Notice periods are meant for handover of tasks and activities. An employee is also supposed to complete tasks in hand. During the notice period, an employee shall not be assigned new tasks or activities. Notice periods are used to find a replacement of outgoing employee. However, notice periods cannot be extended if the company fails to find a replacement of outgoing employee. What happens if it is done so? The organizations create more and more Harsh and Vivek….
Mr. Harsh Bhatia, Project Manager in a leading IT Company
Mr. Harsh Bhatia holds a degree in Master of Technology [M.Tech.] from National School of Technology. In addition to it, he is PMP (Project Management Certified Professional) and Six Sigma Black Belt Certified. By behavior, Harsh is a person who follows processes. He doesn’t feel comfortable with uncertain situations and he avoids conflicts.
Mr. Harsh Bhatia joined the company as Project Manager on 9 May 2011. He reports to Mr. Vivek Verma, Senior Project Manager. At the time of joining, Harsh was having relevant work experience of EIGHT years. Within 18 months of joining, Harsh was promoted to the level of Project Manager.
Mr. Vivek Verma, Senior Project Manager
Mr. Vivek holds a degree in Bachelor of Technology [B. Tech] from Regional School of Technology. He is also PMP certified. His total work experience is 14 years and he is working with this company since March 2008. By behavior, Vivek is very dominating, demanding, and direct.
What’s the Story behind Them?
Six months ago Vivek had an argument with Harsh. Vivek was unable to provide clarity on few deliverables and as a result, Harsh was lagging in his project. Their fight was very loud. Since then their relationship has gone kaput. This incident triggered the state of emotional separation of Harsh from the company. From that day on, he decided to give himself to the competitor. As a result of consistent efforts, he managed to get a role of Project Manager in a competitor company who wanted Harsh to join within 30 days. On 19 January 2015, Harsh resigned from his employment and requested for an early relieving as the open tasks in his hands could be completed in 15 days. However, Vivek was not willing to accede to his request and wanted him to serve the entire notice period of 90 days or pay in lieu of the balance notice period.
Harsh with the HR of the Present Company
Harsh approached the HR and presented his case. The HR Head expressed his inability to decide (or) intervene as HR cannot relieve Harsh unless he gets clearance from his Functional Head or Reporting Manager.
Harsh with the Hiring Manager of New Employer
Harsh approached the Hiring Manager and requested him to extend his joining date till 20 April 2015. However, he also expressed his inability to extend any support on the matter as the requirement was very urgent. He advised Harsh to join without a relieving letter. While Harsh was aware that this was not a ‘right practice (ethics)’, he did not want to lose the opportunity.
Back in the Pavilion…
Tired, hurt and with a long face, Harsh re-approached his reporting manager followed by the HR Head requesting them to release him early duly sharing his willingness to pay the notice pay in lieu of the balance notice period that he couldn’t serve. However, Vivek was reluctant to release him early. According to Vivek, Harsh needed to complete certain key elements of an ongoing project he was leading before getting released. Even a Joint meeting of HR Head, Vivek, Harsh and reporting Manager of Vivek didn’t help in finding an amicable solution.
And then Harsh decided & it happened….
Harsh accepted the offer of the new Company and as a game plan continued to request Vivek to relieve him by 19 January 2015. Finally, on 27 February 2015 Harsh told “I quit…!” and stopped going. He reported to the new Company on 2 March 2015. From then on…..it was a “Hide & Seek Game”…..which actually shouldn’t have been as the act doesn’t reflect well on the professional value system.
Who is to be blamed?
This is not a unique situation. There are many such like Harsh. There is no second thought in condemning the act of Harsh as his approach was not professional. However, the situation of having no alternative made him react so. Then who made the cheese rotten:
- Was it Mr. Harsh’s lack of choice/alternative? (or)
- Was Mr. Vivek’s adamant behavior wrong? (or)
- Inability expressed by the HR Head of previous Company to intervene & resolve (or)
- Hiring Manager of new Company who encouraged Mr. Harsh to join them without a relieving letter.
Let’s Not Play Hide & Seek, how can this be ensured?
- Design Policies that encourage employees to serve the notice period
- An amicable exit benefits both, the employee and the employer
- An exit without relieving letter or with incomplete exit formalities is a serious offense and can haunt you for life
- Treat your separating employee as a brand ambassador who is going to market your company based on the experience of his/her treatment during ‘notice period’
Sanjeev Himachali is a Strategic HR Consultant, Talent Strategist, Management Consultant and a Performance Coach. He exhibits over a decade and a half years of progressive, leadership experience and core competencies in talent acquisition, management, and development, HR program management, compensation & benefits management, and staff engagements.