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Guidelines for the Preparation of Charge-Sheet

29 Nov

The object of the Charge -Sheet is to tell the delinquent what he is supposed or alleged misconduct during his employment. Under the Industrial law, there is no form prescribed for a Charge-Sheet hence it becomes more important to draft it more carefully with precision and clarify. The framing of a Charge-Sheet being the first necessity for disciplinary action and it is the main pillar for record purpose.

The Charge-Sheet should also take care to mention the particulars of time, place, occurrence and the manner in which the incident alleged to have taken places so as to remove vagueness and make the charge definite by mentioning these essential factors. (Just like provisions in the vegetable soup):

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS:

  • A Charge Sheet being root of the disciplinary action. When vague, will vitiate the whole proceeding hence the penalty imposed on delinquent will be quashed.
  • The object of a charge sheet is that the delinquent must know what he is charged with and have the adequate opportunity to meet the charges and to defend himself by giving a proper explanation.
  • A delinquent employee must be provided with the copies of the documents as relied upon by the Disciplinary Authority and the burden, to show that non-supply of documents required by the delinquent did not cause any prejudice to him, lies upon the Disciplinary Authority.
  • Failure to enclose the list of witnesses along with the charge memo will violate the Conduct Regulations; hence the entire disciplinary proceedings will be vitiated when it is so stipulated.

GUIDANCES:

  • The Charge-Sheet must be specific and must set out all the necessary particulars. It will serve no useful purpose at all to presume that the employee is fully informed of the charges because of any previous proceeding against him.
  • Any warnings that might have been given to a workman previously or from time to time or that his attention had been drawn to any fault, lapses on his part previously can, by no means, take the places of a regular enquiry.
  • Vague accusation, which the workman could not possibly follow, should not be made in the charge sheet.
  • The Charge Sheet must accurately and precisely state whether the act of commission or omission constituting misconduct is in violation of any Standing Order or not. The test is whether the charge conveys to the employee concerned, the exact nature of misconduct in a way that would enable him to meet the charge.
  • Where, for instance, the charge is for unauthorized collection of subscription on the work premises, the purpose for which such a subscription was collected need not be stated. But the time, date and place i.e. when and where the collection was made must be clearly mentioned.
  • When, under the Standing Orders or service rules, and act such as absence without leave, late attendance, negligence or disobedience is misconduct, when it is committed habitually then in such a case the word, habitual forms and essential constituent of the charge and must be expressly mentioned in the charge sheet.
  • If the charge is for arrogant conduct towards a superior, then it must be so stated in the charge sheet given in the occasion on which the misconduct was committed and in respect of which particulars.
  • When an employee is charged for habitually disobeying the instructions, then each set of disobedience on his part must be separately mentioned in details in the charge sheet.
  • When an employee is charged for using objectionable and offending language, then the actual words used must be stated in the charge sheet.
  • While verbiage is to be avoided, use of any abbreviations such as etc., must be equally shunned. Phrases such as any other document is vague and ineffective and so, only reference should be made to a specific thing or a particular person.
  • It is important to remember that the language of a charge sheet while being precise, must be give the impression that the employer has taken the question of the employee’s guilt as a foregone conclusion.
  • The delinquent employee be furnished with the documents and reports as referred to in the charge sheet otherwise his termination will be quashed.
  • As far as practicable the language of a charge sheet must be simple and be one that is commonly understood or in common usage.
  • When the previous record of the employee is relied upon, then sufficient particulars of the previous bad record should be specified in the charge sheet.
  • Another thing is , pm which caution is necessary, is to make use of the term about in relation to the date and time of a particular incident of misconduct.
  • A valid charge sheet must be in precise terms as there is no room for using loose or vague term which fails to convey, in the correct sense, a charge brought against an employee.
  • It is the duty of the employer to indicate to a delinquent employee served with the charge sheet not only the precise nature of charges, but also the documents, if any, upon which the charges are based.
  • The charge sheet must be signed by the competent authority.
  • A Charge sheet, issued after long delay of the misconduct, will vitiate the enquiry.
  • Another important, on request of the delinquent the employer may serve the charge sheet in his mother tongue (along with English version).
  • One of the fundamental rules of natural justice is that the person affected should have full and true disclosure of the facts sought to be used against him. He must know the nature of the misconduct alleged against him and must be acquainted with it in the first instance, it means that the charge sheet is the sine qua non of the domestic enquiry. The heart of the matter is that no disciplinary action can be initiated against the employee or a workman unless he is first served with a charge sheet containing all charges and their essential particulars. So while drafting a charge shet the attempt should be to ensure that the charge mentioned in the charge sheet is specific as well as complete in all essential constituents.
  • Principles of natural justice require that the person charged should know precisely the nature of the offence so that he may be able to explain what he has to say about it can prove innocence in the matter. Vague allegations should be avoided while drafting a charge sheet.

Model Chargesheet Form attached

Model Chargesheet Form - As per Industrial Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regards,

Pinal Mehta

Sach Ka Samna – “Leadership Scruples”

19 Nov

I’ve been watching an “Bindaas TV series where they ask Teenagers and on-goers a Morally / Ethically Challenging Question to answer. It’s a fascinating study of human behavior. Everyday people are secretly filmed in situations where they are faced with a choice.When I saw the last one, I thought it might be interesting to resurrect an old game known as “Scruples”, and create a “Leadership Scruples” game, or a series of workplaceWhat Would You Do” scenarios for leaders. Actually, it doesn’t have to be for just formal leaders… anyone can play… I’ve just tried to give it a leadership slant to better fit the purpose of this blog.

Here are some Questions, Let See if you can answer them:

1. You’re at a hotel and conference center. You’ve arrived to your meeting early, and have not have a chance to eat breakfast yet. On your way to your meeting room, you walk by another meeting and there’s a table full of food and beverages outside the room. Your meeting has no food. Would you help yourself?

2. Your manager congratulates you for a brilliant suggestion and hints at a promotion. Your employee gave you the idea. Do you mention this to the manager?

3. You’ve made a verbal agreement with a supplier. A competitor offers you a deal for 50% less. Do you take it the deal?

4. A colleague is out of his office. You notice his paycheck stub on his desk. Do you glance at it?

5. Your manager demands to know what a co-worker is saying behind his back. It’s not flattering. Do you tell him?

6. You’re reviewing the results of an employee survey and accidentally discover a way to see individual responses and comments. Do you keep reading or report the problem?

7. You’re traveling in Ladakh on business when you’re invited to a feast by shepherds. You’re given the sheep’s eyeball, the greatest delicacy. To refuse it is the greatest insult. Everyone’s watching. Do you gulp it down?

8. As a joke, a co-worker sends anonymous love letters to another co-worker who takes them seriously. Everyone is enjoying the prank. Do you expose it?

9. A disgruntled worker is brandishing an automatic weapon. You’re near a door. If you try to warn others you may not escape. Do you save yourself?

10. After closing a big deal, your manager surprises you with a warm, lingering hug. Do you tell your manager you’re not comfortable with this?

11. You’re playing tennis with your manager for the first time. You’re winning and your manager is getting angry. Do you let him win?

12. You want to quit a job without notice but you need a good reference from your employer. Do you invent a family health emergency?

13. You decide not to hire someone because he’s wearing a nose ring. When he asks why he didn’t make it, do you give the real reason?

14. You find an expensive pen in an airport lounge. Do you keep it?

15. A close friend will be interviewed for a job with your employer. He asks you for a list of the questions in advance. Do you supply it?

16. You have a struggling young company. You have to choose between two equal candidates for a job, a man and a woman. The woman will work for Rs.20000 per year less than the man. Do you hire her for that reason?

17. You’ve just been promoted to manager at the branch where you work. The person you’re dating has applied for a job there and would be reporting to you. Is this OK?

 

18. The customer wants a refund. You agree that a refund is called for but company policy says “No.” If you go to Corporate, the customer’s refund will be denied. If you act on your own authority, the customer will be satisfied, but you may get in trouble. What would you do?

 

19. The company procedure is very clear but you know a “better” way to do the job. Your productivity results are a bit low this month. If you use your new approach (and violate the “rules”) you can raise your results to an acceptable level. What would you do?

 

20. You are working to correct a mistake that your manager doesn’t know about. If you tell your manager, you will be blamed for the mistake. If you don’t tell your manager, you’ll miss your deadline. Do you tell?
Please Share your views and answers for the Same
Regards,
Pinal Mehta
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Financial Meltdown :- The Story of the Bubble that Burst

20 Oct

Once there was a little island country. The land of this country was the tiny island itself. The total money in circulation was 2 dollar as there were only two pieces of 1 dollar coins circulating around.

1) There were 3 citizens living on this island country. A owned the land. B and C each owned 1 dollar.

2) B decided to purchase the land from A for 1 dollar. So, A and C now each own 1 dollar while B owned a piece of land that is worth 1 dollar.

3) C thought that since there is only one piece of land in the country and land is non produceable asset, its value must definitely go up. So, he borrowed 1 dollar from A and together with his own 1 dollar, he bought the land from B for 2 dollar.

A has a loan to C of 1 dollar, so his net asset is 1 dollar.

B sold his land and got 2 dollar, so his net asset is 2 dollar.

C owned the piece of land worth 2 dollar but with his 1 dollar debt to A, his net asset is 1 dollar.

The net asset of the country = 4 dollar.

4) A saw that the land he once owned has risen in value. He regretted selling it. Luckily, he has a 1 dollar loan to C. He then borrowed 2 dollar from B and and acquired the land back from C for 3 dollar. The payment is by 2 dollar cash (which he borrowed) and cancellation of the 1 dollar loan to C.

As a result, A now owned a piece of land that is worth 3 dollar. But since he owed B 2 dollar, his net asset is 1 dollar.

B loaned 2 dollar to A. So his net asset is 2 dollar.

C now has the 2 coins. His net asset is also 2 dollar.

The net asset of the country = 5 dollar. A bubble is building up.

(5) B saw that the value of land kept rising. He also wanted to own the land. So he bought the land from A for 4 dollar. The payment is by borrowing 2 dollar from C and cancellation of his 2 dollar loan to A.

As a result, A has got his debt cleared and he got the 2 coins. His net asset is 2 dollar.

B owned a piece of land that is worth 4 dollar but since he has a debt of 2 dollar with C, his net Asset is 2 dollar.

C loaned 2 dollar to B, so his net asset is 2 dollar.

The net asset of the country = 6 dollar. Even though, the country has only one piece of land and 2 Dollar in circulation.

(6) Everybody has made money and everybody felt happy and prosperous.

(7) One day an evil wind blowed. An evil thought came to C’s mind. “Hey, what if the land price stop going up, how could B repay my loan. There is only 2 dollar in circulation, I think after all the land that B owns is worth at most 1 dollar only.” A also thought the same.

(8) Nobody wanted to buy land anymore. In the end, A owns the 2 dollar coins, his net asset is 2 dollar. B owed C 2 dollar and the land he owned which he thought worth 4 dollar is now 1 dollar. His net asset become -1 dollar.

C has a loan of 2 dollar to B. But it is a bad debt. Although his net asset is still 2 dollar, his Heart is palpitating.

The net asset of the country = 3 dollar again.

Who has stolen the 3 dollar from the country ?

Of course, before the bubble burst B thought his land worth 4 dollar. Actually, right before the collapse, the net asset of the country was 6 dollar in paper. his net asset is still 2 dollar, his heart is palpitating.
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The net asset of the country = 3 dollar again.

(9) B had no choice but to declare bankruptcy. C as to relinquish his 2 dollar bad debt to B but in return he acquired the land which is worth 1 dollar now.

A owns the 2 coins, his net asset is 2 dollar. B is bankrupt, his net asset is 0 dollar. (B lost everything) C got no choice but end up with a land worth only 1 dollar (C lost one dollar) The net asset of the country = 3 dollar.

There is however a redistribution of wealth.

A is the winner, B is the loser, C is lucky that he is spared.

A few points worth noting –

(1) When a bu bb le is building up, the debt of individual in a country to one another is also building up.

(2) This story of the island is a close system whereby there is no other country and hence no foreign debt. The worth of the asset can only be calculated using the island’s own currency. Hence, there is no net loss.

(3) An overdamped system is assumed when the bubble burst, meaning the land’s value did not go down to below 1 dollar.

(4) When the bubble burst, the fellow with cash is the winner. The fellows having the land or extending loan to others are the loser. The asset could shrink or in worst case, they go bankrupt.

(5) If there is another citizen D either holding a dollar or another piece of land but refrain to take part in the game. At the end of the day, he will neither win nor lose. But he will see the value of his money or land go up and down like a see saw..

(6) When the bubble was in the growing phase, everybody made money..

(7) If you are smart and know that you are living in a growing bubble, it is worthwhile to borrow money (like A ) and take part in the game. But you must know when you should change everything back to cash.

(8) Instead of land, the above applies to stocks as well.

(9) The actual worth of land or stocks depend largely on psychology.

HR Article :- Managing the Star Performer No One want to work

17 Oct

Behold the star performers! Able to surpass goals without breaking a sweat, quick to grasp new organizational missions, brighter than 90 percent of their colleagues, these special employees are technically superior to, well, even their superiors.

But like most superheroes, star performers may have a dark side. What if the best, fastest employee has a few quirks that set the rest of the team on edge? Is it worth poisoning a culture to retain an employee whose behavior isn’t consistent with the organization’s values? And if a star performer is truly outperforming his or her peers, how can the talent manager justify redirecting his or her behavior?

Tiziana Casciaro and Miguel Sousa Lobo – authors of the Harvard Business School study “Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks” – said people who like each other typically share similar values and ways of thinking, making it difficult to generate fresh ideas. Further, most individuals avoid skilled but unpleasant colleagues, leaving competent jerks’ expertise untapped.

The authors contend most employees would rather work with someone less competent because that person may be more pleasant, more open to other’s ideas and more willing to share their own. They may even be perceived as more trustworthy.

Talent leaders might consider the following tips to help solve star-performer issues:

1. Hold employees accountable for what they do and how they do it.
Rick Lepsinger, president of OnPoint Consulting, understands firsthand how difficult dealing with star performers can be. Ed* generated nearly triple the revenue of his peers but treated people badly. Lepsinger was hesitant to address this issue because of Ed’s performance. But not acting sooner was a mistake because Ed was a gossiper who damaged morale and other employees’ productivity.

“As soon as I became aware of the behavior and its impact I should have told Ed, ‘I love your work, but your treatment of others is not how we do things around here. Your behavior needs to change immediately,'” Lepsinger said.

How employees treat one another is as important as their revenue-generating ability. Lepsinger said the key to managing employees like Ed who are top producers but who poison the team culture is consistency and holding them accountable for their behaviors, as well as their performance targets.

“Managers must be willing to risk losing the employee,” he explained. “To not hold everyone accountable for their behavior undermines the company’s values and turns them into meaningless platitudes.”

2. Recognize team performance, not just star performance.
Top performers often get recognition that can overshadow the hard work of others who supported them. To address this, develop a team-based performance-recognition system.

“When someone helps another person, that person should be acknowledged and thanked,” said Executive Coach Lauren Sontag. “Sometimes the star performer may need to be reminded of the long-term benefits of sharing credit, rather than taking full credit.”

3. Use 360 tools as a feedback mechanism.
Star performers need to know they will face consequences for negative behavior. Using 360 tools is like holding up a mirror so the star performer can see the results of their actions. It is equally important to have direct feedback sessions with star performers so they know the exact consequences of not changing their behavior.

4. Ensure star-performer criteria are known and shared.
That criteria is based on the cultural norms of each company. Ted Elias, director of talent management at TIAA-CREF, has helped others face this challenge.

Elias once consulted with Sandy*, a star performer who came from a large, results-driven, hard-charging pharmaceutical company. Sandy moved to a nonprofit organization that valued relationships first, results second. She is still struggling to adjust her style to her new environment. “My challenge is to help Sandy understand the new norms of the organization and what it will take for her to excel in this environment.

“Sandy’s company should ensure that ‘relationship orientation’ is identified as a leadership value, and it should articulate where ‘driving for results’ stands relative to other values,” Elias said.

5. Set expectations of appropriate behavior for all employees during the selection process.
Some selection processes include conducting assessments to determine if the candidate is a team player, how he or she reacts to recognition, as well as coaching ability.

6. Hold managers accountable for helping the star performer change his or her behavior.
Most star performers are excellent at what they do. But like Lepsinger, sometimes managers are reluctant to hold them accountable for unacceptable behavior.

Christine Birnbaum, director of organizational effectiveness at New York Life Investment Management, said, “Even if an employee does the work of three people, they may need to change their behavior, or it can be a career ender for them. Some managers used to say, ‘Well, that’s just how she is.’ That justification is no longer accepted. The manager is accountable for communicating this through performance appraisals, ongoing coaching and individual development plans.”

Birnbaum worked with a senior star performer who had a habit of unmercifully attacking others if their performance was not up to his standards. Rather than focus on aspects of the employee’s performance requiring improvement, the star performer would berate the employee, use unnecessarily harsh and inappropriate language and create an antagonistic environment.

“I went to his manager to make him aware of this behavior and indicated this needed to be addressed immediately,” she said. “I also emphasized that the manager was accountable for working with the individual to change their behavior.”

7. Pay attention to interpersonal skills.
Star performers often have come up through the ranks by producing, producing, producing and churning stuff out – and neglecting the grooming of their interpersonal relations.

“In general, they are not mean people, but they may not relate well to colleagues, and then don’t understand when their career stalls,” said Sontag. Further, at some point technical expertise is assumed and leadership skills become more important.

How do you help star performers understand they need to create relationships? “Frankly, it usually takes them running into walls for awhile,” said Sontag. “I help coach them by ensuring they know who their stakeholders are and who is important in their career. In some cases, I put a greater priority on social activities, such as lunches with business associates, and less of a priority on e-mails as a way to communicate. I literally help them regiment their social interactions.”

8. Isolate the star performer’s role.
Consider modifying the person’s role to become more of an expert, individual contributor or one-person function. Ensure the new role will highlight the star’s best qualities and will minimize a negative impact on the rest of the organization. Again, be sure to communicate why this change is happening by emphasizing the star’s good qualities and developmental needs. Without this direct feedback, the star’s glow may eventually fade.

Sometimes, talent managers need to hit ’em in the pocket book. It can be tempting for a star performer to ignore unflattering feedback when he or she is bringing in a tremendous amount of revenue. After giving direct feedback to a star performer, sometimes the manager needs to cut the bonus and, again, explain why.

9. Encourage a star performer to fail.
Star performers literally can be trapped by their accomplishments. When people don’t know something, they often are more open to learn. But when people know something quite well, they are often invested in being an expert. That can be limiting.

Encourage the star performer to take risks, try new assignments, jobs and work styles.

During her June Harvard University commencement speech, J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series, said, “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gist, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.”

Being smart, exceeding goals, creating unique strategies and surpassing performance expectations is not enough.

The star performer also should have superior interpersonal skills and a keen awareness of how his or her actions impact others.

[About the Author: Susan Kushnir is an organizational development specialist for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.]

Regards,

Pinal Mehta

HR Article – 25 Behaviors that lead to mistrust

17 Oct

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25 behaviors that lead to mistrust
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“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of life is relationship – even life at work. And the most critical, foundational building block of a team is trust. Without trust most teams are really disparate collections of individuals called groups. The element that creates or erodes trust is your individual behavior. Trust can support teams to go the extra mile, work for the greater good of the team and the organization, foster open and honest communication and engender mutual respect and support. Distrust, on the other, often stems form a “me first” mind-set that leads to destructive conflict, egoism, and a “going through the motions” attitude.

As trite and worn as the statement “There is no ‘I’ in team.” is, its a fact of life at work that when trust is lacking among team members, they spend inordinate amounts of time and energy resisting others’ inappropriate behaviors, reacting to others’ disingenuousness, playing politics, resisting meetings, and feeling reluctant to ask for, or give, support.  In a culture characterized by mistrust, relationships suffer and when relationships suffer, performance, production and profits suffer. So, how might you be contributing to mistrust on your team?

Here are 25 behaviors that contribute to creating mistrust on your team:

1. You fail to keep your promises, agreements and commitments.
2. You serve your self first and others only when it is convenient.
3. You micromanage and resist delegating.
4. You demonstrate an inconsistency between what you say and how you behave.
5. You fail to share critical information with your colleagues.
6. You choose to not tell the truth.
7. You resort to blaming and scapegoating others rather than own your mistakes.
8. You judge, and criticize rather than offer constructive feedback.
9. You betray confidences, gossip and talk about others behind their backs.
10. You choose to not allow others to contribute or make decisions.
11. You downplay others’ talents, knowledge and skills.
12. You refuse to support others with their professional development.
13. You resist creating shared values, expectations and intentions in favor of your own agenda; you refuse to compromise and foster win-lose arguments.
14. You refuse to be held accountable by your colleagues.
15. You resist discussing your personal life, allowing your vulnerability, disclosing your weaknesses and admitting your relationship challenges.
16. You rationalize sarcasm, put-down humor and off-putting remarks as “good for the group”.
17. You fail to admit you need support and don’t ask colleagues for help.
18. You take others’ suggestions and critiques as personal attacks.
19. You fail to speak up in team meetings and avoid contributing constructively.
20. You refuse to consider the idea of constructive conflict and avoid conflict at all costs.
21. You consistently hijack team meetings and move them off topic.
22. You refuse to follow through on decisions agreed upon at team meetings.
23. You secretly engage in back-door negotiations with other team members to create your own alliances.
24.  You refuse to give others the benefit of the doubt and prefer to judge them without asking them to explain their position or actions.
25. You refuse to apologize for mistakes, misunderstandings and inappropriate behavior and dig your heels in to defend yourself and protect your reputation.

When you show up in integrity, authentically and allow your vulnerability, others will see you as genuine, warts and all. As such, your teammates will begin to trust you and gravitate towards you as you have created a personal container of safety in which others feel they can relate to you in an equally genuine fashion.

Communication and true teamwork is a function of trust, not technique. When trust is high, communication is easy and effortless. Communicating and relating are instantaneous. But, when trust is low, communicating and relating are efforting, exhausting, and time and energy consuming.

Finally, no one wants to give 100% to someone they can’t trust. Period!

So, some questions for self-reflection are:

* How deeply do you trust your own guidance?
* Do you trust that you know what’s best for you?
* Do you often find yourself needing to be in control?
* Do you feel the people in your life should think, feel and behave as you do?
* Are fear, doubt and anxiety a large part of your life?
* Where or when do you feel not good enough or not worthy enough?
* Do you generally feel most folks can’t be trusted?
* What would your life be like if you substituted trust for fear?
* Would you describe yourself as one who has a well-honed capacity to trust, be non-judgmental, and compassionate?
* Would folks describe you as a good listener? How do you know?
* Are you trustworthy?
* What does trust mean to you?
* On what do you base your notion of trust?
* Do you believe others, if asked, would say they trust you?
* Why is trust easy or difficult for you?
* What does someone have to do for you not to trust them?
* Do you have a lot of rules that have to be met before you trust someone?
* What was your experience around trust like when you were growing up?
* Have you ever been told, directly or indirectly, that you can’t be trusted? If so, what was that like?

The chief lesson I have learned in a long life is that the only way to make a man trustworthy is to trust him; and the surest way to make him untrustworthy is to distrust him and show your distrust.” ­ Henry L. Stimson

HR Case Study: Sharpening your AXE

13 Oct

Sapna, Ramesh, Steve, Meera, Matthew, Vikas and so many others in the organization complained of work pressure, unachievable targets, peer pressure, time management and loss of work life balance. Despite working hard, their performance was going down and impacting organization’s bottom line.

Who is to blame for poor performance of employees and business? Ask line managers; they blame it on HR for poor hiring. Ask HR; they blame it on line managers for poor management skills. Ask me, I would say, the Axe???? Now you will ask what (the hell) an Axe has to do in performance management business? Let me tell you a small story…

Once upon a time, a very strong woodcutter asked for a job to a timber merchant, and he got it. The pay was good and so were the working conditions. For that reason, the woodcutter was determined to do his best. His boss gave him an axe and showed him the area where he was supposed to work. The first day, the woodcutter brought 18 trees “Congratulations,” the boss said. “Carry on that way!”.

Very motivated with the boss’s words, the woodcutter tried harder the next day, but he could bring only 15 trees. The third day he tried even harder, but could bring 10 trees only. Day after day he was bringing less and less trees. “I must be losing my strength”, the woodcutter thought.

He went to the boss and apologized, saying that he could not understand what was going on. “When was the last time you sharpened your Axe?” the boss asked. “Sharpen? I had no time to sharpen my Axe. I have been very busy trying to cut more trees for you.”

Yes, the ‘Axe’ has a lot to do in a performance management business. This “Axe” for better performance is an employee’s competencies and skills. In any organization the call to sharpen the Axe needs be taken by HR.
Ask yourself a question “Are employees working hard without proportionate results?”. If the answer is yes, then probably, it is time to examine your employee’s ‘Axe” and sharpen it. In highly competitive business environment, the gap between existing capabilities of employee and required capabilities to compete in the market place widens much faster. A business that cannot bridge these gaps gets wiped off (lot of examples are there).

What to do?

Step 1: Finding Blunt Areas
Like the supervisor in the story, you need to have an evaluation mechanism that can find the skill and competencies gaps in your workforce. This evaluation can be done by streamlining your performance management system so that it could provide better data on skill and competency gaps. These competency gaps extracted as output of Performance Management System should be used to design training and development programs.

Step 2: Sharpening Your Axe

Well-designed training programs (which are focused on developing skills and competencies necessary for a specific job) help you improve employees’ Performance significantly and relieve them from work pressure. You can be gin by identifying the training needs, managing course ware, co-coordinate with faculties, manage training facilities and obtain feed back from your trainees & their managers about the effectiveness of the program. For mid to large organizations, it is possible only if your HR is equipped with a Training Management tool that can keep the Axe sharpened all the while.

Next big question! Do you have an ‘Axe’ sharpener?

Regards,

Pinal Mehta

Bill Smith – HR Case Study

10 Oct

‘Cobra’ Ltd;

‘Cobra’ Ltd is one of the fastest growing end to end IT services firms worldwide, incorporated at US, serving to long list of fortune 500 clients. One of its units established at Asia is engaged in Recruitment Process Outsourcing.

Bill Smith;

Bill Smith, MBA (HR), is recruited through campus placement clearing 4 rounds of interviews by Yen who is one of the technical head working in the same company for over 5 years. As such Bill doesn’t have any sort of base of technology since he is a commerce graduate. However he had quite a good experience of US mortgage and telecom (outsourcing) as he has worked for another call center in the past.

Being an HR professional Bill made no blunder during interview and made himself crystal clear about his non technical background and put his doubt whether he would be fit for the job or not. Yen motivated him by saying that he is highly experienced and has empowered a lot of non technical students.

Bill’s Team Members;

Finally Bill joins ‘Cobra’ even though he is yet to complete his degree 2 months later. Here he got highly cooperative batch mates – Mr. Paul, Miss Sophia, Mrs. Amro, and Mr. Alex. Except Bill, all are from IT background and each of them consistently motivates Bill and supports him to understand all the technologies. Bill is impressed with their behavior since even though there is a competitive atmosphere each of they are behaving like family members.

Paul is a sporty boy; succeeds in getting attention of anyone. Whole group enjoys his company as he possesses great sense of humor. Mrs. Amro is most experienced lady amongst the group. She is highly caring, empathetic and friendly. Sophia is very friendly and cheerful girl. However she hardly cares for others time, feelings or any promises made as she always loves to stay lost away in her own world with her own dreams. However she keeps the atmosphere live all the time.

Induction & Orientation;

On the first day of training all the members are informed that they are in probation of 40 days training program. At the end of which the company will decide as to which candidate would be hired finally.

First week training is taken by amazing trainer Mr. Bonanza, in which all knew each other and became the best friends.

Training by Nancy;

Second week onwards the team is handed over to another trainer Nancy. She has been serving the company since so long, and has been one of the best recruiter the company had ever seen. She is very smart, polite and focused mentor with friendly nature.

Nancy sends daily report to Yen as to performance of each trainee. The whole group passes through various technical and theoretical exams. Even though having poor technical command Bill succeeds in maintaining score of average 70 %, slightly at par with his team at around 75 to 80% However Nancy never gives any clear indication as to her satisfaction level from the performance of Bill, instead she keeps on instructing Bill to score more. She always notices the hard work, sincerity, ambition, and loyalty shown by Bill. However she never communicates any of these to Bill formally in the presence of any superior authority.

Yen and Bill;

Yen has hardly any interaction with Bill since the day he joined except for once or twice. He interacts only on weekend to give review upon weekly tests. On the first review he warns Bill saying that he speaks fast English. US citizens won’t understand it. Bill is little shocked as he never got such a compliment at his last job where he interacted with a lot of US citizens. However he starts working on the same constructively.

Bill’s improvement;

Within a short time he starts working on live calls to recruit IT people for various clients. He is found to be very smooth in calling. He is so comfortable in talking that discussion starts in a very formal way for a job however ends in a long lasting professional relationship. It would not be exaggerated to say that if any candidate speaks with him for more that 10 minutes s/he becomes a big fan. Bill keeps in touch by e-mail with all the successful candidates who are in process of selection. Within 2 weeks he closes around 15 candidates out of which 11 are US citizens. Bill feels satisfaction on his improvement. Moreover he starts grasping the technological parts rapidly.

Yen’s review on Bill’s performance;

On the month ending Saturday Nancy went on leave. Yen calls up Bill and agenda of meeting is to communicate following points –

  1. Yen is not at all satisfied with his performance, neither at calling part nor with technology part. i.e. ‘Communication & Technology’ are the grounds on which Yen wants to terminate him from job.

(Bill is confused as Yen had a last interaction with him when he gave him first warning, 20 days before. Moreover, there was not a single test on technology part conducted yet and still Yen directly came on negative conclusion without consulting Nancy even.)

  1. The current profile would not give him any long term benefit as the outsourced recruiting can’t help. (as much as work experience for the domestic recruitment can)

  1. Showing the picture of future where other employees with technical background would earn far better incentives where as Bill would be struggling just for survival, staying underperformer all the time.

  1. To suggest him to go for such a job that supports his qualification and can be helpful to his career few years down the line

  1. In a nut shell Bill is just wasting his time at this company.

Bill is frustrated on coming out of meeting. He is convinced with all the points except the first one of poor performance. However he doesn’t discuss anything about it with his lovely team. He feels like stereotyping attitude of Yen towards him. However Bill puts a strong wish to join the Corporate HR team of ‘Cobra’ which is engaged in domestic recruitment if he isn’t fit for the current profile since he has specialized in HR and possesses sound knowledge of that field. Yen consolidates for the same if there’s any opening there. They decided to meet on Monday again.

Last e-mails Bill sends at the end of Saturday;

Bill is matured enough to visualize that it is his almost last day at ‘Cobra’. He writes nice e-mails to each trainer he came across during a month wishing thanks and about his hearty feelings for ‘Cobra’. He also wishes a warm thanks to Yen in spite of little disappointment with his decision. He wishes thanks for all the cooperation, love and consistent motivation throughout the month given by his charming team members who made a unique place in Bill’s heart.

Nancy’s silence;

Nancy is the only close observer of team performance and always appreciated Bill for his die heart efforts for improved performance. She is the only person who is authorized to forward performance report to Yen. She has very friendly relations with each team member. She always takes personal care of Bill in any difficulties. On these grounds it can’t be predicted that Nancy might have given negative any negative feedback to Yen. In spite of all these facts Yen takes negative decision. So naturally, Nancy’s role becomes doubtful here. Meanwhile, on Sunday, Bill informs Nancy about Yen’s decision. However she just keeps quite and suggests for waiting until final decision.

During the Masters Bill came across many theories and case studies in HR about corporate politics, seniority, appraisal, hidden observations, investigation etc. all these things started striking suddenly when he started thinking of the role of Nancy in the whole play. Yet he isn’t ready to believe that Nancy could give any negative feedback about Bill.

Team’s reaction;

As such all team members are almost fresher, having their first job. None of them is able to understand what is happening and why when Bill suddenly declares that he would no more continue with them. All are surprised and shocked with the ground of poor performance on which Yen wanted to terminate him. Each team member is expecting something from Nancy as she is the only witness of all facts about Bill’s performance and other things.

Final Monday;

Finally on Monday Yen asks Bill to resign from job saying that there’s no vacancy at corporate HR team nor he is fit for the current profile. Bill requests him to give a little notice period so that he can search out for a new job. Yen replies in legal terms saying that in probation period there’s no notice period he can terminate anyone at anytime. He also suggests to speak badly about ‘Cobra’ if at new job the reason of leaving previous job is asked. It is totally unexpected and suddenly changed behavior. Just a little talk and Yen goes back to his work.

Bill’s reaction to Yen’s final decision;

Bill is wondering what has happened within a moment! It is the first job of his professional career and he is terminated on first month itself. He is frustrated because he is thrown out of company as a failure in spite of performing beyond expectations. He is not at all willing to leave his loveliest company in this way. He feels as if someone has taken away his dream from his sleep. All sleepless efforts for performance, sacrifice of study, opportunity cost of other jobs at campus, loyalty & sincerity, vision to rock up to top….. Everything goes in vain within a moment. He is highly satisfied with the company except the fact that he is being terminated on probably wrong grounds.

The Attitude of Bill while leaving the company;

However his institution inculcated sound corporate values during the professional course. He thinks that “Boss is Always Right”. If his employer is not satisfied it is of no value even if he puts 24 hours dedication for work. It’s not a matter of facts and figures but his ultimate goal is to give satisfactory return on investment to company which he somehow failed provide. Corporate doesn’t grow on the amount of efforts but on the ultimate results. In absence of win-win situation he isn’t willing to continue with the job. Instead of cursing for wrong decision of Yen he thinks that he gave right direction to his career. As finally he has to accept the fact he puts a resignation letter on the desk of Yen and prepares himself to start searching for a new firm like ‘Cobra’, a dream company.

Last wish of discussion with Nancy:

Lastly Bill wants to have a discussion with Nancy whose killing silence till the last moment is creating so many questions. He wants to express his whole hearted feelings for ‘Cobra’ (which has given him everything he expected as a dream organization) and a little doubt about his being terminated as well. He never wants to leave with a tag of failure. Even the reputation of his institution is at stake if he is terminated like this. However she is busy with her work and contact at this moment is not possible.

Last meeting with Ryan Smith;

Co incidentally while leaving for home Bill comes across Ryan Smith. Ryan welcomes him for open discussion about the matter. Here, Bill tries to communicate his true feelings for everything ‘Cobra’ gave to him and to justify his performance, a little criticism about Yen’s decision as well. Bill puts across the following major points to Ryan…

  • Being an HR professional Bill didn’t make any blunders during the recruitment interview taken by Yen as he very well understands that bluffing leads to failure when a candidate comes on actual work.
  • Bill clarified all his weak points well in advance including technical skills so as to decide whether he would be fit for the profile or not.
  • Bill just wanted to know at which decision Yen was wrong whether at a point of selection or at a point of rejection!
  • Yen gave motivating statement to join ‘Cobra’ saying that “the company provides extensive training subject to condition the candidate is ready to take up challenges and willing to work hard.” Bill feels that he has fulfilled his obligations well then also why Yen is not ready to give him time to prove himself.
  • All the positive feedback given by other trainers on his performance except Nancy’s silence along with scores of tests.
  • A sense of gratitude to company for providing such a great opportunity and the best people to work with.

This meeting proves to be the best one for Bill to come out of frustration. Ryan makes him realize that he is not at all failure, may be he isn’t fit for the current profile he is working upon. He adds that Yen is one of the senior most managers working with the company since so long so his decision would be true anyhow. However he offers for further training if Bill is so confident about his performance.

Since Bill is convinced with the reasons 2,3,4,5, and 6 except 1st given by Yen on Saturday meeting he refuses to continue with the profile. He wishes to work with Corporate HR team but even Ryan is helpless as there is no vacancy. Ryan also suggests him to work for core HR profile instead of RPO. (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) He suggests giving his reference at a new company and wishes all best luck for career.

Challenges for Bill on leaving ‘Cobra’;

  • Bill has lost all other job opportunities at campus during the stay at ‘Cobra’.
  • Only 45 days are left for final exams which are yet to be cleared for degree. Now whether to struggle for a new job staying in the same city or focus on study?
  • He already incurred heavy relocation cost. It’s now not easy to again go back and set up new house etc.
  • There’s a tag of failure on leaving the first job within first month which is a major hurdle in getting new job.
  • Family members have big issues with the company’s sudden firing decision.

Yen’s call back for Retention;

After an hour of leaving the work place Bill gets a call from Yen wishing great news that he wants to give him 2 more days to prove himself. But there’s nothing great for Bill now to continue with the same profile so he refuses to come back. Yen is shocked with the reply and becomes little upset. He starts speaking opposite about future, profile etc of whatever he conveyed on Saturday, but Bill has no trust on any statement given by Yen now. Finally they agree upon personal meeting along with Nancy within next 30 minutes. As Bill wanted to take feedback and answers of so many questions of whatever had happened from silent Nancy he agrees upon the discussion for retention.

Nancy Speaks out Finally;

This is the last professional meeting with Yen and Nancy. Yen states that he is really surprised when Nancy gave feedback after termination about Bill’s performance record and rate of improvement on Communication as well as Technical aspects. Nancy rated 7 out of 10 on Communication part. Bill has now no more questions with Nancy. She made her role clear there as per expectations. His curiosity comes to an end. He feels a great satisfaction as at least someone who truly knows all the facts has spoken out finally even though little late. Yen also tries to convince family members of Bill who are not at all agree to allow him to continue with the same profile. But Bill has lost faith on Yen and there are no hopes of further growth in the same profile as suggested by Yen. However Bill expresses his strong wish to continue with the dream company given a chance to work with Corporate HR team. The meeting ends with disagreement, yet on good terms.

Everything is lost except Long Lasting Relationship;

Bill respects whole heartedly for Nancy’s efforts and staying honest at all the time. As such there is no place of feelings and emotions at corporate world still Bill has quite a good affection with all the team members and his ideal trainer cum mentor Nancy. Even after termination they all meet frequently on holidays and have a feeling of team as a whole. Here’s the best thing ‘Cobra’ might have ever given to its any of the terminated employee.

The Story Doesn’t End Here;

The company and its HR need to do extensive research upon the following aspects…..

  • Is the top management taking notice of such issue or they’re just passes away like a usual hiring & firing case?
  • Which decision of Yen is correct for Bill – Selection, Rejection, or Retention?
  • Is Yen ready to take responsibility for any of his mistakes or still believes that he is right in all the decisions?
  • Why was Bill recruited if he had poor communication skills and no technical background? Should the company bring any intervention in its recruitment procedure?
  • Why was Bill asked to resign even before completing 40 days training program?
  • Usually existing employees start fearing for their job insecurity after such an issue. What are the HR practices at ‘Cobra’ to avoid it?
  • The major area concerned here is that even after being informed on Saturday why Nancy kept silence until Bill was finally asked for resignation on Monday? Is Yen a dominating manager? Is there an issue of Whistle Blowing for Nancy? Why Yen didn’t feel necessary to consult with Nancy before such a serious decision?
  • Why Bill didn’t choose to come back for the same profile even though Yen marked finally the improvement of his performance, ‘Cobra’ is a dream company for him, and he wishes to join corporate HR team? It’s said that “employees never leave their company they leave their Bosses”. Has this concept worked here?
  • Why there is a communication gap between Yen and Nancy even though Yen is the immediate supervisor of Nancy? Why did Yen not discuss with Nancy who was aware of in & out about the candidate before taking such a serious decision? Did he ever read any of the daily report submitted by Nancy about the performance of team?
  • A genuine employee had to leave his beloved company only due to communication gap between two managers. How constructive HR policies are to look after such issues?

Bill quotes negative words for ‘Cobra’;

“The company has set very high expectations for me. I would expect excellent work culture, best trainers, friendly collogues, opportunistic policies, and flat organizational structure just like ‘COBRA’ from next job throughout the career.”

– Pinal Mehta