Friday, May 23, 2008

On employees

As a professional, I have about three employees who work in my clinics under my supervision directly; in addition, there are sweepers, helpers and others whom I pay on as-per-demand, i.e. they are not permanent employees. In India, where I live, employee protection laws are virtually non-existent for those who employ less than 20 people in their work; beyond that figure, the establishment comes under the purview of the "Factory Act" and the laws protecting the rights of the employees are more stringent. Of course, as a matter of principle, people like me whom the Factory Act cannot touch also have to be accountable, as we know that if we mistreat our employees, they can guarantee that no one else will join me later on.

I wanted, in this entry, to discuss my employees, both from the past and those that I have at present. There were two employees, one Buddhist and one Hindu, the former, a male and the latter, a female, with whom I had come close enough to cross my limits from a professional relationship to almost friendship. I used to share my snack box with them, play cards with them, and even celebrate my family-members' birthdays with them! I realised my folly when a time came for me to discipline them for a transgression. When I spoke, they, instead of being chastened, answered me back and told me off. This was something I just could not stand, and the result was that I began to dislike them. On one fine day, I chucked them both out from my clinic and appointed two new people. The lesson I learnt that day, I haven't forgotten so far.

When I started my new clinic (see my previous entries on this issue), I was extra careful to spell out the rules governing appointment of all my new employees. They had to be respectful and regular; come punctually and do the registration of all my patients on their computer with the help of specialised software; serve me water, open the clinic one hour before my arrival, start up the computers, order our evening/morning tea and so on and so forth. Once all these things were agreed upon, I confirmed their appointment. Unfortunately, the male receptionist cum assistant who used to be there in the evenings recently broke some of the rules and stayed absent without prior announcement for two days. I had already warned him earlier about these things, but he chose to ignore those signals. Upon him committing the same mistakes again, and because I had previously also apprised him of his responsibilities and warned him not to stay absent without previously informing me, I removed him from his job two days ago. I am convinced that I did the right thing.

My female receptionist, by comparison with the male, is a vastly better person, and right from day 1, has worked diligently and hardly taken any holidays without prior information. Well, let's see how long she holds out.

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