The coronavirus pandemic has created a troublesome situation for businesses around the world. With no or little profits, companies are forced to either shut their operations or lay off employees and implement salary cuts.
At this crucial time for businesses, Ratan Tata, chairman of Tata Trusts and a revered industrialist, urged businesses to show sensitivity to all stakeholders and not just shareholders.
In conversation with YourStory, Ratan Tata spoke about how businesses should respond in a post Covid-19 world. Talking particularly about recent layoffs in several organisations, he said:
The initial tendency when the virus hit (was) lay off people, thousands of people. Is that going to solve your problem? I don’t think it is, that’s the knee jerk reaction that you had from the traditional workplace, lay off people because the business is gone. But you have a responsibility to those people.
India also saw one of the worst migrant crises in recent history during lockdown. Lakhs of migrants were forced to walk back home in the absence of work opportunities.
The veteran industrialist also talked about them and emphasised on the need of being ethical towards the labour force that has always served us.
That labour force which was huge, one day was just told, ‘there is no work for you, we don’t have a way of finding means for sending you home’. You are just there, you don’t have food to eat, you don’t have a place to stay. Not wishing to blame anybody but that was the traditional view, that view has changed now to ‘who are you to do that?’
He urged businesses to contemplate their decisions keeping their customers and employees in mind so that they do not wrong anyone.
An embodiment of empathy, the philanthropist and business-tycoon won hearts on Twitter with his talk.
Before humanitarianism became cool there was Ratan Tata who went about doing his bit without fuss or fluster. My admiration for this gentleman grows, he embodies empathy in his every act. https://t.co/8Ht2X3ebWr— Ram Subramanian (@VORdotcom) July 24, 2020
Indeed! India Inc has always fallen short in this department. Doesn't look like that's going to change in a long long time. https://t.co/McjBCONncC— Priyanka Sehgal (@priyankasehgal7) July 24, 2020
"It's impossible to survive as a company if one is not sensitive to its people.”— Sajin Shrijith (@SajinShrijith) July 24, 2020
Note the point.https://t.co/KHpxzY0EKp
@RNTata2000 has always been an inspiration for the business world as he keeps his employees first. Tata Group has not even laid a single employee after the outbreak of #Covid_19, proving to have an effective and sensitive leadership.@bsindia https://t.co/my6xKX3HDv— Anuradha Jain (@anuradhajainn) July 24, 2020
According to reports, although Tata Group has cut salaries of its top management by up to 20%, it has not laid off any employee amid the pandemic.
It's like a breath of fresh air listening to the veteran industrialist talk about embracing change and ditching traditional and outdated ways of doing business.
You can read the entire interview here.