"Oh! I am sick and tired of the HR people. This is a 5 minute job and you guys are on it for the last 5 days", a visibly upset Mr. Rawat was heard talking to the HR Head Mr. Sharma in the corridor - loud enough so that those sitting nearby or walking in the corridor could hear it clearly.
But then this was more of a routine than exception. Mr. Rawat was infamous for his remarks or cuss words in the office. His most favourite used to be - "Come to my office, it's only a five minutes work". Everyone knew that going to his office was an ordeal - because he used to take much longer time to make the employee understand the history, philosophy, past practices, best practices in the industry and SWOT of any situation. Nothing used to be closed in one meeting. Employees would often complain of work getting increased rather than getting sorted out in his office.
He was the CEO of Logistiikka International. A Finnish MNC operating from India for the last 15 years. They were in service industry catering to the logistics and shipping needs of Indian clients. The business was good and they were having a good market share. An Engineer & MBA by qualification, before joining Logistiikka, he was also associated with an Educational Institute as their VC for over 5 years besides some corporate experience.
Mr. Rawat was managing the show for the last 7 years. Extremely employee centric and friendly in approach, he used to believe very strongly in the potential of the human resources. His only problem was inefficient people. He also felt very strongly that a truly effective HR Manager can change tide in the favour of the company and an ineffective HR can worsen the situation. He would endlessly talk about changing the mindset of people and for that he used to believe HR has to take the lead.
Mr. Sharma, the HR Head was a well-qualified veteran, a graduate from XLRI and having worked with various blue-chip companies at senior levels, he understood the subject and was successful wherever he worked - except Logistiikka - at least that was what he felt. He was hired six months back by Mr. Rawat, after an elaborate selection process. Mr. Sharma, like all normal HR professionals, used to introspect a lot and often tried to decipher "why" and "what" of Mr. Rawat's assertion for people in general and himself in particular.
He was busy collating a presentation for the quarterly review meeting or QRM as it was popularly referred to and he heard his office phone ring - his heart skipped a beat when he saw Mr. Rawat's name flashing on his desk phone. Reluctantly, he picked up…
Mr. Sharma - "Good afternoon Sir…"
Mr. Rawat - "Good afternoon… Can you come to my room, I need to discuss something urgent with you. Also call Mr. Chopra. Be there in next five minutes."
Mr. Sharma - "Yes Sir, I will be there with Mr. Chopra."
Mr. Sharma kept the phone down and then called Mr. Chopra and informed him of the call from Mr. Rawat.
Mr. Chopra was the Head Operations of Logistiikka, a highly successful person in the company. He has been in the company ever since its inception in the country.
After 5 - 7 minutes, both knocked at the room of Mr. Rawat, his secretary had already gestured them to go in. Both went in and Mr. Rawat, looked upon them over the reading glasses and signalled them to sit.
Mr. Rawat - "I was looking at the recent Glassdoor entry and I did not like what I read. Are we so bad?"
Both Mr. Sharma and Mr. Chopra didn't utter a word, perhaps wanting Mr. Rawat to reveal more and he did…
Mr. Rawat - "I mean, look at the language used by him, look at the adjectives, cuss words used… Am I so bad?"
Both Mr. Sharma & Mr. Chopra did not miss the shift from "we" to "I". So, someone has written a negative feedback about Mr. Rawat on Glassdoor, a website where employees and former employees anonymously review companies and their management.
Mr. Rawat was looking at the ceiling and then slowly he looked straight into the eyes of Mr. Sharma and asked him…
"What do you think about me, my leadership style, my working nature and what people talk about me, I am asking you as HR is supposed to be giving honest feedback to everyone about their behaviour. Chopra ji - Do you agree? And by-the way, I had called you because this person is from operations team and he is an existing employee in middle management cadre."
Mr. Chopra - "What? I can't believe this. But then, we have a large team in operations and there could be a black sheep somewhere. About Mr. Sharma giving feedback - I agree 100%, ultimately a professional would be in a much better position to guide us."
Both of them looked squarely at Mr. Rawat, who was feeling as if he has been caught trying to steal a thing.
But he didn't have a choice - what should he say or not say, given that his own chemistry with Mr. Rawat was not very great and he was about to be appraised by him after completion of his probation. (www.sandipgrover.com)