Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

Integrity, whither art thou?

Appraisal and ranking time in an IT MNC is one hell of a time. The process requires us to make a lot of decisions; some of them hard.

I have been guilty in my life, of being unethical as well as making wrong decisions. But all of them have affected me, not others. There was one incident which happened a few minutes ago today which made me wonder if there is a shred of ethics left where I work.

In our company, we do appraisal – which is an absolute procedure. As in, it tells, rather, supposed to tell a person how well they have done – what went right and what went wrong, where they need to improve, etc. The manager or lead rates the person on a scale of 5 on technical as well as behavioural competencies. Then, we have a relative ranking procedure, which compares peers. Peers are comprised of people who do similar work and are divided into groups based on a number of factors. Then, they are compared by a manager who leads the group. Every lead is supposed to put forth their argument for his/ her team mates.

Now this is a fantastic process – if done in the right spirit. Needless to say, many put the spirit behind them when they go into this process. It becomes a closed room process, cleverly disguised as open and transparent.

My manager channels the spirit of Percy Weasley. For those who can’t admire this comparison, he is a person who loves rules. He sticks by them, come hell or high water. He is a robot; who does as he is told and one who loves his superiors to the extent that he won’t question the policies, practices and dictums that they lay down. Instead, he would think upon himself as a custodian of these regulations and guard them with all his might. When he thinks he has done well, he helps himself to a rare smile.

I had recommended the highest rating for one of my team mates, not because he is my team mate, but only because I think he deserved that rating. I had enough material to prove he did and stated all the points during the discussions. Naturally, the higher ups had already decided who to give the ranking to. I couldn’t do anything about that.

This was over a week ago. Suddenly, out of the blue, Percy pinged me and asked me to reduce the rating and resubmit the appraisal for my team mate. When I questioned him why I must do it, he only said – “because of some HR Consolidation process.” I argued, fiercely, that it was wrong, unethical and told him flatly that I won’t do it. I questioned him why he wanted me to the dirty work. He bluntly told me to speak to his manager. That guy was smarter. He said he will get back to me.

I knew what they would tell me when they got back. They would say submit it as is. After which, HR would change the appraiser to Percy and send it to him. He would then do the rest.

Believe it or not, when Percy got back to me, he said exactly that.  

Either people must be rewarded for their individual performance or the comparison process must be fair. Where is the need to mix this with HR policies? The entire process becomes bungled. I am sure that many people would have known this before me; doubly sure that the entire organization is going to know soon. It is just a matter of time.

And when they do, what kind of face will the organization have? How is it going to help them improve performances or even profits? How is going to prepare them for the future?

These are times when I pity the fact that we do not have an employee’s union.

I am glad that when it came to choosing between what is right and what is easy, I chose what is right. I am also proud of myself that I stood upto my Percy and his manager. Nevertheless, this has taken away even the last shred of respect I had for this company, its HRD, its managers and its policies.

It has also made me wonder if there is any tatter of things like conscience, integrity or principle left! Whither art they?

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This entry was posted on December 22, 2011 by in Thoughts and tagged , , , , , .

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