Dear Seniors,

I need your advice. Iím working in a startup company. I want to know how to build replacement of Old employee. Why Iím asking for old employee because here is 1 senior employee, every time he has problems with the rules and regulations, policies of company. Whenever company is issuing any policy he is the first one who start saying negative points about company.

Negative points about him:

Never filled timesheet,

not good in professional communication,

not able to handle team (Few months back he has given opportunity to handle a team but he was not able to handle it properly, due to team work his work started suffering result performance was very poor)

Positive Points:

Very much Logical sound

Able to handle projects alone.

Technically sound

Favorite employee of Director (in terms of working)

Now the problem is every time he start saying negative on the things. He doesn\'t want to listen his shortcomings. I feel he is showing attitude/proud on his positive points.

My concern is this, I want his replacement. Can you please guide me how to build/hire a replacement of strong resource. As itís a small company so obviously company donít have enough amount to hire replacement of every employee.

Can somebody please guide me how to handle this situation?


Nisha Sharma

From India, Delhi

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Hi Nisha,
Here are the concerns:
 Never filled timesheet: If his work is good and he is favorite of the director, donít bother about his time sheet.
 Not good in professional communication: Arrange some one-on-one coaching for him
 not able to handle team: He might be an individual contributor. Some people are good in their work but canít handle teams.
If he says negative about the company, involve your director. Give the old employee some importance and ask for his views and then ask team members about it.
Handle the situation tactfully and donít look for replacement, especially when his work is good and the director likes himÖ.

From India, Delhi
Hi Atul,

Thanks for your immediate reply but the thing is this company can not be partial with the employees. Upto some extent it's okay but not in each and every thing. His negative words affect other employee's work also and they also start doing the same thing.

And please let me know 1 thing, in my company for every rule or every harsh email, employees are blaming HR, it seems they have personal grudges against me. I don't like their behavior. It's my work obviously I've to do this.

Not good in professional communication: Arrange some one-on-one coaching for him: I mentioned that he doesn't want to listen any negative or shortcoming about him. Acc to him he is best, company can not run without him.

Give the old employee some importance and ask for his views and then ask team members about it: We do that also, in every thing we include them ask them about their views, feedback but thy don't utter any word.

Reason of looking his replacement is when you have this type of feeling, you can leave job anytime. So, as a HR I must have 1 replacement.

Kindly correct me if I'm wrong.


Nisha Sharma

From India, Delhi
Ok. Now, I understand the situation completely.
You can talk to your director and appoint a person who is more qualified but less experienced than the senior person. Make the new employee work with him and learn from him. It wonít be easy but you have to give it a shot.
If you heard have of SOPs and knowledge management, then you can appoint some interns who will help him make SOPs for the work he does.
The director needs to also give him KRAs including team management and his appraisal should have Weightage to his personal and professional behavior too. This can be highlighted in competencies.
As far as harsh mails are concerned, you need to talk to your boss and ask him to get involved and clear the air with the employees and help you to establish your credibility.

From India, Delhi
Yes Atul. My boss is involved in each and every email. He wants me to act as authority. But employees do not want this. For them I'm a villian, if Director is scolding then about their work then they think it is because of me.
I want to know 1 thing if we hire fresh graduates so are they able to meet up the experience of 4 yrs exp employee. Again he is lacking in Team work, not able to handle the things properly.
Can you please guide me how to fetch the resource from another company?
Nisha Sharma

From India, Delhi
Well, I am not a hiring expert so can't comment on that. But surely, you can get people if you give them better positions or better perks.
I didn't understand what have written: I want to know 1 thing if we hire fresh graduates so are they able to meet up the experience of 4 yrs exp employee.
I don't think freshers can match the work standards of people with four years of experience... if that's what you want to know.

From India, Delhi

I wen to through the trail. Being into HR many people may not like you ac they feel whatever bad things are happening in the company is because of HR. So don't feel bad you are hired to perform certain task it is your duty to perform your task.

Try to build rapport with them, it will not happen over the night. You have to keep your patience. Be friendly don't be friends with them. It will give you an idea about what's happening.

Don't try to write harsh mails rather put your point across in firm language.

Please do not seek employees view while making any decision, because it is not necessary that you always listen to them. If you ask them and do not implement again you are giving them a chance to say that you are not employee centric HR.

Coming to the experienced employee who is in air. Talk to your director about his behavior I am sure he will take the action as at the end of the day it if affecting company culture. You have already mentioned that his attitude has started rubbing on others. If company needs employees, employees are also in need of job.

If you do not want to terminate him you can send him the warning letter and still if his behavior is the same please look for someone else. Initially it can be difficult OR may be when he leaves you may realise that he was not required.

So keep your calm and do a good job.

Hope it helps!!!

From India, Pune
Hello Nisha

After seeing the good and bad of the other side (the old employee), let us see what is there on your side since you are the key person who has to deal with the situation and it is necessary that you need to equip yourself with required skills to do it. There is an old saying that who conquers himself, can conquer the world. In other words what does it mean is he/she who controls himself, can control others. Thus self-management is the key while it comes to managing difficult people, because they play up on your emotions and cause hurt to you. In many cases we, do not deal with our charged emotions and hurt in the manner it should be dealt with and instead allow ourselves to be swept by them and tend to react to them. This may make us go in search of solutions that may not really answer our problems.

Then how to deal with onesí emotions and hurt properly?

This starts with understanding others feelings and acceptance that we can neither change nor control certain facts in life..

1) In the instant case, the facts over which we have no control are :

a)The modern work place is a mixed work place of old generation, the generation X and the generation Y and thus this kind of conflict of generation may be a feature of them. Even if you switch to a new job, there is no guarantee that it does not have an old senior employee to be again dealt with..

b) If you replace him, will there be a guarantee that the new hire will be better than the old one? Some times I came across people saying after replacements that ď a known devil is better than an unknown angelĒ. What if the new hire though may be very good mannered but not as much technically skilled as the old one. In the instant case, atleast you know as to what he is good at.

c) Now coming to self management, I observe certain statements made by you in your reply post to learned member Atul Sharma of learning novo which are :

ďIn my company for every rule or every harsh email, employees are blaming HR, it seems they have personal grudges against me. I don't like their behavior. It's my work obviously I've to do this.Ē

Yes, I appreciate that you firmly believed that it is your job to frame rules and policies. A late comer does not like to be told to come on time. You can not frame a rule seeking his permission to please him. Therefore as HR, please accept that you cannot or need not please every one and at the same not all will be scoffing at you. There will be some disciplined who admire your initiatives..Even Buddha got resistance for his philosophy but he pursued in what he believed. When you are sure that rules are meant for the interests of the organization, you need not pay any attention to others comments. In fact it is the indication that your policies are having a desired affect on the employees. Therefore smile and do not get perturbed by the criticism of some or the few. Accept that bouquets and brickbats are part of professional life of HR and every HR goes through it. Accept that it is normal.

However one suggestion here. As HR keep yourself open to suggestions though it is not mandatory to follow every suggestion that is given as you should also be able to sell your HR initiatives to your internal customers who are the employees and departmental heads. Therefore listen to them. It has two advantages i) they feel happy that their voice is heard and that you are not arbitrary ii) if the suggestions have merit, you can adopt them in the rules so that they will have wider acceptance and reduce opposition.

Therefore check your e-mails and see whether they are really couched in harsh language. Some times, in our eagerness to emphasize the importance of compliances with rules/ procedures, we may unknowingly use strong language though in good faith. What an official communication needs is an assertive language but not an aggressive language which may be offending to others. You can check the mails to see whether the communications require any modifications. If so, do not hesitate to modify. This will have a positive affect on the employees. and win them on your side.

Another statement about the old employee is :

ďNot good in professional communication: Arrange some one-on-one coaching for him: I mentioned that he doesn't want to listen any negative or shortcoming about him. Acc to him he is best, company can not run without him.Ē

Probably a fresher may accept a remark of yourís about his professional communication and be willing to accept suggestions for improvement but not a veteran like the old employee. So you should not repeat it. I do not envisage any prospect of coaching or training in communication will bring any change in his communication nor will he be cooperative. At the same time I visualize that it is not easy to replace him since he is the favourite of the director which usually such old employees are. Secondly there is a risk of director getting annoyed , if the new hire turns bad from work point of view. Therefore you need to take a practical view which can be :.

1) Since he is sound technically and handles projects alone well, you can allot him to such projects after taking your directors into confidence. This will also minimize his interaction with others.

2) Be professional. These are challenges for HR in modern work places..Managing generation diversity is a modern HR skill. Therefore view it as a skill development opportunity but do not take any thing to head or heart since every thing happens in the sphere of office but not in your personal domain.

Finally I conclude with a wonderful solo conversation which I read some where but which bestows on us immense power to deal with hardships in life.

ď I asked for strength, but God gave me difficulties to make me strong.

I asked for wisdom but God gave me problems to solve.

I asked for courage but God gave me the risks to overcame.

Thus I have not received what I wanted

But I received what all I neededĒ

In all probability, this work place will be a training ground for you to hone your skills in managing workplace diversity and interpersonal relations

Hope this helps All the best.


In-House HR & IR Advisor

From India, Mumbai
Thanks for your wonderful suggestions to Monica Patadiya and B.Saikumar..
I'll try to implement these suggestions. But I want to know how to build/hire replacement of strong resource. Because it is possible that a strong resourse can leave the leave if he wants so company must have his replacement.
What are the strategies we adopt?
Nisha Sharma

From India, Delhi
Hello Nisha

I guess what you are asking for is to keep a succession planning in place..The harsh reality in the corporate wonderland is that you may suddenly loose an Alice who is one of the key players, upsetting many a process and project on course.Since these events may happen sudden or with short notice,you can not start looking for her/his replacement after she/he leaves the company.Therefore a succession plan, in my view. shall consist of of following steps.

1)Prepare the plan well in advance.

2)Identify the critical roles/processes first in the organisation which shall go on uninterrupted.

3)identify the traits, skills, behaviours and knowledge required to perform these critical responsibilities.

4)Identify the employees who have the potential and possess the required competencies and assess them. You can make use of the performance evaluation system in your organisation.

5)Ensure transfer of knowledge and skills from the critical role players to the one intended to succeed them by -

a) by placing the prospective successors under the key role players;

b) by documenting the way a particular process is handled or a problem solved to keep a record of the procedure and methods to be passed on to the successors..

c) by rotating the prospective successors among different roles if this is permissible so as to allow the company to have the flexibility of utilizing their services at any point of need instead of at one point.

d)by handing over the reigns of leadership to be held independently by the successors at any opportunity that may come by like the HOD/ key role player proceeding on LTA or on leave or on training etc.

6) Develop a skill development plan through proper training of the successors to keep them update.(Train them in attitudes and skills and competencies etc)

succession plan is not an event related plan but is continuous process.

Hope this helps


In-House HR & IR Advisor

Navi Mbmbai

From India, Mumbai

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