Author: PRASAD T.J.
Company: Palnar Transmedia Pvt Ltd
Twenty Five years of Technopark- Hopes and concerns of employees
Twenty Five years of Technopark
Technopark triggered Trivandrum’s metamorphosis from a sleeping town of government employees to a vibrant city of software companies. Technopark gave Trivandrum a new identity and put city’s name on the world IT map.Technopark threw out the nine-to-five office hour system and established an efficiency oriented work culture. We proved that Kerala is an investment friendly destination and brought many foreign and domestic investors and entrepreneurs. From just five companies in the beginning, today Technopark is home to over 330 companies that employ over 47,000 people and provide indirect employment to some 2.5 lakh others. The confidence it gave to setting up other hubs in the state and the holistic development is fabulous and it gifted a highly developing trademark for capital district.Technopark is currently on an expansion mode by adding more space for its Phase III expansion and Techno city (an integrated IT township near Pallippuram).The park now houses some of the best companies in the world and talents that come with it. No doubt in the next 25 years, Technopark will foster the growth of the city into a megapolis.
It gave a strong relief for big unemployment in Kerala in past 1980’s. It also turned the social system on its head and convinced people that limitations were all of their own making.Technopark also gave wings to women employees with high salaries, leadership roles and entrepreneurship.Technopark’s Technology Business Incubator has supported and enabled start-ups and potential entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into viable businesses, this is also generating an outstanding momentum in between youngsters.
We are thankful to Technopark authorities for your theoretically derived and systematic research programs in the past decades for developing Technopark as one of the best IT realities in India with a significant visual impact. They gave us big support, good leadership in sustainability and a beautiful place to work, which is better than we have dreamed.
Hopes and concerns of employees
Careers are not static activities. Career options and directions will change in response to both the changing environment around us and the way in which we develop and change throughout life. Most of the Technopark employees are aware of the importance of their designation and its responsibilities, at the same time, they know about the social status and respect it gives in society. While most view increased compensation as their primary solution to employee retention and motivation problems, the fact is that most employees want to get liberated from the huge mental and physical stress they are facing on the chair of an IT professional. Here I am describing some of the concerns and hope of our employees which are affecting them seriously
Concerns of employees
An average government employee can work up to 60 year old without any job fear, can enjoy happily 9 to 5 office atmosphere with colleagues, so many employee unions to protect them if they are suffering from any kind of job related issues, and have a good family relationship due to very less work pressure, after all if he is retired he is secured with his pension for a lifelong period. But these all factors will become worst in case of a Technopark employee as like all IT professionals in the country. If the company told an employee to quit he has to do it, nobody will protect him. As getting more seniority he will be a person with more experience and more salary, but the same time he will be a person with the limitations of an aged IT professional. If he passes age 40, definitely company will think about a replacement for him, with a young fresh minded person having 3 to 5 year experience and a low salary as comparing with these heavily experienced people. In case of any technology updates or new software model arrival, company can utilize these young fresh minds very easily. So handling stress that arises owing to fear of losing job or to cope with the increasing competition, affects the employee’s performance, eventually, taking a major toll on his mental strength.
Software packages used by companies, releases their new updated versions each year. Some technologies will completely wipe out from the market and new implementations will take place those positions. The employee has to learn about these updates each time. Otherwise they would lag behind others, causing pressure on the employee and increased job risk if he fails to perform well. Even if one employee having 5 year expertise in one technology which has lost its scope in the IT world, for new projects he may be compelled to study entirely new technology from the scratch. These kind of special headaches are common in IT field as comparing with the other fields.
Occupational stress and health problems
Globalization and privatization have brought new work relationships, job insecurity, insecurity regarding future working conditions and rapid obsolescence of skills are causes of stress. An employee becomes stressed when he or she is allotted with unachievable targets and are unable to manage a given situation. This kind of occupational stress is very high for IT people, based on their nature of work, target, achievements, night shift, over work load. Effects of stress on mind and body are due to increased sympathetic nervous system activity and increased secretion of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Stress at work has been linked with coronary heart disease and metabolic syndrome in retrospective and prospective studies. The common health problem due to stress is acid peptic disease, alcoholism, asthma, diabetes, fatigue, tension headache, hypertension, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, psychoneurosis, sexual dysfunction and skin diseases.
Heavy usage of computer
The continuity of work an employee facing in the four walls of his or her office is very high. Sometimes they have to sit continuous 8 to 10 hours in front of computer even cannot stand from chair ,with related to client discussions or deadly target achievements. Vision problems, eye fatigue, symptoms have become common today for Technopark employees. Regular occupational problems such as wrist problems due to constant handling of the mouse, slip disc also common nowadays.
When getting more seniority
Nowadays, all the major companies are either doing layoffs or planning to start layoffs. Professionals having experience more than 8-9 years are considered as burden on the company. An employee gets more seniority he is expected to become a manager and definitely that company has more people of this experience band than required. So it will be very difficult for people getting laid off to find another job. So they will definitely think, “What should I do to prepare myself for such conditions?” they will be always worried about their future and career goals. Also they will be in a mindset of, get ready for a new job at any time and looking for job change frequently. This job insecurity increases the pain of work pressure.
IT firms who wants to go global and expand its business, faces plenty of obstacles in its way. Challenges that have emerged for the Indian IT companies as they become larger players on the global stage, lies particularly in terms of the workforce employed by the companies. If the employees not performed up to their expectation as a global company, the managers will think about another alternative. So definitely it will give very much headache for the employees. Employees in that stage will be more painful, restless regarding future. When they expand their global footprint, companies have to look beyond the borders of India to recruit more talented people.
Another major problem that has cropped up is the issue of anti-outsourcing. Indian IT industry has thrived on the work outsourced to them particularly by the developed nations. However, as the developed world faces the brunt of the global crisis, they have started raising their voices against the migration of jobs to India. In recent times, many have imposed stricter visa norms and legal fees. For example, US visa rejection rates for Indian techies have doubled over the past few years. As a result, sending IT personnel to onsite locations has become increasingly difficult and expensive for the companies. This would start to have an impact on their margins in times to come.
In Techno park, so many companies have given freedom to their employees to communicate in local language Malayalam .But when we thinking in a different way, this will lose their proficiency in other languages, especially in English. Working in a company for long years and spend a big amount of time with local colleagues in local language will leads to a negative impact on communication. As a software engineer this will decrease their confidence, particularly when they are attending interviews with some big MNC’s.When they are trying job outside Kerala, this will lead to a big problem and their opportunities will be limited to a small region.
Problems related to Women employees
One of the major advantages of IT profession is equality in gender. Young girls with good skills can definitely perform their best and can reach up to their expectations. As comparing with other industries and sectors, IT gives more freedom for women employees. But still some managers create problems with marriage and maternity. Some companies always think about provisions such as maternity leave, travelling & work from home facilities have been provided, relocation problems after marriage.
Some questions arising from women IT employees are
1, Is they secure in travel alone or in company vehicle on the way to shelter, particularly in night time? And nowadays many people from outside states are wandering around the Technopark related areas.
2, After maternity leave, whether company will cut off their hike, promotion, seniority etc….?
IT professionals are also paying tax as based on the government rules, but don’t have any pension or other kind of benefits. The day, in which he resigns from his job, he will become a person without income. As comparing with the government employees a person in the software field have to work doubly hard. With very heavy work schedule he may lose his friendship circle, may have to lead a poor family life with not much time to spend with his wife and kids, and also had to live as a victim of continuous physical and mental stress of his deadly targets. But after all when he takes a retirement from IT sector in the age range of 40 to 50, he has to manage his family himself without any support.
Hopes of employees
Proud to be an IT-Professional
Young talented people are still proud to work for IT companies. They are helping global customers often out of India, travelling the world, solving problems, building careers, buying homes and cars, raising families. They are on a mission to grow with the fast changing world and be a partner in the development face of new online world. They are involving in the different types of projects from different domains which dynamically bridges the world. Here information is very much transparent and will increase the sincerity than being bogus statements.
Flexibility of work
Another positive aspect of IT job is the possibility to work from home and the flexibility in time of work, if the situation so demands. Flexible timings in some offices are very much employee friendly and also if situation needs they can work from home also
Clearly, employers are starting to realize that just offering competitive wages and health insurance is not enough to attract and retain talented employees. It is nice to see employers trying to help employees balance work and families. Hopefully, this is the start of a new trend. Companies should modify their policies to make the techie delighted, their vision and mission to make it employee-friendly and women friendly. Today’s techie tries to juggle between work and life to find the correct balance. He does not want to lose out on any aspect of life that he holds close to his heart and his employer.
Stress relief programs
In addition to on-the-job ethics and character training sessions, tech companies might want to have similar sessions that address off-the-job behavior have regular “stress breaks” intended to help the employees strike a healthy balance between work and fun, to protect the rights and the privacy of your employees. As if to acknowledge the prevalence of high levels of stress among employees, many IT companies have “help hotlines” that provide counseling intervention to their employees who face stress or psychological fatigue.
Reinforcement of relationships
The youth can share their technology skills, whilst elements of the program enable the seniors to share their life experiences with youth. Both of which reinforce connections within the community. Building technology capability of seniors on the new communication platforms to address digital exclusion and improve communication. By utilizing the experience of seniors company can generate self-development opportunities for youth through a variety of roles they can play within the events and program, to provide them soft skills outside of academic achievement.
Encourage open communication
To build a lasting relationship with the ones living around us and may lead to more successful life on and after job, to connect all employees to a common platform is a big task and effort for park authorities ,it will help to increase the sharing mentality and to get an overall idea about the employees and their problems. Inform employees of the proper forum for consideration of their concerns, ensure employees can raise issues without fearing reprisal, address employee concerns in a timely and objective manner and provide employees an avenue for consideration of concerns that fall outside existing systems.
There are many personalities who were responsible for envisioning and the build-up of Technopark right from the early days of Technopark.We can seek their help in case of this kind of employee oriented programs, can invite them for beautiful sessions from their experience.
Technopark as a joint family
Definitely we can expect more fun and enjoyments from social and cultural programs inside park and will give better relief from the work pressure. With the help of different employee organizations and activists we can arrange many programs to get a feeling that all Technopark employees are part of a joint family. We can provide some emergency help in case of accidents or any kind of attacks against women employees, with a feeling all are brothers and sisters. Likewise we can build up a cooperative working nature beyond the boundaries of a single company.
Something for our society
By joining hands with political leaders and social activists, we can also do something for our society in various sectors like poverty alleviation, financial sector reforms, revamping of the education and social sectors. Organize some events to share a few happily movements for our poor people, especially staying on slums. To bring a sunrise into their dark lives, to educate their children for a better life, to give new dreams for their life. By collecting money and other things from our employees or conducting some fund raising activities, we all can participate in it. As a summery we can say that, our society will get more encouraged by a great model showed by youngsters in social commitment activities. This will change the attitude of the common people towards our employees for a big extent.