The first thing to realize is that people generally respond more strongly to negative events than positive ones, and HR professionals more than anyone else in organisation are found in this trivia of whether to give honest feedback or be diplomatic about the whole scenario, but before giving feedback anyone should ask these questions :
(1) What's my purpose in giving this feedback?
(2) Is it the right purpose from my point of view?
(3) Is it the right purpose from the other person's point of view?
I would like to delve more on "Giving feedback" - Even for someone with a high work ethics who is already producing quality results, feedback provides the much-needed perspective in identifying any areas that need attention and finding the best solutions for them. It is absolutely necessary to give honest feedback backing up with logics, data and required information/evidence for the overall growth of the organisation. Purpose of conducting review meetings are actually finding the challenges, looking for solutions and giving feedback on performance (functional as well as behavioural) and productivity. No matter how strongly one feels to excoriate an employee for a spectacularly awful performance, we should remember that our business gains nothing from it.
The art of giving feedback play vital role than the feedback itself, most people lack the former. It's best to abstain from the temptation of providing unsolicited feedback. Someone who is not open to any criticism, no matter how thoughtful and well-put, will not take it well. And any potential benefits will be outweighed by the awkwardness created by them.
Mr. Sharma's dilemma is genuine in this case, he may have to face consequences for both revealing truth or hiding it, though he shouldn't forget the role he is playing in the organisation. At this juncture he cannot afford to be dishonest and therefore should share the opinion everybody in the organisation has formed about Mr. Rawat focusing on potential future improvements, instead of dwelling on past errors.
Being able to deliver feedback with clarity, consistency, and respect is a critical leadership skill; Mr. Sharma being HR Head of the organisation with enriching experience and a degree from XLRI would have the skill of providing feedback as he is equally responsible for inculcating right values in organisation as much as Mr. Rawat is, hence his responsibility is to guide both Operations head and Mr. Rawat and being an employee friendly person as well as experienced leader Mr. Rawat will surely understand the areas where he can indulge into becoming a leader who leads by being an exemplary example.
Mr. Sharma should put across his points in a manner seeking Mr. Rawat's support as leader in instilling culture of trust, proper flow of communication and transparency so that next time employees feel confident in giving and receiving feedback in person than going to social media platforms such as glass door in this case.
Delivering feedback is tough task, mostly because stereotypes, past experiences, biases can interfere with the message and intent. But when done correctly, it's a win-win situation.