Measuring an Organization's Growth

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Measuring an Organization's Growth
Sridhar Gopal, Member, Management Consultant, India

A company's growth is popularly measured in its revenue, number of employees. Going forward, can we include people's health and other related parameters...?

Recently the senior vice president of a fortune 500 company was addressing a project group which has a reputation of achieving consistently high client satisfaction that had made them a key business driver of the division. The senior vice president had a galore of praises for this team whose contributions formed as significant as 5% to the overall 9% raise in its revenue this quarter.
I happened to be present in the gathering almost accidentally. Just happened to be there on a client engagement.

The felicitation ceremony had a “high tea”, as the organizers preferred to call this break in which guests were served tea and snacks. This was followed by formal interactions with the upper management in the form of question and answer session. Many questions were asked. Some of them very intelligent, some sarcastic pointers on poorer resource management, questions on delayed projects and many more. What caught my attention amidst these is a question from a senior engineer, who happened to be a part of the team in focus of the day - Gayatri. She went on with her question – “Can the HR (Human Resources) now consider some flexibility in its mandatory 10 hour schedule for its employees? This (10 hour mandatory stay in office) policy has made us stay out of our home almost the whole day and late in the evening, away from our growing kids and others ….” The vice president replied: “This is something that we are not looking at easing anytime in the near future and well” adds the leader “...It is this policy which has lead to the company’s high productivity and growth….” The lady who was drenched in praise moments ago as a member of the ‘best team’ now turned dry and pale.

Well, I happened know this person fairly well as she was part of my previous professional assignment. She was recently diagnosed with hyper tension and also alarming raise in sugar levels, this is on her health side. On her family side, her daughter who needed her mother’s guidance for a better performance in school never got one and the mother was summoned to school to draw the parents’ attention on this matter. All this besides her husband’s rumbles of outbursts about gross negligence on the domestic matters and of course friends found her too’ snobby’ towards them as she said ‘busy” all the time including weekends. This University of Ohio alumnus who was deeply committed to her profession and whose work was reflective in the company’s “excellent productivity” now suffers a number of side effects as a dedicated contributor to the company’s “high growth”. Gayatri’s case is just a speck on the shore, there is a whole world of talented professionals who could be out there going through a number of hardships after devoting their prime time into organization.

As I drive back homewards the question that lingered on in me is the definition of “Growth and Productivity” in an organization and the impact of present day policies on countless Gayatris, who represents the state of dedicated professional men and women. Should we live defining an organization growth the present way or is it time to rethink as we move towards a new professional age that is perhaps more sophisticated with technology at our finger tips?
Well, its time - and it’s high time that the industry gurus and other social stakeholders redefine an enterprise growth with a different metrics than the conventional elements such as monitory returns, employee numbers etc. The new metrics should consider various parameters such as employees’ (and even employers’!)physical and mental health state, their personal relationship factors, and all other related ‘life elements’.

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