This week, I had stumbled upon an interesting article in my XLRI Alumni newsletter wherein one of my senior alumni speaks about the need for a second innings from Astachal to Astachal. I had never heard this word before and so would be the case with many of us. It is a mythical mountain where the Sun takes refuge every night. He argues on the need for every individual to reflect on what we do between two Astachals and plan for a second innings if the one we are leading is not the right one.

Along the same lines, in the new post-pandemic normal where thousands of organizations have stopped functioning and many SMEs across the world (approx. 30% in Europe based on a recent study) may file for bankruptcy, I am wondering if this is not the time for businesses to begin introspection on a second innings.

This pandemic has raised a pertinent question on the leadership of every company. In the pursuit of more revenue and profits, did we forget some key elements? Have we ever imagined the effect all this has on our employees? Have we ever imagined how deeply their lowered self-esteem affected the way they interacted with their children when they reached back home after a full days’ work, feeling unappreciated, frustrated, underutilized, and demeaned? Now instead of the employee, imagine your vendor/supplier, with whom you had struck a brilliant cost-effective deal for your company, going back and interacting with his family. When is the last time, you had participated in a celebratory family event of your worker or attended a bereavement in their family? Have you inculcated this culture in your organization?

If you ask a question to your employees/vendors as to how many of them would like to retire/continue relationships from/with your company, and if the answer is less than half, you have a lot to worry about. It is not the bean-bags, coffee tables, comfortable work stations, continued business you provide, the pay cheques or invoices that would matter to them to continue in/with your organization, but it is the essence of helping each other in trying times, mutually caring, giving the respect each one deserves and motivating them to stick on, helping them hone their skills and providing them the dignity and the feeling that they are honoured and valued in the organization that matters to them the most. Remember, a happy workforce would contribute more to the organization’s revenue and profit.

The time has now come for us not to go back to the state before the pandemic, but to CHANGE and move ahead by measuring HAPPINESS INDEX rather than profit.