Unrest is a complex interplay of external and internal factors in a changing context. External factors aggravate the situation, even if internal factors are very positive. When we speak of internal factors, the metaphor I would like to use is of 'emotional bank account'. Is it positive or negative? This is beyond just employee engagement scores. Positivity gets created from the unsaid and unseen, namely the principles behind the systems and processes, and the character and conduct of all actors. Another aspect that is at a premium now-a-days is the space for conversations and dialog, in the absence of which most of the relationships tend to be very transactional and impersonal. The external factors adversely impacting the situation are the 'values deficit' and 'governance deficit', accentuated by outdated legislations.
The first key contextual aspect is the changing profile of employees. The front line workforce is young, more educated and more aware. Unlike in the past, the supervisors of these front line workforce also tend to be of the same age, and not significantly higher experience, but only a higher qualification for differentiation. In many cases, supervisors are looking at a short tenure in the work locations. The leaders of trade unions also do not have the experience and the intent to think long-term. As a result, the collective intent, capacity and capability to think long-term and having a ‘trusteeship’ approach gets reduced. The second context is the influence of social media. Incidents like the recent ones have drawn so much media attention, which if not channelized properly, can add to the confusion and chaos.
The need of the hour is to therefore, collectively look ahead by reflecting on the success stories, learning from the past, and making changes in approaches and enablers that promote win-win and mutuality.