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After watching endless covid-news, incessant sessions on Zoom, Teams or other similar platforms and self-accolades on how well we have adjusted and responded to the new environment, the attention has shifted to an impending crisis. Will the ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon experienced in the USA, spread out to influence similar behaviour (early signs visible already) in the workforce in India and other countries? Whatever be the outcome, it is evident that most economies are already seeing a much higher rate of employee resignation than before.

A crisis of resignations or churn seems to be taking shape as the numbers of ‘unforced’ resignations grow. Needless to say, not everyone is turning into monks. So, it’s likely that most employable individuals seek a change of scene and hence a probably a very busy churn. I prefer ‘great churn’ to ‘great resignation’.

This seems to be a sequel to the supply chain crisis that we are enduring. There is a general apprehension that not enough capital allocation has been made in capacity building. Meaning, investment to increase production capacity has not been made in keeping with the demand side and hence a general tightening of the supply side i.e. negative impact on ease of availability. Really!  Did we all get market-sizing so wrong?

Is lack of capacity ie Capital, the cause of supply chain crisis or has it been triggered by labour? Using the platform of classical economics, one would tend to pin a greater share of the blame on the impact of Covid in the communities and related restrictions i.e. ‘Labour’ than on Land and Capital.

While there is no single, true answer for all sectors or industries, there is probably an element of thin commonality across all industries and domains. That of course is a separate topic altogether, so let’s get back to the topic at hand.

If the self-accolades on Covid era management are anything to go by, the fear of ‘great churn’ crisis would seem out of place. So, it would appear that the supply chain crisis is/was the layer on top and the real monster i.e. ‘labour’ talent pool is now coming to the fore.

Either way, the churn will create serious problems in the short and midterm and ultimately cause cost increase and disruption in the value chain across the length and breadth of every product and service. It is bound to touch everyone. Disruption in labour and especially skilled labour, leaves a deep crater and takes a long time to fix.

The impact of pandemic has been so intense and with such a serious societal impact that an equivalence with a war-like situation is not an exaggeration. Business (and non-business) Management crises have, by and large, have been addressed in one of the three approaches and often a mix of these

  • Do nothing i.e. the problem will resolve organically
  • Indirect approach (Lidell Hart, circa 1940 and based on military warfare experience) to ‘minimise casualty’
  • Direct or full frontal attack with possibility of higher casualty

In the pandemic period all economies constricted with varying degrees of sectoral de-growth. Winston Churchill’s remark of never let a good crisis go to waste” had more currency in the last 18 months than what I can recollect in my adult lifetime.

I would think in most business environments there have been more of a full-frontal attack approach, leading to excessive work schedule, abrasive style, redundancies etc. Results are out there for all to see.

Did we miss the mark and may have just triggered the ‘great churn’ crisis?

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