All organisations have strict laws and policies regulating the behaviour of employees within the workplace. These help control how employees conduct themselves and treat their co-workers and subordinates. Should companies only worry about how employees carry themselves within the confines of the office premises? Employees will want to project a positive image of themselves, while they are working in the office. But what happens when they are outside the office?
Each employee working in an organisation is a representative of the organisation outside the workplace. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the employees to maintain their dignity and the reputation of the organisation even outside the office. Commenting on the fact Prem Singh, president- global HR head, Wockhardt says, “ Like individuals are identified by their family’s name in the society, officials are identified by their company’s name. Any misconduct by an employee will put implications on the organisation’s name. “ Misbehaviour, anti-social activity or inappropriate conduct of any employee will tarnish the image of the company she or he is associated with.
How should companies tackle such situations? First of all, it is important to make sure that employees do not give any reason for their organisation to face such a predicament. As suggested by our expert, Chandrasekhar Mukherjee, group chief people officer, Srei Infrastructure Finance, “While hiring talent, the company should check the attitude of the person from the way he is answering to the way he is posing queries. It is possible to understand the attitude of the person through the kind of sports the person has played and his participation in extra-curricular activities. Mukherjee shares, “During the recruitment process, we look at two things— whether the person is well equipped with the knowledge to take up the role and whether he is well groomed by his family and school. He should be a person who can deal with the clients and his co-workers and can conduct himself anywhere outside or inside the workplace.”
Apart from the hiring process, what measures should the company take to groom their employees and create well-bred future leaders? Appraisals can be very effective in helping organisations groom their employees. Mostly organisations appraise their employees based on what the person has achieved. Nobody pays attention to how that person has achieved the milestone. Organisations need to focus on the ‘how’ factor and appreciate the employees for their positive approach toward the achieved objective. “In an ongoing process the mode of appraisal matters a lot. We need to focus on the ‘how’ part of the employees while grooming them, “ Mukherjee opines. Putting a person in a difficult position by assigning a tedious task can also help to test that person’s mental level and the attitude with which she or he handles stress.
“During the recruitment process, we look at two things— whether the person is well equipped with the knowledge to take up the role and whether he is well groomed by his family and school. He should be a person who can deal with the clients and his co-workers and can conduct himself anywhere outside or inside the workplace.”
When a case of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour comes to notice, the company should take immediate action. A detailed investigation of the matter should take place to clear all facts regarding the incident. After the investigation, based on the severity of the act, punishment or action should be taken against the employee. “It can range from simply giving a warning or taking the employee through various training programmes to terminating the employee altogether,” Mukherjee suggests.
The big question is what will happen when a senior-level employee is involved in the matter? Organisations tend to suppress the case to save their image from being destroyed.
Our experts say that on the higher rungs of the organisational hierarchy, the matter should be taken more seriously. A zero-tolerance policy should be adopted if a senior executive is involved in the matter. “Based on the gravity of the act the quantum of punishment should be decided and you have to be completely performance neutral and gender neutral while handling such cases, “ Singh opines.
Mukherjee also adds, “ In all these cases it is very important to be fair and treat everyone across all levels of the organisation equally because that is how we can solve these problems and prevent them from recurring in the future. “
“Based on the gravity of the act the quantum of punishment should be decided and you have to be completely performance neutral and gender neutral while handling such cases “
With the power of the social media, such incidents and associated information flow very quickly amongst the people, and can really jeopardise the reputation of the organisation.