Article (December-2018)


Complete disconnect between organisation & employee

Neetu Singh

Designation : -   Director HR

Organization : -  Winshuttle (India) Software Pvt. Ltd, Chandigarh


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This is a perfect example of a complete disconnect between the organization and the employee. The various tools and techniques available in HR are completely missing when I reviewed and evaluated this incident. At the first place, it should not go that far where a CEO is getting a message of the suicide note from a well - performing employee.
The above solution is only treating Aditi temporarily and may create more such Aditi's if the real issue is not addressed. We face such similar issues in HR (not with a suicide note) related to talent management and retention. It is evident that talent management is required to produce the desired business result hence it is everyone's responsibility who is working with talent. People have different needs for engagement at different stages of career because they grow in career, situation changes at their personal front, they have their own reasons for working with an Organization and that is why it is important for the direct manager to keep a close connection with his people to serve them and support them in organizational context.
Feedback Mechanism - To provide employees with defined channels for sharing feedback about work, manager and employee physical and mental health reflection.
Aditi : From an employee perspective, she had gone in isolation where she concluded that she had no support of his manager/organization and husband/family. She had no ways of finding a solution to this situation because no one supported her in her thought process or listened to her to give her a supporting hand. Primarily, it was her managers' responsibility to pay heed to her words and organize her work in a way where she could devote time for her work and family.  She could have gone to VPM but probably she did not reach out to him knowing that he would not support her because he was only listening to his directs.
VPM & RSM - Orientation of keeping the employee engaged & happy is solely HR responsibility is incorrect. As an HR, I will use this as an opportunity to get it straight in the mind of people managers that managing team is their prime responsibility; it's their people who get business if they are treated well.
VPM - Failed to observe unorganized work assignments, enabling team members for producing results by giving them flexibility at work, unclear goals of the team below him. He did not look deeper into the structure and staff requirement while concluding Aditi at fault.  Additionally, he did not have any inputs from Aditi or his own data points; he was blind to the ground realities like - who was contributing, the delegation of work, and reasons of low/high performance in the team and corrective action in place.
RSM - Never received feedback on how disorganized he was in the delegation of work and overstretching his team to hide his limitations. He is required to be enquired upon - why he never discussed low-performance issues, what was his strategy to manage the low performance (if any). How can he achieve targets when his team is failing to achieve them? He needs to introspect how well he will handle Aditi once she is back from her leave and provide her a constructive work environment for her to heal further and keep contributing and stay engaged at work.
Deepak/HR Head - Handled the situation based on what is visible today as a tip of the iceberg and needs to go deeper into the issue for not letting it repeat in future.
Corrective action for HR - Lead the initiative in the organization at the top level for reviewing each department strategy and talent required to deliver the same. Review roles, key responsibilities, desired outcomes. Let department heads own the results including retaining and engaging the employees and support their plan with HR tools like - Succession plan, Headcount planning, Key performance areas, distribution of work, handling of low or high performance, rewarding high performance, managing low performance. Create two ways feedback mechanism for letting employees speak and share their views about how they perceive organization culture and participate more positively by involving - Department heads, CEO in skip level meetings, open forums, one on ones to know how people are seeing the organization culture, support mechanism and reflect it back to know whether it is in line to the organizational strategy. Align HRPB to continuously monitor and measure team performance and understanding needs of the team members from time to time. Meaning of talent management from employees' perspective is to understand the requirement of talent/employees and keep serving them so that they are focused on producing results. Only shifting blames will never produce results it can only build frustrated employees and pathetic culture. Keep observing employee engagement and continuously work towards to improve it.