Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Escalation: Why, When & How?

Hello Folks,

This is in continuation to my earlier post named "Does 'Professionalism' means 'Tying-A-Tie'?".

After facing all those stupid, unwanted problems, I've finally shifted to an other employer, who turns to be my ex-company's client. Actually, there wasn't any official agreement between my ex-employer and I that I should not join any of its clients within any specific time period. But, after I've joined this new company, I started facing that same old unprofessional behaviour from my ex-company again, after they came to know that I'm with one of their clients.

You know we have to get Form-16 from all of our ex-employers (with whomever we have worked in the same Fiscal year) in addition to our current company's Form-16, to file for IT Returns for the current Fiscal year. For this, I've started communicating through emails with my ex-company inquiring about my Form-16 couple of months ago, but as expected, there weren't any responses to my emails. I have started editing the subject of the email with Reminder1, Reminder2, Reminder3 etc each time I resent those inquiry emails to them, but no responses yet.

One good thing about me (not self praising :P) is that when I was quitting that company, I've noted down the email addresses of all the people in HR, Legal, Admin, Finance, IT, their hierarchical (first level, second level, third level... ) reporting managers' contacts including CEO, CIO, CFO, Chief Legal Officer, all VPs. And I got the email addresses of the Govt. of India IT Officers' from web, who manages that particular region where my ex-company falls under.

I've been emailing HR asking about my Form-16 since last 5 months (I know Form-16 will be ready by June, but I wanted to change my address in their records to where they should be sending my Form-16), but not a single time that HR responded back to me or acknowledged me on the receipt of my emails. He could have at least replied back saying that it will be taken care of or something like that. But never did he.

The corporate rule across the IT world is to respond to emails from whomever are they from with in 48 Hrs with the status of request at least, which they failed to do even after multiple attempts by me. Obviously this implies how pathetic and unprofessional that company's employees are, including HR who holds high responsibilities with regards to Human Resources.

The last email which I sent them was on the day before yesterday, with the subject edited as 'Reminder4'. This time, I've already lost my patience and copied all the people in that HR's hierarchial structure (his manager, his manager's manager, HOD, VP, COE, CFO, CIO, Legal Head) and the Govt. of India IT Officers under whom my taxes and PF are maintained.

If I tell you the outcome, you would probably be surprised :D

Well, I've got the response within 1 Hr from the VP-HR apologizing for the HR's behaviour and saying that my Form-16 will be sent to me ASAP sometime this week :)

You should know, in few companies, how pathetic HR will be as opposed to how well they should maintain relations with their employees and of course with ex-employees as well. May be current employees are 'building blocks' for that company, which doesn't mean ex-employees are already broken blocks :P LOL. After all, ex-employees are also one of the factors that builds company's reputation within the IT world. Few sick HRs think that they are the rulers, they should know HR will exist only when resources exists and they should understand how important are the decent Human relations within and outside the organization.

So, what I want to convey you finally? :) Well, not much but be aware of collecting all the necessary information while you leave the company which will be helpful for your future activities in one or the other ways.

- Keep all the people/ team'c contacts (HR, Legal, Admin etc - email addresses and phone numbers) while you leave the company, you may need them going further even when you would have joined another company.

- DO NOT send separate emails at different times if the matter of inquiry is same. Keep 'Reply'ing to the same sent email(s) with subject being edited to Reminder1/2/.... and copy one level higher official each time you resend the same email. Which means you are keeping the 'Chain' of emails, and not seperate emails. This way, when you escalate it, people will know since when actually you are trying to interact with the person and yet no help from that person.

- Have at least 48 Hrs gap while you resend the same email to that person (let them take time to look into the matter you are asking for, which is ethical).

- Wait until 48 Hrs after you send a follow-up email with subject having 'Reminder 4'.

- Still no response? Escalate it to all the Higher Authority people in that company. They have to respond now, because it's about company's eithcs we are pointing out.

In my case, that HR must have been 'ASHAMED' of his behaviour, because his VP did reply to my email (after escalation) apologizing me for HR's behaviour, copying that person, CEO, CFO, CIO and other people in the management. Truly, thats enough when someone apologizes on your behalf, keeping you and all your managers in loop.

So, does escalation help us in anyway? Well, yes it obviously does have an impact on the flow and the people, but we don't need to necessarily escalate for each and every small thing. We should give them a chance and/ or time and when there is really a problem with that person's professionalism, even though the request falls under his/ her scope, escalate it. Trust me, escalation also means how unefficient the people are, for not responding to requests even after multiple attempts and even after taking his/ her so sweet long time. Escalation will have a negative impact on the person whom we are escalating on and a positive impact on who are escalating. Oh btw, it could be the other way around as well, depending on what, when, to whom and how we are escalating. So, always remember, escalation should be professional as well, with genuine and valid reasons. Think twice before you escalate on anyone or anything, because it costs some impact.

PS: The pictures are not mine and are taken randomly from web!!