Choosing between wrong things can be quite challenging, especially when the options aren’t many.
I came across an HR head of a large organisation. He needed to take every decision in concurrence with all the stakeholders, for greater ownership and sustainability. The challenge was not that he had to convince these stakeholders, but to settle for something that he does not believe in. So which side of being human was he compromising upon: personal or professional? May be both, which is even more dangerous, because he is the custodian of those employees who have trust in HR systems and processes.
It is easy to choose between right things, because the choice is clear — everyone wants the best. The challenge arises when one has to choose from amongst wrong things, especially when the options are limited. In the real world, one doesn’t have the time to evaluate and assess the situation. One has to decide, and do it fast. How does one do it? Being human, one is bound by personal values, which are non-negotiable. The professional side of being human says that the show must go on. So, at what price does one bargain on either side?
To find systemic solutions, one has to strike a balance between long-term and short-term patience. If there is distortion in the symmetry of these motives, it loses the sustainability factor. Living in this digital age, one does not really have the time to wait for things to develop in their own course. In the age of film photography, the development and processing of an image from the negative to a glossy white paper was time consuming. What a wait it was to see the Himalayan trip again..!! But in today’s age of the digital camera, as an organisation, everything has to be swift—quick skill transfer, real fast sales numbers, speedy solutions—even if one has to compromise on either side of the values of being human.
In any business situation, if anything goes wrong, the HR is expected to find a solution, whether it is to hire, fire, engage, move, convince or negotiate. In short, HR needs to understand and overcome each and very hurdle that arises in business. Fair expectation, one would say. However, this expectation exists vice-versa too. Probably, that is where the struggle is— what is right and what is wrong. In the business context, it is the difference between gain and loss. It is time to get away with these parameters and redefine the metrics.
The metrics should have a symmetry in both sides of the being human values, because every human has a work mask. A complete professional is the one who strikes a balance between his self-image and the work mask, with ‘symmetry’. Extremes on either side could be dangerous, not just for the concerned individual, but for the stakeholders, that is, not just the employees but the society in general.
(The author is part of the HR team at Idea Cellular.)