Doing Business in India Can Be Extremely Frustrating

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Team lunch in India
Team lunch in India

Doing business in India can be very frustrating. There seems to be an overall lack of efficiency. Indian employees are not encouraged to speak up and to think for themselves. They typically have a very formal relationship with their boss and are expected to blindly follow orders. I find that it requires a good deal of patience to do business in India. The hassle factor can be off the charts. Here are some examples.

Human Resources Requirements

In India Human Resource practices are out dated and sometimes just plain illogical by western standards. This week I “on boarded” (oriented) five new Indian employees that mostly will work in Quality Assurance for our company.  Initially we hired an HR firm to handle it for us but apparently that fell apart due to unresponsiveness from the company we hired. Therefore, our HR department asked me to step up, collect the new hire paperwork and get them set up until their supervisor arrives from the U.S next week.

I was astounded by the amount of paperwork required for new employees. We have a lot in the U.S as well but this seemed excessive. For example, it is apparently not enough to just resign from your job here. You have to have a resignation acceptance letter from your ex employer. Employers also require a form 16, which shows taxation amounts and earnings from your previous employer. Check out our new employee checklist below.

New employee checklist for India
New employee checklist for India

Compensation

Compensation is unique here in India. Because income tax is so high they have exploited a loop-hole so that your wage is only a small amount of your overall compensation. The rest is a housing allowance, living allowance, fringe benefits, etc. Also, many employers don’t really have a specific pay-day and direct deposit is very unusual. Employees just kind of have to guess when they might get paid. It makes payroll very confusing. Here is some taxation information I copied from a website.

Taxation in India
Taxation in India

Health Insurance

While reviewing my new employee insurance forms I was shocked to see the following exemptions from health coverage: Any medical expense related to intoxication or addiction, any problems related to HIV and or sexually transmitted diseases.  I was talking with a friend in India about HIPPA style laws and they only apply to HIV tests here. If you test positive for an STD your privacy is not protected. Therefore, testing for such things is feared and discouraged.

Business Errands

They don’t have “big box” stores here like Staples and Office Max so I had to make a trip to a small ma and pa style office supply store for paper, pens, scissors, etc. I asked our driver to take me to one and he said he knew a place. It was crammed from top to bottom in every nook and cranny with textbooks and office supplies. It was a hoarders dream, but very messy. I don’t know how they found a thing!  They didn’t have any point of sale machine. Everything was added up by hand with a calculator so it took forever!

Office supply store in India
Office supply store in India

Group Lunch

I took my five new hires out to lunch on their first day to the Beatles themed cafe in Cyber City. I don’t think business lunches are very common in India. They were extremely grateful and we had a lot of fun. They are an extraordinary group of new hires and I’m confident they will do a great job!

Cyber City in Gurgoan, India
Cyber City in Gurgoan, India

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