Top Level Management
If I were an outside consultant I would make the following recommendations to DOTA, based on my understanding of their issues both in India and in the US. All the recommendations are based on the one assumption that at present HR does not report into the Top Level Management (TLM) at DOTA and is not involved in corporate planning or strategy decisions. Let’s look at India first. The company seems out of touch with the current compensation trends in India for Software Engineers. This should be addressed as a priority.
Sending somebody out there once in a while for a week will have no great impact. What DOTA in India need is to have their own HR representative on the ground who is fully up-to-date on local trends and issues. This person should report into the TLM in the US and therefore be able to action things and resolve issues quicker than at present. The staff in India need to also feel that they are part of the DOTA company, its culture, its values etc. and not just outsourced “cheaper” staff.
There may have to be some relocation of finances to achieve this – perhaps by lowering the entry level wages of
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HR should also become a partner in strategy executions by impelling and guiding serious discussions of how the company should be organized to carry out its strategy. Creating the conditions for this discussion involves four steps. First HR would define an organizational architecture by identifying the company’s way of doing business; in other words it should define a corporate culture. Next HR must be accountable for conducting an organizational audit. The third role for HR as a strategic partner is to identify methods for renovating the parts of the organizational architecture that need it.
Fourth and finally, HR must take stock of its own work and set clear priorities. In their new role as administrative experts they will need to shed their traditional image and still make sure all routine work for the company is done well. HR must be held accountable for ensuring that employees feel committed to the organization and contribute fully. They must take responsibility for orienting and training line management about the importance of high employee morale and how to achieve it.
HR must also be responsible for training the workforce about what is and what is not acceptable business behavior. The new HR should be the voice of employees in management discussions. The new role for HR might also involve suggesting that more teams be used on some projects or that employees be given more control over their own work schedules. The new HR must become a culture change agent, which is building the organization’s capacity to embrace and capitalize on change. They don’t execute culture change but they make sure it is carried out.
The new mandate for HR requires dramatic change in how HR professionals think and behave and this will positively impact how they are perceived by other member of staff. Investing in new HR practices is another way to let the organization know that HR is worthy of the company’s money and attention. HR will have to ensure that the company adheres to sexual, racial and disability discrimination policies by making it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated at any level. Finally, the most important thing managers can do to drive the new mandate for HR is to improve the quality of the HR staff itself.
Senior executives must get beyond the stereotypes of HR professionals as incompetent support staff and unleash HR’s full potential. These are long-term objectives and recommendations but it still leaves DOTA with the immediate challenge and that is how to deal with the three sexual harassment cases. Firstly the validity of all these cases must be established by tangible evidence. Also we need to look at other factors – are the women unhappy in general or do all three have a valid case for going to the EEOC? Are there any salary discrepancies which may cause discontent?
A recent study from the UK shows that police officers (who are mainly male) are paid way more than nurses (who are mainly female) whilst both have demanding public sector jobs (PT, 2006). This is just an example but the compensation system in the company may need to be re-evaluated too. What if all three EEOC cases are valid and the company is taken to court? What recommendations should we give then? Firstly, if these cases were all taken to trial the public relations disaster that would face DOTA may be sufficient enough to sink the company alone.
If DOTA were to survive the PR problems it may face millions of dollars in compensation pay-outs. Therefore my immediate recommendations would be involve all three women in discussion, make sure appropriate apologies are made and ensure all is being done to avoid repeat situations. If this does not work – it would be best for DOTA to settle out of court so as to limit the damaging PR implications. It is now widely reported that many cases of this magnitude are being settled in private (PT, 2007).