Vivek Paranjpe, Consultant & Strategic HR Advisor to Reliance Industries answers professional and ethical dilemmas faced by our readers at their workplace.
Question: Dear Sir, I am a HR Head of a family-owned company. This company follows a strange practice of selecting those people who belong to the same religious group as the owner, whether or not they are good for the post we are hiring. This has resulted in creating a strange organization where we have a mix of very good professionals and very poor ones. This has led to the better people leaving the firm. I feel frustrated, and feel like quitting as well, although I have been here only for 7 months. What should I do?
Answer: To have an inherent bias in selecting people is not unnatural and the same is true when people tend to hire from one’s own community or religion. As HR professionals we have to accept that such human tendencies will exist. The fact that some part of the organization has some very talented professionals shows that the entrepreneur and the family do value meritocracy, where it is absolutely necessary.
As the HR Head of the company, you must help your CEO to understand the importance of meritocracy and diversity, coupled with the need to create an inclusive work environment. If you believe that the religious biases are coming in the way of organization’s effectiveness and disrupting the work environment, try to present the case to your CEO in an objective fashion - substantiate your feelings with data. Culture will take time to change; but a business case, presented with the right facts and figures, will expedite the process of change. Have patience and work towards it.
Further, changing jobs may be the easy way out for you, but you must remember that every organization has its own challenges, issues as well as opportunities. Try to make a positive difference! Do not look for the easy way out.
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