Mr. K. P Bakophaid, 69, a high profile investor who during his lifetime had accumulated millions in investments, particularly in the Microsoft shares in the 80’s and then in a repeat of his talent to spot the gold brought Google shares cheap at $1 a share with now the shares quoting $563/ share and his long time friend Mr. J. K. Sinha, 65 just retired CEO of the famed PELIANCE group had been for a while contemplating for a move to establish a start up in IT sector as both the gentlemen were very bullish about the sector in the Indian space.
Their thoughts were put down to work as with favorable developments at the macro economic level both pledged their funds together to start an IT start up MACROHARDINDIA LTD, a BPO firm having primary applications in the back office jobs of banking and investment banking sector of the US and EUROPE. With this they appointed Mr. Rajiv Negad, 39 an IIM-A pass out. He had till that time established himself as an expert in system analysis with a prime acumen of business networks having earlier worked with Goldman Sachs in its Hong Kong division.
He jumped at the opportunity to be the CEO of the start up. YEAR LATER- MACRO HARD had notched up a reasonable success in its limited space and were looking like they were heading in the right directions. In the mean time they hired Ms. Neha Kakkar, an attractive 25 year old who was also like the CEO, a pass out of IIM-A. She was a hard working employee and a really bright prospect who had the right ideas and confidence. Also her most important asset was her ability to gel with her colleagues well. Over time there developed good professional rapport between Mr. Rajiv and Neha as it was evident with the fact that Mr.
Rajiv was really impressed with the work ethics of his new employee. In the company there also worked Adebayour, a hard working employee. Originally from Nigeria he also was a good disciplined worker who did his job well. Neha Kakkar was really rising through the ranks of her job fast. Once Neha had this really bright idea of taking the company to the next level with her idea of venturing into the credit card processing in the US and also she was quick to spot a potential threat in the form of a competitor taking away their business and for that he wanted to discuss with Rajiv, her boss, for which he asked her to come to the canteen to discuss this issue over a cup of coffee. Apparently this discussion now happened quite frequently and because the issue was a bit negative with the news of falling profits and competitors, Rajiv asked Neha not to discuss it now with her coworkers as he felt it might have negative repercussions. 3 weeks into this discussion Neha was again promoted as there was an urgent need to do it. This wasn’t taken well by her co workers who thought that she was rather using her good looks in making Rajiv do as she wished.
This was apparently being discussed and spread around as rumors by 3 people in particular Nitin, Venkat, and Karan who were spreading all sorts of rumors around. There was this further issue that Adebayor an equally hard working candidate wasn’t promoted when Neha was. In this regard Adebayour was apparently miffed and sought an explanation from Rajiv who responded that he didn’t had that charisma and forward looking skills and therefore he will have to wait a little bit more time for his promotion. But in this regard an argument ensured between the two, the news of which spread around the workplace.
There was now an open talk that Rajiv was showing favoritism toward Neha and everyone wasn’t being treated well. Initially Rajiv ignored this talk. Being a proud manager who thought that since he was not actually doing anything wrong, that should be enough— people will recognize it. Or since he wasn’t actually guilty, he believed that he just doesn’t need to defend himself further. Lastly, he also thought that since he was the boss people will anyway come to respect his decisions. But then in the mean time situations worsened. There was a gradual loss of productivity. Resentment built quickly with favoritism being suspected.
Resentment quickly became bitterness and bitterness lead to all sorts of behavior which created problems for company. Rajiv now really disturbed with the recent developments in the company, quickly sought advice from his HR manager Mr. Sachin to get the situation back to normal as quickly as possible. In the highly competitive IT industry he didn’t want his company to miss out on potential opportunities just because of a simple perception problem. As an HR manager what advice and steps will you follow to solve this problem? What should a manager do to avoid the PERCEPTION of favoritism, which can be just as damaging as actual favoritism?