Cyberwanderer’s Blog

June 21, 2009

Nortel and the Diseased Corporate Environment

Filed under: Canada,economy — cyberwanderer @ 10:46 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The long slow death of Nortel is coming to a close as Ottawa gave up any hope that the company with 114 year old history (source: Ottawa Citizen) would be able to recover. Instead they are offering credit to Siemen to buy part of Nortel in an attempt to secure assurances that they’ll keep some jobs here in Canada.

Nortel is just one case of many, which shows how corporate executive mismanagement have led to ordinary Canadian losing money. Whether it is from stock that they hold or from losing their job. A common trend in our current corporate environment is the executives gets their bonus regularly even if they were responsible for the company’s bad performance. The workers are the first to be used as scapegoat if things go awry. Their bonuses are withheld or they are laid off. Remaining workers are pressured to work twice as hard without salary increase. Some corporations even try to get away with not paying workers overtime by implementing policy that makes it difficult for workers to get approval for working extra hours. Employees are given a hard time when they work overtime. The employees having no choice and under pressure to finish their job (for fear of getting laid off) now works overtime to finish the job even if they were not paid.  Class action suit against CIBC have just been dismissed citing CIBC do have policy on overtime that conforms to the law. True enough, there is a policy that is written, but the verbal pressure put on by management to the employees are undocumented. Management exert pressure on workers as a result of pressure exerted from upper executives. This is a common practice in at least two banks.

Such corruption and exploitation of workers add on stress that affects the health of the workers. But just like the unwritten overtime policy, it is hard to prove that a health problem suffered by a worker is a result of stress at work. The employee knows it, but good luck proving that in court.

The increasing disenchantment among the employees could be a powder keg waiting to explode.  It has the ingredient for making of a perfect storm. People are becoming increasingly bitter as recession lingers and executive continue to get their bonuses, while ordinary Canadians lose their job and homes.

While it is true that Corporation is a major employer, their lack of responsibility and greed could come back to bite them. Take Bell as an example, in an effort to cut jobs, or due to their chronic lack of interest in hiring more employee to improve customer service, their brand is becoming synonymous with very bad customer service and dysfunctional company. And when their profit goes down, the first action is usualy to lay off more employees.

Corporation needs to learn that a satisfied workforce lead to more productive and better service which gives you a satisfied client. Such an obvious and basic concept is unfortunately not valued by some executives who earns six digit salaries and bonuses.

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