CXO Experts

'Value Of Values' For Knowledge Workers

Debyani boasts of having 20+ years of experience in the IT/ITeS industry during which she has held key positions across companies such as TCS, Onicra Credit Rating Agency of India, and UshaComm, prior to joining Nucleus Software in 2017.

‘The expression of my life is just the expression of my well-assimilated value structure. What I do is but no expression of what is valuable to me. For comforts to be enjoyed I must be there to enjoy them. When I am split with guilt, I am rarely anywhere but with my anxieties, regrets and guilt. When I clearly see this fact, I will see the value of applying universal ethical standards to myself. Therefore, a value, universal or situational, is a value for me only when I see the value of the value as valuable to me’ – Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

The above quote gives us a good understanding of the importance of having values in an individual’s life. The society is a reflection of these individuals put together. Values provide a person the sense of right and wrong or what ought to be when he/she is not under watch.

A majority of the population in India and the world is currently, what Peter Drucker calls ‘knowledge workers’. The internet, the latest advances in robotics and technology, make us think that this trend is not only here to stay, but also to continue to rise for many years to come.

“Accepting the way we are with all our flaws is the most important form of honesty”

The emergence of this new kind of work activity, profoundly different from the traditional one and almost non-existent until just a few decades ago, brought-on a revolution of the first order on the nature of work, as it completely changes the meaning of the word ‘work’. Work is no longer what it was, and this change affects not only the way we work, but also the thought process and understanding of Values.

If we talk about the evolution of IT, the late 90s is when it started to take-on the shape of an entire industry as compared to the niche technology for a select few. With the increased demand for IT specialization skills, we saw a significant employment boom resulting in the improvement of living standards of a larger population in India.

In a few decades, competitiveness increased, and IT became the chosen career for the youth. In this period, in the IT industry, many areas evolved - IT software, IT Services, BPO & IT-enabled services, and Hardware are a few of them.

As the demand increased across the world, chiefly US for Indian IT workers, the trend of Body shopping also increased. Salary wasn’t a constraint anymore and also wasn’t linked with performance as long as it was billed. Skill development & learning took a back seat in such assignments. Gradually, in this competitive era, loyalty, empathy, love, honesty, and respect took a backseat. Thought process and vision became very narrow and got limited to ‘I’ & ‘Me’. Individuals no longer cared for the larger picture of the future of the society, country, or the world.

Loyalty – We have forgotten what this word means and why it is so important. There’s a common saying in IT – ‘We need lions, not dogs’. Performance is essential, but loyalty is a value that binds us together to perform. Job hopping for a few thousand rupees is a commonly seen phenomenon in IT.

Empathy – Focusing on how we can grow together should be our ultimate goal. Really? I knew this, but my actions are towards ‘his failure my success’ or ‘I have bandwidth issues’. Empathy mostly remains a ‘Value’ word to be used in workshops.

Honesty – Accepting the way we are with all our flaws is the most important form of honesty. When we admit to our faults, it can help someone accept theirs. Ultimately, we can all help each other become better individuals. An important question to ask is, ‘why do I need to become a better person? I have everything; house, car, credit card, bank balance’. And I achieved all without being a better human being.

Integrity – A big word to decipher. In the race of going up in terms of status, we seem to be increasingly overlooking the worth of having Integrity! Going up means promotion, big salary, big car, and an even bigger ego.

To build a better society, country, and the world, we need to take the time to think about how we can achieve the bigger goal of creating a more resilient and sustainable community without compromising our values. The responsibility falls on self and to some extent, upon organizations to not only inculcate, but nurture these critical values in individuals by increasing awareness, recognizing appropriate behavior, and rewarding them. Without taking this crucial step, it will not be possible to sustain the growth we have witnessed in the last three decades. If we want to visualize the scenario a decade later in this volatile world, the only thing that remains in place is ‘Values’.

While this applies to everyone, the Knowledge Worker in India forms the majority. Out of 16.5 Lac students passing 12th standard, 15 Lac students go for B.Tech, and approximately 80 percent opt for CS/ IT. Building a robust Value system will help shape a promising future of our country and the world.