Who is at fault in the HDFC abusive video – individual or organisation?

The recent HDFC video incident serves as a reminder that negative and unprofessional behaviour can exist beneath the surface, and it is important to address it proactively. Leaders should lead by example, setting clear guidelines and policies that emphasise respectful behaviour


Yelling, shouting, and verbal abuse are unfortunately prevalent in various workplaces, as highlighted by the recent ‘HDFC video’ incident. In the said video, Pushpal Roy, senior vice president, RBB, HDFC Bank, is seen shouting at his team members during a sales meeting call. 

It raises the question of whether this behaviour has always existed but remained hidden or if it’s only now gaining attention due to viral videos. It is indeed a regrettable reality that some individuals resort to negative and unprofessional actions in professional settings.

In certain high-pressure industries or environments where aggressive or competitive behaviour is encouraged, there is a higher likelihood of witnessing such conduct. Sales-driven organisations, for instance, often emphasise meeting targets and achieving results, which can create an atmosphere that fosters aggressive behaviour as a means of motivating or pushing employees.

Talking about the HDFC incident, Bhuvaneswar Naik, CHRO, Lentra, says that regardless of whether the video gains widespread attention or not, it is crucial for companies to take immediate responsibility and thoroughly investigate the incident.

The video reveals disrespectful behaviour that contradicts the company’s core values. It is essential that swift and uncompromising measures be taken to address the situation. “Companies must not waver in upholding their values, particularly when it comes to promoting respect and ensuring that employees treat one another with dignity and professionalism. If the video depicts behaviour that runs counter to these values, it is imperative that the organisation respond decisively,” says Naik.

“Engaging in disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour not only reflects poorly on the individual but also tarnishes the reputation and credibility of the organisation as a whole.”

Bhuvaneswar Naik, CHRO, Lentra

Naik opines that employees act as representatives of the organisation’s culture and values. It is their responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that aligns with the company’s principles. He says, “Engaging in disrespectful or inappropriate behaviour not only reflects poorly on the individual but also tarnishes the reputation and credibility of the organisation as a whole.”

Possible reasons behind these outbursts

According to Sunil Singh, senior HR leader and founder, Mindstream Consulting, the blame for the ruckus captured in the video can be attributed to multiple factors and individuals. He says, “If the video had not gone viral, the incident might have remained unnoticed or swept under the rug, allowing such behaviour to persist unchecked. It is possible that similar incidents have occurred in the past without being addressed appropriately.”

It is important to recognise that power dynamics within the employer-employee relationship play a significant role in how such situations unfold. Employees often find themselves in a vulnerable position, feeling compelled to comply with the behaviour of those in positions of authority to protect their careers or livelihoods. This power imbalance can hinder the reporting of misconduct or create an environment where individuals believe they must tolerate mistreatment.

Singh suggests that, for such issues, it is crucial for organisations to foster a culture of respect and accountability. “This requires top management and leaders to take the initiative in setting the tone and actively engaging in initiatives that promote a healthy work environment. Merely engaging in superficial engagement activities is not enough; there must be genuine efforts to create a culture where employees feel safe and empowered to speak up,” adds Singh.

In sales-driven organisations, for example, there may be a focus on meeting targets at any cost, which can lead to undue pressure on employees and an environment where abusive behaviour is tolerated. This must be challenged, and mechanisms should be in place to protect employees from burnout and ensure their well-being.

“If the video had not gone viral, the incident might have remained unnoticed or swept under the rug, allowing such behaviour to persist unchecked. It is possible that similar incidents have occurred in the past without being addressed appropriately.”

Sunil Singh, senior HR leader and founder, Mindstream Consulting

Singh further adds that, in the aftermath of the video going viral, it is not sufficient for the organisation to simply distance itself from the incident. “It is necessary to introspect, understand why such incidents occur, and take comprehensive measures to prevent their recurrence,” says Singh.

Singh notes that while the video may appear to be disturbing, however, it is actually a polite version of  what usually happens in the sales meeting of many other organisations.

When discussing responsibilities, it is essential to acknowledge that they may not be limited to a single individual or position within the organisation. Managers, leaders, and top management should assume responsibility for the behaviour displayed by their subordinates and take immediate action to rectify any misconduct.

In many corporate settings, there is an unfortunate prevalence of disrespectful conduct, which some individuals have become accustomed to over time. This may lead to a culture where inappropriate behaviour, such as verbal abuse or harassment  is normalised and goes unreported. The notion of ‘playing hard’ or engaging in unprofessional conduct may be prevalent, particularly in certain industries like sales, where high-pressure environments are common.

It is important to recognise that companies have an obligation to implement appropriate mechanisms to address any wrongdoing or misconduct that may arise within their ranks. These mechanisms should provide a platform for investigating incidents, implementing remedial measures, and holding individuals accountable for their actions. Even in cases where an employee may be underperforming or facing performance issues, resorting to yelling or unprofessional behaviour is never justified. Instead, there are more effective and respectful methods for dealing with such situations.

What can an organisation do?

Leadership plays a vital role in shaping the organisational culture. Managers and executives must lead by example and demonstrate respectful behaviour in all interactions. They should be mindful of the language they use, avoid abusive or demeaning comments, and treat employees with fairness and empathy.

Kamlesh Dangi, group head, human resources, InCred, suggests that, first and foremost, organisations should establish clear guidelines and policies that explicitly define acceptable behaviour in the workplace. These guidelines should emphasise respectful communication, collaboration, and the importance of treating colleagues with dignity. By setting these expectations from the outset, companies can promote a culture of professionalism and mutual respect.

“Once such behaviour is brought to their attention, organisations must investigate promptly and take appropriate action. This can involve disciplinary measures, providing counselling or training to the individuals involved, or implementing corrective measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents”

Kamlesh Dangi, group head, human resources, InCred

Dangi expresses his opinions and says it is essential for HR departments and leaders to be attentive to any signs of inappropriate behaviour.

“Creating an open and trusting environment where employees feel comfortable reporting incidents is crucial. Once such behaviour is brought to their attention, organisations must investigate promptly and take appropriate action. This can involve disciplinary measures, providing counselling or training to the individuals involved, or implementing corrective measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents,” opines Dangi.

Additionally, organisations should prioritise employee well-being by promoting regular communication channels for feedback and grievances. Encouraging open dialogue and providing avenues for employees to express concerns or seek support can help prevent the escalation of inappropriate behaviour.

It’s important for companies to establish a zero-tolerance approach towards bullying and abusive behaviour and hold individuals accountable for their actions. By doing so, organisations can create a healthier and more inclusive work environment that promotes employee well-being and productivity.


  1. This kind of behaviour is there across organisation. It might be a Bank, IT, Hospitals or any other organisation. I felt glad to see that someone has brought this to light. There are many mentally sick people as managers in organisations. Subordinates fear to report or raise voice. HR should monitor these things carefully.

    Said and done, sick people will continue to exist at all levels at every organisation which makes working place miserable. The leaders, HR and concerned higher ups need to look into it to make the work place a better place, a happy place.

  2. It reflects character of the organization. Not that VP has done this but character says every superior hierarchy does the same with downgraded employees. It happens in this private banking industry.

  3. It’s not between Employer and Employee but also with Bank officials and customer. I have experienced it many times despite being a premier senior citizen customer. Very true that they are much more of Sale Driven organisations focussing on Investment and buisness less on customers need and comfort.

  4. The toxic abuse happens in all sales organization. Since this video has gone viral, the company is trying to salvage by suspending the SVP. Tough luck for him. Just check the background of the TOP execs in HDFC Bank and you will be surprised most of them will be from sales background and not Banking. Not many know that even the Cashier’s have sales targets in pvt banks.

    Huge targets are set for selling MFs and Insurance than focussing on Banking operations or services.

  5. Yes I agree with these gentlemen.Appropriate measures should be taken to avoid these incidents.My daughter was also a Personal Banker at one of the HDFC branch n was going through the same incident as shown in the video.She used to go to work every morning fearing the shouting n scolding she would get if targets were not achieved which is not easy everyday .She had almost reached depression point so she hesitantly resigned even after being a capable person for her job.

  6. Not very uncommon, Talk to people from sales business unit of any company and you will be shocked and conclude this HDFC incident is nothing in front of what people face.
    Such things happen because of pressure from top, Individuals can only amplify or just quieten their response to these pressures.
    Such pressures are the mother of most of the unethical practices in sales.

  7. It’s the story of every organization. And it’s just one side of the story what about the boss who is pressurized by his bosses to take such punitive action .This is ridiculous on banks part to take action against this one employee when this type of toxic culture is promoted by bank itself by assigning such targets.Ithink first action against MD and CEO must be taken.And this is the story of every other organisation.

  8. Perhaps very few realising the words and behaviour this VP faces in the meetings from his seniors. If corporate houses of agressive companies act like this is a new phenomenon, and one off event then it is pure hypocrisy. This, is the actual picture, and not even the worst, by any stretch of imagination. Companies strive in this type of abusive and insecure conduct. HR is a farce in many multi national entities. So, it is a persisting beast, which has grown a devil last 20 years or so

  9. It’s organisation fault.They have developed this kind of culture in last many years.I am sure cluster manager has also gone through such meetings when he was RM.I know many people they had gone through such meetings when they was with HDFC.

  10. It’s organisation fault.They have developed this kind of culture in last many years.I am sure cluster manager has also gone through such meetings when he was RM.I know many people they had gone through such meetings when they was with HDFC.Hownconfudent he is HR can issue memo based on his wish.HR is just a puppet???

  11. This was going on even in Bangalore katriguppa branch a few years ago and still the bank still dint take action ever reporting them and snu bed the matter bcoz it’s not a single individual which is involved but a nexus of the top line of management

  12. This is far better language .. some seniors in banks are worst abusers with all sorts of slang words . The only reason they don’t complaint or speak out is threat for transfer in remote location and poor grade in appraisal .

  13. This video is a testimony of the organisation’s culture and the accepted norms of managing people else the personnel will not have thw courage to showcase this behavior in a group setting….Today thw organisation has sacked the caught culprit but I would say the senior leadership and HR leadership is equally responsible for creating such environment….It was clearly evident from the body language of the subordinates that this behavior is regular and there is no reprieve for them…

  14. Some thoughts to share:
    Organisation should set achievable targets.
    Seniors should be trained & be human with professionalism. Communicate effectively & efficiently so everyone in the team understand in the same sense the objective set.Monitor progress daily to track the delays & problems.
    Juniors should be trained to work as a team, targets achieving & proper time mgtm.Make them realise their accountability.

  15. HDFC bank manager is the real culprit.
    They have looted hard earned money by miss selling insurance to gullible account holders.
    IRDA is toothless & incompetent.

  16. Many people here are tacitly supporting the SVP citing similar experience in other Indian organisations. In that case, we need to raise our voice and change the ecosystem. Just because we have too many people in the labour force and opportunities are less doesn’t mean we humiliate someone in the pretext of taking their jobs and reporting them to HR. Btw, what’s HR job here? to toe the line of the manager? are they just a showpiece in the organisation? HDFC and similar organisations need to evaluate the role of HR and toxic environment prevailing in their organisation. Moreover, the leader here failed to demonstrate leadership qualities. I am certain the same message (as I know Bengali) could have been conveyed in much dignified language.

  17. It’s not only limited to banking industry but is far more prevalent in insurance industry. Earlier it was only life insurance but now the pressure has percolated to health insurance too. We are one of the victims and have seen how people at power positions seem to abuse their power & position. They don’t lead, they torture. They are still living under the slavery culture of colonial era. Sad nothing is doen neither by companies nor by government to stop such harrassment. Infact companies seem to promote such behavior to build pressure and create a so-called filter to chuck out people without bearing any responsibility

  18. Its the organisation who should be blamed. Individual though fallen in lone with the organisation haunting ppl to achieve the target by hook or by crook. Management must take the onus.

  19. Excellent Analysis on human dynamics and corporate culture fiasco. Almost in all companies this type of episode is happening every day unnoticed and HR can do nothing.

  20. Some idiots who got the higher position, their inability as a leader & promoted undeserving post that shows such act.

  21. I too faced almost same kind of behavior with my super manager too in ICICI. HR also least concerned to this.

  22. Stop this atrocities against employees in any organisation in the name of targets, KPI & Metrics. Stop creating pressure & create environment where will be happy to work instead of pressurized & burden. Value employees first.

  23. Problem of pedigree which today,s HR don,t care but only look for age, degree to fit in the slots.
    This ugly man resembles some tv anchors shouting on given false agenda!

  24. It is no surprise infact HDFC IT is called as toxic IT hub in the market i straight rejected any HDFC interview . Worst place to work

  25. I think the dependency on processes etc are only hiding from the real culprit … the culture of an organisation lies entirely on the attitude and priorities displayed by leadership at the highest level. These behaviours are a direct reflection of that and the challenge of “who will bell the cat” tricking down to management at all levels below that. Even in this case the ownership needs to be undertaken at the highest level and an introspection needs to be done on what about them as individuals and their behaviour has allowed this to trickle down. If that honest soul searching isn’t undertaken, the rest will be brushed aside by forming committees submitting reports and organisational change management tamashas and this behaviour will persist until another such video leaks out. In the age of vitality of this nature, leadership stands exposed and they better not behave as “the emperor who walked with no clothes”!

  26. The holier than thou attitude of the professionals quoted in the article is baffling.At least one of them was Head HR in a company in Ahmedabad wherein the Promoter MD used abuses and called physical meetings after 11pm!

  27. I worked with hdfc , kotak, American express and yes Bank . Every were same problem. So i quit the job in banking industry. They shought and they will give dhamki and they also told you to resign an go.

  28. This is purely because of organisation pressure. Sugar cane juice seller at least leave some drops for Ants. Whereas the companies are sucking till last drop of blood from employees.

  29. Aghast that one of the persons quoted was the HR Head in a company in Ahmedabad where the Promoter Director was abusive regularly in meetings called even at 11pm!
    The turnover of employees at CXO and senior middle management has been legion..HR unfortunately in these and other cases becomes handmaiden to Promoters!

  30. Nice to note the fishy shouting, it’s gives the sense of business doing by HDFC to lead the race, any chance they declare it is the Best to work.
    Nice culture .It’s a good case study to IIMs .

  31. Some day some employee will wack this evil shouting barking manager black and blue the day it’s resistances levels over flow. Spill over in toxic environment is natural and could ruin the organization

  32. This does not stop here. It runs from top to bottom of the organization & further passed on to customers. I have faced harassment of HDFC bank collection executive. They do not consider ur problem, they want their money at all cost, weather you lie or die.

  33. The language he used was much more civilized than some I have seen. Here both the individual manager and organisation is responsible for what happened. This is an accepted way of working. Target ” nahi hua to boss pel***a, ” listen from one side and ignore overall business hua to sab manage hoga.
    This how it works. Sad but true fact. Here in India there are too many in line for your job/ position if you can not take it then leave as there is some one ready to work in your place for less. Secondly there is no control over So called Corporate organizations for such behaviours, nor is the employee taught his rights nor is he aware how to address it, plus so called cultural aspects where boss is always right.
    There is so may reason behind this. Every one his/her views for it happening from the angle which he/ she has faced, be it target culture, be it Babu culture, be it corporate culture, social economic reasons or financial reasons.
    Not till we as individuals start voicing against these issues while being passionate and dedicated about ones work, this shall keep happening in some for or the other.

  34. It’s more to do with the PMS of the organization…. as per the conditioning theories of OB, the consequences drive behaviors – in an organization’s parlance, what is being measured and appreciated is what people behave like – try to achieve.

  35. This is going on in a corporate world for ages… It’s due to modern communication tool this has come to limelight… I my self is a victim of favorisom, politics & back stabbing… All things are existing in the corporate world… Hr will be a mute spectator due to attrition… This too will fade away…

  36. Very unprofessional behavior .HDFC is very famous for huge pressure in sales and Using abusive language .

    Please share this video for maximum viewing.

  37. This is a common scenario in all private sector banks. Many employees face such humiliation especially those who actually work and don’t believe in ass licking or buttering senior officials. Sycophants easily escape such situations.

  38. I was in leadership positions across a few MNCs for over 3 decades. This kind of unfortunate behavior of extracting performance by creating fear of humiliation is widespread and encouraged/rewarded by organizations even if subtly. When i have taken it up in the past, it was spoken of as a form of transparency where it is better that a boss is “openly critical” !! It may not include abusive words, but yelling has no place in any interaction between 2 adults. Criticism of non performance or informing one of the consequences of displaying a sloppy attitude is necessary- but in a normal tone. I have also seen many superiors who maintain that decorum strictly but the way it is going, this species will be extinct soon as they are branded as soft. In today’s corporate culture standing up and making scathing criticism is seen as a tool for better visibility and progress.

  39. Many private banks follow most unethical practices including inhuman treatment by top brass. This is known to top management and RBI as well. But no action is taken for the reasons better known to them.
    Moreover this should be eye opener for those so called self proclaimed intellectuals with a B school degree who come on TV Channels talking high of private sector and blaming public sector for non performance.

  40. Plz add a comment which has some new content/opinion/view. After reading first 10 comments, I found all next comments are just repeat of the first 10. Dont waste your time and others time. Read the previous comments and add if if you have something genuinely new to say.

  41. This toxic culture is there for a very long time, Banks pushing the employees for commissions from Life insurance policies, they emotionally blackmail the employees to meet very high targets by giving the carrot of promotion etc. If customers are not buying the products bank managers force employees to take policies, they force their parents to take the policy. This is unethical and unprofessional. Must stop.

  42. I think this kind of scenario is there in almost every private sector bank. One tends to lose individual capacity, capability and creativity thereby reducing the motivation to come to work the next day. This really destroys once efficiency and productivity visa – vis, an increased efficiency, productivity, sense of belonging, in a transparent, cohesive and healthy work environment. Lengthy, abrupt, any time video con calls on the Microsoft Teams/Zoom/Google Meet etc have added fuel to this toxicity.

    Read more at: https://www.hrkatha.com/features/who-is-to-blame-for-this-hdfc-video-ruckus/

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