“I am working in a manufacturing industry as a Sr. HR Officer. I have recently come across a critical controversial issue where I require your suggestions. Its been very weird to discuss on such a topic but yes I would like to handle in a safe way. There has been a lot of heated discussion in our company about my operational boss and a lady from another department who is directly reporting to him. They are married(not with each other) and parents to one kid. This issue has been spread all around and talks are happening regarding their relationships.
I strongly feel that it is none of our business to interfere in their personal lives after office hours and suggesting them to behave in a professional ethical manner. Do you think its right to talk with them on this regard? I dont think I can talk to the boss, but I can talk to the lady. Will it be suggestable to do so? And how do I consult her regarding this. I have come across such situation for the first time and should not mess up with such a sensitive matter.
Behavioural complications cannot be ignored at work place. Its human to get into situations without realising how wrong can it get. Dealing such sensitive incidents needs utmost care.
To begin with, do not act till you have data on these rumours. No matter how close the heresy is, acting on it will land you in trouble.
At your situation, Since one of the party is senior to you, you may not have the authority to deal with it. Research on how such cases were solved so far and who solved them. Be aware of the power plays. Hence, take your time to find the trustworthy Senior HR or even Head of HR, who might agree to resolve this. Preferably, chose someone above the level of the Operational Head. Do not begin any discussion, till you are good to talk to both of them. Talking to the lady, just because she works few levels lower to your, would create mistrust. Prepare closely with the HR head, on every levels of non-adherence and its implications.
Acknowledge the personal choice to be and the dangers of creating frictions at the work place due to it. Prepare for a detailed talk on how this is affecting the workplace both in terms of culture and productivity.
Balance the responsibility held by both of them jointly. Put them in a non-reporting relationship. Stay focussed on reducing official obligations, to each other, for both of them. Such as, she should no longer be taking escalations to him. Let it be routed to other managers. He should no longer be managing her Performance Appraisals. You have to remain just to everyone. No matter how much he may assure, any ranking given by him would come under fire. Remember any manager or employee can challenge it!
Understand that you talking to them would open a tin of worms. They would lie as much as they can. Do not loose your cool. Identify the points that you want to address. Stay close on mentioning the non-adherences.
Close the meeting with both the parties signing the agenda and agreeing to the points discussed. Monitor both of them for a fixed time period.
Remain prepared to handle every grapevine, fuelled due to this. Nip the bud to every gossip with your focus on productivity and rankings. Take this as your option to build your culture stronger.
Wish you all the best !
As discussed on : Office romance