Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
Question: In our recruitment processes, it is clearly mentioned that a manager cannot be part of an interview process if he or she has a family connection with a candidate opting for a job. A newly joined manager was requested to supporting a large recruitment drive we had for our Southern region within the first month of his joining. In one of these drives, one candidate was selected from a panel of managers and she was incidentally this manager’s niece, though nobody knew. She got selected and joined last month. The HR team just got to know about the instance and when asked this employee for an explanation, he stated that he was not aware of this policy at all as this was not covered during his induction. What should we do? Should we leave the precedent that not knowing the policy is an excuse for not following a policy? Do you not think he should have mentioned the relationship with the candidate at least to the panel? Or are we to blame for failing to communicate our policies appropriately? How do we deal with this new employment?
Answer: This clearly is a case of miscommunication on your part as well as lack of sensitivity and maturity of the manager involved in the selection of his/ her niece.
This selection however should not come in your way of dealing with the new employee. Just ensure that this new employee is not associated/ part of the department of the hiring uncle/ aunt. Make sure objective assessment is done and the employee concerned is dealt with proper dignity. Fair play must prevail. It is not a mistake of the niece who got employed – assess her objectively and give her the right role.
Bring it to the new manager’s notice that even if the policy did not exist, a matured and responsible manager should have brought it to the notice of the management that he/she is involved in a situation of hiring a candidate who is closely related to him/her. This clearly is a conflict of interest. Unwritten codes of conduct and ethics demand such disclosure. Tell this new manager to be a role model rather than take shelter of the policies and processes, such tendencies are clearly indicative of the future potential problems. A good verbal warning, coupled with some coaching/ counselling is certainly necessary.
One solitary incident does not create precedence. Just deal with this situation in an objective and fair manner.
You can post your questions to Vivek by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org