A scapegoat is defined as someone who is punished for the mistakes of others.
I thought of writing this, as one of the cases being discussed in the forum was about Operations people blaming HR department for some failures.
Amusing isn’t it? but still we have all faced it at some point of time in our organizations. We as HR professionals are punished or blamed for what some other department or may be the owner is doing.
Sometimes, people even forget that HR people are also employees and do not take all the decisions on their own, they also have a reporting structure and a decision making authority is above them, still the blame for anything goes to “yours truly” the HR department.
Be it delay in opening bank accounts, salary transfer delays, low ratings during appraisals, bad hire, policy implementation, less or more training, low hikes, less salary…and what not. You name it and our fraternity has taken the blame.
The case which is being discussed talks about whether the HR department can be made accountable for the failure of the operations team, what do you think?
If it is a case of Bad hire, then obviously single handedly one cannot blame the HR department as operations people must or should have taken part in the recruitment process.
If it is the case of Non performance, then what were the senior officials doing? Sleeping when the performance was going below par? What were they up to? What about the internal checks, KRAs and performance reviews? Do you really think only HR department needs to control all these things. The answer is- no.
Then why are we being treated like that, because when you are dealing with 100 different cultures, 100 different backgrounds, 100 different personalities and yes with different attitude these things are bound to happen.
Yes, this is the only department that takes the responsibility when they are not able to solve the problem of any employee, or to be honest we get the blame as we do not communicate properly or in abundance.
- It is our failure actually to not communicate properly, if it is about delay in opening of bank accounts, tell the employees clearly that you are just a mediator between a bank and the employee, the delays can come from the side of the Bank if the documentation or paper work is not complete.
- If it is about not giving enough hike in the salary, please communicate informally that HR department also works with budgets, there is a specific budget within which we have to finalize the salary hikes. So, how can we be held responsible for something like this?
- Open communication channel always work where you are dealing with such diverse backgrounds, and yes, do not take unnecessary responsibility of dealing with everything on your own, involve people from other departments especially during recruitment.
- Have SOPs, policies and procedures for everything, no matter how small the thing looks like make sure it is documented and clearly communicated.
- Create a culture where there is no blame game, people take responsibility of their own actions and make sure they are accountable for certain things related to their work areas. Companies with such cultures of strong leadership do not come across such scapegoat kind of problems.
- Process orientation is very important, for completely avoiding the passing of the ball in the organization. Process integration is one such solution where you have well defined process, where operations process ends, where Accounts department process starts everything should be clearly declared and decided. This reminds me of an example in one of the Textile Companies I worked for, if anything went wrong the scapegoat was the Administration department, if logistics department failed to transfer some goods from one place to another; it was Admin Dept.’s fault as they did not provide the driver on time. Bingo!! Does it solve the problem? No my dear it does not.
So just stop being a scapegoat, grow up and let the company grow with you. When the ball is in your court make sure you utilize it completely for the sole purpose of your and your company’s growth.
Dear friends and members of HR fraternity…do share your problems and solutions so that we all can grow together.