As a HR it is a good concern, but you have to look and frame policy as per the requirement
If you look at a software industry generally the project is time bound and hence ideally these team usually have no specific working hours. Developers can do coding sitting hours if they find a friendly atmosphere. Hence generally for development team there should a a flexible atmosphere, but one sure ensure that daily they are putting in minimum amount of hours as decided by project manager or management. If you make then wear a tie and formal dresses they might be not comfortable.
usually a awareness of well manner should always be conveyed from time to time. But they should always be motivated.
Whereas if you see the sales team or the management team who are generally exposed to client to outside world , yes they should have a formal attire as this give the image and impression about the company.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Raginiti,

Lot of seniors have given their replies. However, let me give some opposite view.

Culture of indiscipline is bane of software sector. Your company is no exception. Now coming to the main problem. Has anybody tried to calculate "cost of indiscipline"? Has anybody tried measuring tangible and intangible ill-effects of indiscipline? We need to weigh benefits vis-a-vis cost of indiscipline and then we need to come to conclusion whether this arrangement is working fine or not.

May be that you boss has not bothered to measure the cost of indiscipline. May be that he did not know how to measure and neither he tried knowing it as well. Ignorance is the bliss. Hence the present situation!

You have not directly said about attrition but hinted about low attrition. Who knows, those who left were equally talented but could not digest this indiscipline. Organisation has lost talent anyway.

Sid has told you about creating a culture of performance. Yes good suggestion. Drivers of performance are quality, quantity, consistency, accuracy, delivery, customer satisfaction etc. Start measuring the performance on these parameters. These parameters are interspersed and not mutually exclusive. Culture of discipline will come anyway. Without this culture, culture of performance will not come.


Dinesh V Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Any small Softare Co., working atmosphere is exactly what you says.... Software engineers are educated.... and at the same time vulnerable... From HR angle a weak person cannot deal with them.... since from their angle HR is a week issue.... They dio not bother HR etc.,,, as long as HR people friendly with them..... IF HR goes against any software engr. they will teach lesson to HR by not cooperating with their project and ultimately it will affect the growing of the profitable concern....

I will tell you one small example: In this small kind small s/w companies, everything is free for employees because they do the job to ring the profitability. My friend says this practical example...... In one of the small similar company...... cool drink stocks got emptied the previous day.... and morning some engineer want some cool drinks and the admin guy said to them he will organise to get it. By that time the concerned Engineer along with come other engineer went to MD and told him that there is no cool drink stock at all..... Then MD called the Admin guy and shouting.... This is only example.... This kind of scenes are the Software engineers will create....

In any Software co., Software Engineers are the Asset of the Company. To start a software business minimum You need only Place, Computers, Internet or with high bandwith and the engineers.... and some US marketing tactics. That's all.... Here the Govt will give you quick license etc.,,, where as you are bringing Foreigh exchange thru the company profit.

Whereas if you want to start any kind of manufacturing need a big place, labours and lot of formalities to get aprovals etc., license etc.,,,,, where the govt is also very sanction anything....

So........... software companies and their engineers are pet for everybody including for any management.....

So Just leave this issue to the Management.....

Regarding leave and attendance you just politely talk to the concerned and get the thing done...

- regards - ramani -

From India, Bangalore
Dear Raginiti,

Indiscipline is subjective. If you talk to engineers, they may have their own version.

Take example of working hours. I had teams that worked with different clients, spread across different geographical regions. Teams working with US west coast used to come late and stay late. Teams working with Korea and Japan used to come early and go early. Good overlap with client's working hours was very important in those cases. It could also be the case that some talented engineers feel they are indispensable and take others for a ride!

This situation is best handled by line managers. They are the ones who know what the project requires and the best way to deliver it. Having said that, many front line managers don't have the maturity to handle these tricky issues well. Ideally, senior managers should mentor and coach line managers in this regard.

However, in many organizations, senior leadership hardly finds time to mentor and coach front line managers. Often they are busy with finding business, funding and dealing with customer issues. In such situations, alternative solution is to find an external coach/mentor, who has done senior leadership roles in same industry.

If you like to discuss further, you can contact me at



From India, Bangalore
There seems to be great flow of learning from this post.
(Cite Contribution) has asked a really valid and practical question and the others like Sid, Saikumar, Khadir, Simhan, have given key inputs to this discussion.
this is a practical problem. Everywhere, it is believed to have disciplined, matured and systematic culture. But the truth is different. I agree to the above points and also believe that the suggestions would help us in making a strong culture of the organization where we work regardless the type.
I also believe that this post would actually keep the viewer thinking constantly of change required, the patterns in change, the adaptive change and the transformational change required in the organization. This would help all the viewers to engage in a healthy discussion on what elements are required for a change to happen.

From India, Delhi
Hello Ragini

It is really turning out to be a learning discussion, looking to the valuable inputs from the learned members of the forum.. You have stated that your company is a softwrae company and that the employees are talented but indisciplined.The other memebers who seem to be acquainted with organisational culture of software companies referred to the 'laissez-faire' kind of environment in software companies which resents restrictions and restraints on the freedom of individual employees as it believes that an employee' potential finds it's best expression in a free atmosphere, In other words it sums up that aculture of free enterprise paves the way for aculture of performance in a software company, given it's peculiarities like knowledge base and global time schedules etc.

If you view the prevailing culture in your comapny in the context of the thought provoking contributions to this thread from all enlightened members of the forum, you need to ask few questions to ensure that you sized up the situation properly.They are:

1)whether in a software company , such culture of free atmosphere is inevitable ?

2)Is this culture yielding results and delivering goods to the company?

3) if so whether such culture of performance can thrive only in a culture of free enterprise ?

4) Am I misunderstanding the culture of free atmosphere for culture of indiscipline ?

5 )Am I apprehending that culture of free atmosphre, if continued , may lead to a culture of indiscipline and if so what are the symptoms that are visible and gave rise to this apprehension?

6) what are the options, available to introduce discipline or positively stating to bring about cahnge in the perceptions and behaviour of the employees? - (Jot down the options)

8) Which option provides me a win-win situation ?

In my view, you need to answer these questions as probably you are walking on a thin ice and need to be doubly sure that you sought a solution but found a probelm.


HR & labour Law Advsior


From India, Mumbai
These discussions here remind me of my days at work in to types of educational establishment. One, a college where 9am to 5pm attendance, 5 days a week, is expected whether a tutor has to take lessons or not; and two, a university where no attendance was required only when classes were being taken and/or meetings were held. However, in the latter, tutors were held responsible to meet the demands of the students in terms of project supervision, guidance, etc.

In the former institution, the staff resented the attendance reqirement. I was told that in some Indian colleges staff are required to attend even during when classes are not held to meet AICTE regulations. They just go there, sign, and then go home. People have told me what of waste of time, transport, etc, this stipulation causes.

In the latter university, tutors were available to guide students on line and were able to guide then even during summer vacations. Where as when a staff member is forced to attend 5 days a week, (s)he will be very unwilling to help during vaction time.

From United Kingdom
Dear Ragini,
I would like to know whether any policies are formulated in your organisation like leave policy, working hours etc. If not you please formulate the same and make employees to understand and educate them regarding the same. Explain them about the benefit of keeping the leave records, com off and late working hours and at the same time you explain the benefit for starting the day at the right time.
With Regards,

From Pakistan, Lahore
Generally the cause for in discipline not having company guide lines and decorum. Therefore, one has to set the examples of articles stated above, need to be considered with good spirit and suggestions implemented to wards employees behavioral aspects and relation with middle management.
In my opinion at present the competency rules the organisations goals, in young generation we shall appreciate the same and make them counsel to groom to the company set of guide lines.Secondly bosses need to establish and participate in team work hand to hand to build a strong relation. Self dignity,status and pride comes with the behavioral aspects, knowledge and logical solutions.

From India, Calcutta

Dear Rajiniti,
Valuable comments from Sid and Dinesh. To add little apart from the ones suggested, I have seen HR people in start ups or SME's especially being a single contributor will try to exhibit sudden changes. Few of us think that as a HR we need to bring in changes, immediately. We need to understand that, always we should have an ASIS analysis. You can make a situational study which comprises of morale, cost, productivity, management road-map, culture, etc.
Once you have a valid report, please sit with your management and discuss. Also please don't initiate any changes to them, until they comment on the process. Also let the management understand that this (if the culture is demoralized) can be resolved by certain process withstand. This is purely because you have mentioned that the employees are good at work and the organization faces a minimal attrition. Good luck!

From India, Bangalore

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