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Bangladesh is a densely populated country. The scope of employment does not increase evenly with the increase of population.

Urban migration in this country is really high. Each day people shift to the capital, Dhaka city from village or other sub-districts or districts in the lookout for higher education or employment. A job is a crying need for the large number of educated unemployed people. It is no less than a status symbol here. Thousands of candidates apply for a single post & this works in the favour of employers.

In private sector, it is much less bureaucratic to apply & obtain a job going through the total recruitment & selection process than in public sector. After the initial screening and written test followed by interview, when a candidate is finally turned into an employee, he or she is posted to specific department, keeps performing assigned activities & ad-hoc duties exerting full competence. Time passes, salary keeps getting deposited. Now if there is any un-fulfillment to any major work goal, a letter would appear from HR department stating how poor the performance was & how the employee needs to compensate for that.

When the time will come for a promotion or even an annual increment, an email will be there which is generated by the HR department that specifies the tight deadline by which a long form needs to be completed and sent back. In this journey of job life from a probationer to a permanent employee, if there is any insecurity, lack of understanding or need for counseling, HR department will play no role to motivate or inspire the failing employees. HR section is strictly transactional here. “You work, you get paid & you fail, you pay!” The condition is like that in most private organizations.

One reason of this is – there is no dearth of candidates. Employee retention is less focused here. Building long term relationship, providing counseling opportunities, turning an average incumbent into a highly productive one are still not practiced at mass level. One dean of a private university while interviewed expressed this thought:

“The HR department works for keeping employee records, maintaining daily attendances in classes & meetings & in other events organized by university. Employees are notified by emails and letters about their under-performance or any other deficiency but it is also true that no appreciation letter is issued valuing ingenuity; at best we just thank the good performer, that too occasionally. If an employee wants to leave we do not probe into further unless the faculty is in charge of something crucial, one big reason is that it is easy to have another faculty member as the rate of unemployment as well as job seekers are high in Bangladesh.”

These are some underlying facts for which the HR practice still remains transactional and not transformational, and looking at the trends of increasing population and job crisis, this situation is not going to change in near future.

Abu Md. Abdullah, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Business Administration in Eastern University in Dhaka.

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