Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Employee's suicide due to alleged manager's harassment

With reference to the recent suicide of an employee of an MNC in Bangalore
due to alleged harassment by her managers I'd like to say that it's not
logical to blame the company for the entire episode. It has brought into
light perhaps the greatest taboo in corporate culture - that managers are
the most important reasons for dissatisfaction among employees. Enough
surveys have been done to corroborate the same, but still I don't find
companies taking serious note of it. Managers get along everytime because
people seldom speak the truth in exit interviews. Management of most
companies think that taking actions against managers might disrupt the
normal functioning of the company and give an undesirable impression of
being overtly 'soft' towards employees. Managing people is an art, a part
of the personality and a skill with which a person is born. It's something
like the sense of music of art, which can be nurtured or matured to a
great extent but never imbibed into someone. Even what the IIMs or any
other business schools do is just help people to manifest the skills and
traits they already have in them. Myself being a manager for the past many
years, I'd still say that unfortunately majority of the managers, mainly
in the hi-tech field, don't have the right set of managerial skills, nor
they get any help from HR, which itself is one of the most unskilled
departments of any company. You see people from IITs, MIT, Berkeley in R&D
and high class CAs in finance. HR, like finance or R&D, needs special
education and training. But very rarely you'd find HR managers, with the
right technical knowledge. It's like me, being an engineer, trying to be
in medical field. Even among the people with right set of skills - people
with MBA degrees - the top rankers never choose human resource. With bad
HR, it's really tough to have good people management.
As a solution (1) companies should try to get properly trained HR people,
preferably top-ranking MBAs (2) no one should be promoted to a manager's
position without proper mentorship (3) each attrition should be attributed
to the direct manager (4) there should be provision for 360 degree
feedback for managers (5) provision for anonymous feedback for managers
should be set up and (6) an atmosphere should be created where anyone has
the authority to vent out his/her dissatisfaction at work, even if it
involves the manager and finally (7) a person who doesn't have the proper
people management trait should never be made a manager.

No comments: