Pain of a Considerate Employer

This is a story of how inconsiderate and unprofessional employees wreck the goodwill that well-meaning Entrepreneurs want to build through their culture.

Having worked at an MNC for 2 years with a financial bond, we were clear that at our company Gyrix, we don’t want to keep a bond. Despite the overwhelming suggestions from senior entrepreneurs having experience of the work culture and mindset of the work force in Indore, we were very sure that Gyrix will never bind an unwilling team member just for the sake of it. It’s better to let the person go rather than staying without adding value to the company and himself.

The objective was to build a free and open culture with minimum obligation from the team members. Hence we have kept the employment conditions simple: Minimum employment expectation of 1 year. If the candidate leaves before 1 year, we won’t (and cannot) stop him, but would not be giving Salary Slips, Experience letter and will not entertain reference calls. Fair enough, right ?

We had selected a fresher, let’s call him Mr. Prabhas (name changed), through our normal recruitment process and gave an offer in Oct 2015. He accepted the offer. Being a company with limited resources we did not perform background checks, reference calls and went ahead on good faith basis.

Prabhas showed promise with his technical skills. Internally we chalked out a grooming plan for him and assigned challenging projects. He delivered on many of our expectations. He lacked in following instructions and processes — we provided feedback and suggestions on how to overcome them.

As things progressed, we had to assign him to a really difficult project but on a supposedly “inferior” technology — PHP. He was unwilling to switch technology despite the functional and managerial exposure he would get on the project. We suggested if he does justice to this project, we will consider his technology switch request soon.

Then the pain started !

Prabhas started working on the project with no application of thought and heart. He was taking longer to work on very simple tasks and it was baffling that a good performer suddenly had so many issues in delivery.

We still persisted with him on the project, gave him the required guidance and occasional reprimanding wherever necessary.

We were struggling to match the delivery expectations and on 21 June Prabhas informed that he was selected in a company, wants to leave before completing 1 year and will not be able to complete one-month’s notice period. He wanted release on 10th July. We were fine with him leaving but needed to decide on the release date. We informed that he will get a confirmation on the resignation on 22nd June.

Internally, we identified a resource for the project and decided to release Prabhas earlier i.e. by 30th June and he should purchase the remaining notice period of 20 days. The Knowledge Transfer will be managed in 8 days.

Then things started to go from bad to worse.

In the meeting on 22nd June, we informed him about our decision. He asked what will be the implications if he does not come from the next day, 23rd June. We were shocked !

We said as a professional courtesy, you need to give bare minimum time to the company to manage project continuity. It reflects on his professional etiquettes for asking to serve 20 days of notice period on one day and on the very next day decide to leave within 2 days. We tried to enquire the reasons for such sudden changes and below were the factors:

  • The package in the new company was much higher. Joining that company early means getting an extra week of salary with higher package
  • Supposedly, the company had promised to give him the experience letter of 10 extra months, for the period when he worked with Gyrix
  • Supposedly, the company has also promised to purchase the notice period

To be clear, we are completely fine with the tactics of the company. These are common practices and there are no objections to it.

What was revealing to us was the blatant misuse of our open policies by Prabhas. A professional with good ethics and courtesy would have negotiated on the notice period and agreed to a compromise.

Furthermore, it was Prabhas’ arrogance that struck us. He enquired about the possible actions that Gyrix will take in case he discontinues from 23rd June. We listed salary, legal and public declarations of his actions as possible options. Then it started getting interesting!

He informed that he has already broken a bond with the second biggest Indian IT company and no action was taken against him. So what will Gyrix, a 20+ strength company, do.

Before joining Gyrix, he had an offer from another MNC but did not join it also because they had a bond. He joined Gyrix because we have no bond and he is joining the next company also because they have no bond.

Then it started dawning upon us — the problem is much bigger than the symptoms we were seeing.

We were experiencing the pain behind the suggestions given by senior entrepreneurs. If they are reading this, they will have a smug grin on their faces saying “I told you so !”

However, introducing bond to captivate the team member still does not appeal to our vision. It will be like beating the stick after the snake has crawled away.

So what are the options in front of us?

  • Pursue him legally and set an example for the current and future team members of not being so arrogant about the opportunities they have
  • Hold off the salary — materialistic step but significant to a person who is chasing money while compromising on Ethics
  • Public declaration of his actions that might impact his future employment

We have decided to do all the above and more in this particular case.

To be sure, Prabhas is not the only person in history to do this and will certainly not be the last. His actions may not be the worst case scenario to happen between an employer and employee. So why are we pursuing this so much ?

The answer lies in our vision of creating an open and fair company which treats the team members with respect, but also expects and deserves the same level of respect from them.

Prabhas is not willing to respect his obligations towards the company and we are not the ones to take punches lying down. We are going to retaliate and retaliate hard !

Sharing the story here so that Entrepreneurs can safeguard themselves from our experience. Kindly share if you have similar stories.

Postscript: After another team member started working on Prabhas’s project, we found out all the intentional issues created by Prabhas while working on it. Thankfully due to the processes set at our company, we have avoided any impact on the client and are able to continue working on it properly. But the malicious intent is clearly visible from his actions. We are taking additional efforts to identify other such issues induced by him to safeguard ourselves and our clients.

This article was originally published on Gyrix Blog

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