Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Asst.commissioner Of Labour..a.p.
Systems Coordinator
+4 Others

I am a HR executive in a private organization. It is a financial organization. The number of total manpower is 100 plus. I am the only HR personal in this organization. I have to report directly to the Managing Director of the company. We have HR Policy approved by the Board of Director. I am trying hard to maintain the office discipline cause the organization is facing 'Informal Communication' with the board and the Employee. There is clear instruction what to do and what should not to do in the policy. But the fact is that in every face of HR function we are facing the trouble.
Example-1: We have clear 'Recruitment Policy' but during the screening process Board member pressurise to include their candidate - though their candidate is not qualified according to the qualification requirement. Again these member also create pressure to forcefully terminate or resign employees from the company though management think not required.
Example-2: We have good promotion policy but during the time of Annual Appraisal our employees maintain informal communication with some board member who force us to include inefficient employee to promotion list though there is no recommendation from the line manager.
Example-3: We have good disciplinary action policy but during the time of any disciplinary issue arise we have to face strong barrier from the board level as employee maintain informal communication with them.
Now the situation becoming worse and worse please suggest me.
The HR will face trouble in such cases and find it difficult to discharge duties.
HR in such cases should be ready to face the problem by resorting to full 100% documentation and reporting to MD and let the decision on file speak for itself.
Do not pay heed to pressure from Board by diplomatically telling them all things are in black and white about the case.
In recruitment cases when pressure comes put up the QR published for the post in advance and show them how the informally suggested candidate does not meet QR and where it will affect the professional performance of company.
However in such organisations work become difficult.Try to be as professional and nuetral as possible and be ready to look for a more professionally run out fit.
Dear The Green,
This is in addition to what Mr Nathrao has said. What you have referred as "informal communication" is nothing but ingratiation. In your company, an informal relationship has been developed deliberately by currying favour with the top boss (to whom refer as board members). By virtue of their informal relationship or in other words sycophancy, lower level staff are gaining their favours.
You expect that all the decision-making should be within the framework of the policies. Nevertheless gentleman, please note that every organisation needs to have a philosophy and values. Any decision taken should be consistent with those values. Organisational policies are extension of those values. It should be the endeavour of the top management to ensure that the decisions taken do not contradict with the values. When it is done, and that too over a period time, a culture of professionalism is developed. In your case, if the board members are not interested to develop a culture of professionalism then why you should bother? In fact it should be worry of owner of your company. What inconsistency you, as an HR Executive are able to observe, why that the owner is unable to observe? If he wishes to look other side when deviations take place, then nothing can be done.
You have not written how long you have been working. However, as the years pass, try gaining trust of the owner and try shooting from his shoulder. However, it will take time and that too needs to be done cautiously!
Dinesh Divekar
Dear professional colleague,
You have brought out the predicament of HR, facing challenges from Board directors who lay down HR policies but find ways to circumvent to suit their favours and whims and fancies and throwing policies, knowingly or unknowingly to winds.
It is surprising to note that the Directors are blissfully unaware of the adverse consequences their actions may have producef on the minds of employees at large.
In the given situation the choices before HR are limited- either take on the Directors directly or diplomatically or live with it hoping some day things will change.
While agreeing largely with the suggestions made by Mr Natharao, I would like to elaborate on one of them.
In each time any issue in the areas of Recruitment, Performance Appraisal and disciplinary actions caused by the undue interference of directors ,the HR should prepare a note bringing out clearly all aspects of the issue at hand, actions directed by the governing HR policy on the issue, recommendations of the HR with reasons , consequences if governing HR policy is not followed and requesting MD to grant approval in writing .
When this practice of putting on record the detailed note is followed, it may serve two purposes, 1 it will absolve HR if policies are deviated by the Directors and 2 the tendency of favouritism displayed by Directors is likely to be curbed or they will see reason and feel accountable to follow the HR policies which they themselves have laid down.
Although there is no one- fit -all solution to any issue, it is one of the ways suggested as worth trying.
Earlier also Akansha, posted similar predicament which you may like to refer to for the views of seniors.
Vinayak Nagarkar,
Dear Friend,
The acts, rules, conditions & laws are framed to establish harmony. The misery is that all the the acts, rules, conditions & laws are being faded due to poor enforcement. The work of enforcement is rest on the hand of human, who is ridden by number of maladies and taken a job to earn his livelyhood. Ultimately under pressure becomes a scape goat in hand of vested interst group.
You are not only one in this world who is facing this type of challenges. This is common phenomenon of this world is that ' makers-breaks the condition first.
In this kind of situation you need to inform in mail as well as in your formal discussion with MD mentioned that how you are in pressure from boarad members to get their work done though wrong. In my presumption your MD will say in sweet tongue that he will look into, mind it thing is not that easy to against the board members.
You try to sail your boat as long as you can but do not do anything of your wish even though you consider it wrong or otherwise you may face victimization. That is why we call this world is "Diverse".
Hope many of our collegues may differ to the 'Fact' but this is absolute. One way is out is to give a suggestion to your MD, to constitute a committee to look after all this nature of business involving the some members of the board.
Dear Puzzled HR Executive:
Any organization, worthy of its name, has a trajectory towards growth and development. To keep all activities moving in the right direction, certain SOP's have to be followed , be it HR or any other department / unit.
Being 'pressurized' into accepting something / someone by the Board - or for that matter any one else, goes against the very reason of the Vision and the Mission Statement - the bottom line of all being 'conveying excellence'. Excellence comes through merit. And all 'pressures' explicit or implied go against merit.
Good organizations have things in black and white, no room for gray areas.
You should have the moral courage, to stand up speak, perhaps 'diplomatically' and just say NO! It just needs stamina, and that is all what management is about.
Hope this helps.
Arif ur Rehman
Dear all
It is not possible to say "NO" in my situation diplomatically or non-diplomatically what else word is perfect you may choose. But the fact is that my organization has not long HR Management history as the organization has to face Managing Director crisis time to time. When any strait-forward or honest Person is coming in that position they can't continue there journey here long and they have to leave before there tenure is completed. As a HR executive this is also a problem we are facing for so long (last 10 years).
It is better to state your views straight to MD or Chairman and stick to your views as diplomatically as possible.
IF directors are hell bent on petty interferences then it is better to leave.These people will one day face the music and then they will change.
Dont compromise and be a person who bends and twists as per boss and not as per what is right.
Dear Worried Colleague:
Compromising on principles is against organizational ethics, resultantly you are compromising on departmental performance and obviously you are sending the wrong message, if you give in - then everything, right or wrong is acceptable.
Dear Colleague, given that you have 10+years of HR experience you can be a welcome choice for many leading national and multi-national organization. Stick to your guns, start applying for alternative openings, and you will land up, hopefully, with a better job
The longest journey, against 'sifarish' needs that the first step be taken.
Honesty, integrity, commitment, ethics are rewards in themselves.
Be of good cheer.
Arif ur Rehman
Dear Sirs (Arif ur Rahman & others)
Appreciating your reply and advise of future step for me. Pray for me to "Allah" so that i may move forward. The journey in hr management is never been an easy task specially in our country.
Dear Mr. Coming-to-a-Decision:
When ethics, honesty, integrity and merit are at risk, do not compromise. You not only become a strong individual from within, but strengthen the organization's vision and strategic roles. May Allah(swt) reward you with a better job opening.
Worry not, rationalize, and go ahead with the decision.
Morality is the highest virtue.
Arif ur Rehman
It was one of your concerned that employees are involved in "informal communication" with others. Many organisations are taking fidelity bond from the employee to prevent passing or divulge or non disclosure of information to anyone is liable for action.
Informal communications with others in this post means only within the company.Top bosses bypassing normal channels and remaining in touch with lower level employees.
This is irregular and shows a lack of professionalism of top bosses and equally an approach which breeds disrespect for in between channels.
Some thing like saying I know the boss of your boss well.
this kind of approach is not good for modern, professional well laid out companies.
Work and good results should be given priority and not who you know.
Game of politics going on basically with bosses cutting across laid won channels maintaining open lines often in unhealthy manner
Read this https://economictimes.indiatimes.com...w/62861226.cms
If any of the board member pressurizes you to recruit or promote a person of his / her choice, ask the board member to send a formal mail. Tell the board member to not to indulge in oral informal communication. In such cases, the board member may back off; if he / she still insists you to given in to his / her pressure, send a formal mail stating the pressure put up by the board concerned member stating clearly that nothing will be accepted verbally. You may mark a copy to the MD too so that let him be aware of the pressures board member(s) are putting in.
Dear All:
There is almost universally the climate of open informal communication within organizations. The formal approach towards formal downwards or upwards communication is almost extinct. The advantageous of informal communication are beyond count.
There has also been a shift towards lean organizations, where communication is even more informal. This does not mean " I know the boss of your boss well " and informal communication DOES NOT breed disrespect, in the least. It only generates a more democratic and friendly culture within the organization, which calls for better relationships and enhanced performance.
A boss is still a boss - he doesn't have to blow his own trumpet - but informality in relationships develops a more cohesive and understanding workforce.
There is absolutely no harm - in fact, on occasions, it is better, if a 'boss' skips the so called 'formal channels' and meets with, and talks to, someone who is much junior and lower than him/her in the management hierarchy.
I am sure in good organizations, informal and open communication has come to stay.
Arif ur Rehman
Dear Arif sir,
I am in favour of informal communication.
It has its own merits.
But using informal communication in a positive manner beneficial to organisational calls for highest level of maturity.
Higher bosses need to keep this factor in mind.
Sometimes informality gets misused and affects those who may not be knowing the boss well enough.
Balanced approach is needed.
Here the underlying theme of the query by poster indicates a negative effect due to informal communications.
Dear Nathrao:
It is anything, not just 'informality' that can be misused / abused; it's not a question of 'knowing one's boss well' but rather the approach to communication which must show a sense of concern and respect.
Words make, words break! How you weigh them, frame them into the sentences that you utter, where tonality, speed, intonations all contribute to the message , your communication / conversation builds bridges.
I strongly believe this works beautifully in a democratic organizational culture.
Arif ur Rehman
after looking into yourproblem with given examples... A little smile came and i think that firm might be a govt..or semi govt.. Or corporation like rtc...or. Municipolity..
While regarding searching for solution..
I am very sorry to say a very much lenience was given by you or your predecessor ..
Generally hr behaviour is too much conducive might be because of corruption..or softness.
Again come to issue....the board member interfering in the areas of recruitment...bonus and promotion.. If that fellows violating the norms...what efforts you did in reporting to the employers and why did you warn them thecompany at risk...
As there w a s no reply from your board of directors wont awake....wait for one fi ne morning diwala of the company.
You cant do anything watch like a spectator...any company filled with un qualified will resulted to sick industry.
While the Board should have genuine rapport and interest in all employees, it is not a good thing to interfere in routine work or misuse the direct touch.
It is a lack of professionalism on part of these high officials who set the agenda and culture of the company.
HR should follow rules as laid down and not compromise too much by keeping things in writing and keep record of the events impacting any individual employee.
Avoid acting on any verbal orders which is not following formal channels.
Ideally Board should refrain from micromanagement and stick to its fundamental duties of higher level guidance of the fortunes of the company.
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