are being denied visitation and custody rights to see his only child. The company needs to proactively create policies to at least partially alleviate the extra stress that this type of severe turbulence creates in the minds of the young men.

Proactive and confidential counseling can also be provided to males who are dragged in marital discord, divorces or other family issues. Incorporating policies like this in the HR rulebook is the only way to ensure that stress-transition that the male minds go through daily can be kept within tolerable limits .This will also ensure high employee loyalty and retention since an employee will be more than willing to stay with a company when he knows that his manager and HR are both sympathetic to his cause and will go to reasonable lengths to accommodate his needs for balancing his needs in work and family life. Had this been done Amit Buddiraja , Rinku Biddhiraja and Priyanka Gupta might have been alive and Sanjay Gupta might have continued in his HR Manager role instead of serving life behind bars.