Article (February-2018)


Dilemma of Discipline, Direction & Dominance

Pramod Kumar Tripathi

Designation : -   AGM - HR

Organization : -  Bajaj Energy Limited


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Deputy plant head, Mr. Banerjee is leading a plant of MNC, which is located in India and accountable to meet production target as assigned by the plant head that had recently come to India. When in the morning meeting, expat plant head asked Mr. Banerjee reasons for not meeting out the production target & disciplined workforce issue, Mr. Banerjee quickly shifted the duo issue on HR Head who is not in a position to maintain discipline in plant resulting in loss of production & existence of plant indiscipline.
Expat plant head called HR and asked about delay in terminating the service of Mr. Jagpal Singh, he briefed  the case that Dy. Plant head was not cooperating to complete the enquiry proceeding and without conducting a fair enquiry termination was illegal. The motive of Mr. Banerjee to hide the external pressure is questionable. Since Banerjee is responsible for performance and good governance in plant by building a team of capable people, which is not found up to the mark probably, he is not stanch to make end this story of indiscipline or exhibiting or cooperating or willing to take efforts to minimize the workplace wrangles. This kind of traits particularly in front line Leader will definitely diminish the positive work culture.Mr. Banerjee's way of working may be excellent in terms of performance, productivity but in the arena of administration, his modus operandi is not aligned with internal department functions, which may cause many IR factors involving external factors.
It is typically seen that disciplinary action on one employee creates influence on all employees to certain extent. The basic issue responsible for such situation is the case of Mr. Jag Pal Singh, process operator, who is having control over workers of his own plant as well as stimulus in neighboring industries and also has good approach in local government bureaucrats. Denial of working extra time, abusing, threatening, instigating illegal strike, staging demonstration in the plant causing workers forcibly to stay in the plant for two days etc. these all come under the ambit of misconduct. Charge sheet issued by HR and plans to suspend his service and conducting a fair enquiry requires substantial documents & witnesses. To execute the fair enquiry, HR required the support of Mr. Banerjee to produce the person as witness. The matter has not been properly handled and main culprit Mr. Jagpal could not be punished resulting in issue of indiscipline scattered at workplace. It seems that Dy. plant head Mr. Banerjee who is well aware that he is not meeting the assigned target and tried to shift the burden on others and tried to hide the ground realty. If the right disciplinary action had been initiated in time against Mr. Jagpal, the sign of discipline would surely be flourished in the plant.
Before commenting on the role of HR, we would have to ponder upon the situation. In this case, HR is trying to mitigate the issue and maintain healthy atmosphere and good relations amongst employees. Mr. Batra, HR Head, issued charge sheet and was trying to follow the principles of natural justice, fair enquiry, before suspending or terminating the services of Mr. Jagpal Singh, henceforth, he is trying to complete the domestic enquiry by nominating an Enquiry officer. Since the incident took place in process deptt. that's why he is seeking help from Dy. Plant Head, Mr. Banerjee, to disclose the name of employees who may take part in enquiry proceeding as  management witness. If HR Head terminates the services of Mr. Jag pal unilaterally without conducting a fair enquiry, the termination would be deemed as illegal resulting into re-instatement with back wages. In this case it seems that HR is very far to manage and settle the issues due to dis-obedience by a referenced process operator and also un-aware about individual's approaches and reference in government bureaucrats. For smooth operation of industry, good relations with local government officers and nearby influential people are more imperative which is not seen in the case.
Firstly, HR should have undertaken investigation thoroughly by constituting an enquiry committee comprising of members from different departments under chairmanship of independent person having no relation with persons involved in the said case to find out root causes occurred in such incident and gravely affecting the climate of work place. The Management should plainly convey the message that such kind of instances are not prolific to any one if organization is not achieving its target assigned by the management. Financial losses have to be borne by each worker in term of annual appreciation for increment, promotion and incentive etc. To prevent such incident in future, financial punishment needs to be initiated against guilty person (s). Stern action should be promptly initiated in proper manner. Various employee engagement activities required to be carry out to engage, encourage, and envisage the employees to create a healthy workplace & healthy relation amongst employee.Front line Leader role must be assessed to so journal the ball throwing traits.