Nida Khanam, Executive Coach & HR Strategic Advisor

Nida Khanam, Executive Coach & HR Strategic Advisor

Every Organization has its unique culture and values which embeds the overall system and drives people & systems. HR is the driving force behind conceptualization and letting it soaked inside the system, though on grounds it's a mutual responsibility of Functions to drive along with HR.

I have come across such cases as this seems to be a very common issue at a workplace and there is really a thin line of who is RIGHT in such cases unless there are reported evidence from Employee or Direct reporting Manager. Have witnessed such cases where Managers are only focused on productivity and results which may be right from the performance perspective but not from Employee engagement & larger perspective. Especially cases where the employee is under personal trauma or struggle, they need someone to empathize and then performance expectations lead to the conclusion of being underperformer or behavior issues.

Workplace bullying like shouting at the team in front of others, not giving patience listening, calling at odd hours without any urgent need, planning uncalled meetings/travels is quite common by some Managers who believe in self-preservation than being Leader. Though there are great examples of Leaders who not only empathize but develop a great team and people.

Talking about the case here, as an HR, the responsibility is to keep regular employee pulse check and build robust system which ensures no employee is been harassed.

Regular employee surveys skip level meetings and HR visits to each and every office and if there is no office for any location then find means to connect with employees. HR role is to partner with Managers/functions to support and provide them with tools and transparent system which ensures adherence and create a culture across the organization.

Trust building is the key & integral part of HR Employee branding. HR plays a very crucial role in implementing as well as advocating Employee Engagement. HR needs to ensure the culture across to ensure no harassment or any uncalled event to occur. Deepak did his best but still in my view fell short as it was more about fixing the situation temporarily.

Referring to functional Head or line manager’s role, the Reporting Manager & the Heads of the department & function are primarily responsible for their direct teams to ensure they cascade values and also be employee friendly. Performance & productivity of employee is important for any organization but keeping the employee engaged and on merits in equally critical. Employees work with respective Manager every day and its Manager’s ownership to keep his/her team engaged along with sharing a healthy relationship. Regular feedback and feedforward are also important to have Open culture and set expectations.

Employees and their families are associated with the organization as they trust their employer for their well being. Personal issues can stress employees and they look for support from the organization by way of empathizing and providing some flexibility in working conditions.

Answering specific questions raised by the author, I would like to highlight the following –

1. Did Deepak do his best?

I would not comment what Deepak did and if he was right or wrong, rather would try to analyze it another way. Deepak tried digging into the matter and fix the same on the event of situation arisen which was incomplete and more reactive approach then proactive. As an HR, the responsibility is to keep regular employee pulse check and build robust system which ensures no employee is been harassed. Regular employee surveys skip level meetings and HR visits to each and every office and if there is no office for any location then finding means to connect with employees. Trust building is the key for any HR as an integral part of Employee brand ambassador. HR plays a very crucial role in implementing as well as advocating Employee Engagement. HR needs to ensure the culture across to ensure no harassment or any uncalled event to occur.

2. While the behavior of VPM & RSM appears to be harsh, do you agree on the view they shared on the HR’s responsibility in keeping employees happy?

Absolutely not, HR role is to partner with Managers/functions to support and provide them with tools and transparent system which ensures adherence and create the culture across the organization. The Reporting Manager & the Heads of the department & function are primarily responsible for their direct teams to ensure ethical as well as employee friendly. Performance & productivity of employee is important for any organization but keeping the employee engaged and on merits is essential. Employees work with their peers and Manager everyday and its Manager’s ownership to keep his/her team engaged along with sharing open and honest relationship and culture of empathy.

3. As Aditi made a ‘soul searching’, she did not die. What if otherwise?

Imagining the situation itself is stressful and thought-provoking. Employees and their families work and are associated with an organization as they trust their employer. Personal issues can stress employees and they look for support from the organization in such situation though organization/manager cannot fully support as it can be too personal an issue but, they can empathize, provide them with flexibility along with some internal support like HR intervention or coach to support to overcome issues. Trust building is the key between Manager and employee & HR.

In a nutshell, it is mutual responsibility of Function & HR to drive the culture of openness and empathy where employees are respected and given full empowerment and trust.

Principal Consultant & Talent Strategist

As a Principal Consultant, Sanjeev is credited with pioneering best practice HR systems and processes for clients. As a Talent Strategist, Sanjeev partners with organizations hiring managers to find, select, and hire top talent which provides a foundation for organization's future growth.

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