Alan Hammond
Alan Hammond

Diary of an HR manager, aged 35 ½

If you think you’ve had a difficult few days take a minute to think about one poor old HR manager in Pretoria. First the CEO was forced out and then 14 members of Exco resigned on the same day! His succession planning has been blown out of the water and now he’s got to draw up 15 settlement agreements! He’s hoping Noone will head to the CCMA crying constructive dismissal!

Sorry I haven’t updated my diary for a while – we’ve had a crisis at work! I saw it coming ever since the shareholders went off for a bosberaad in Polokwane last December.

The climate survey we did last year identified that all wasn’t well in the company. So the shareholders wanted to get together to plan the way forward. The CEO was removed from his position as executive chairman, but kept his job as CEO.

Then the shareholders brought in one of their people to become a voting member of the Exco. They said he was just there to aid communication, but I didn’t believe it.

The talk around the water cooler started at Wednesday when the CEO’s PA was asked to change his travel arrangements and he came back to the office. The CEO loves his international travel so wouldn’t have cancelled if he didn’t have to!

Then on Thursday the General Secretary of the Board announced that the CEO had been asked to resign and he had accepted. The CEO has given his resignation in writing and the board will confirm the termination date and the last working day.

I haven’t seen a signed settlement agreement but I have been informed that he will not lose his retirement benefits. Now I’ve got to work out the leave allowance due and calculate the pension payout!

The CEO gave a wonderful farewell speech to all stakeholders – I was nearly in tears.

The CEO has to move out of the company house. I wonder how his wife feels. According to Basic Conditions he should have one month to move out. Apparently, the Board has said that he and his wife can decide exactly when they move out.

What is our policy about relocating ex-employees when they need to vacate company property? More work for me.

In the local bargaining forum, one of the party organisers suggested that the CEO should be entitled to put his side – audi alterem partem. Any party organiser suggested that maybe the board had heard the CEO. The majority of the forum accepted the resignation.

On Tuesday the CEO lodged a dispute for constructive dismissal. One of the younger members of the board has been bad-mouthing the CEO for a while. I told them that this was opening us up for a charge of constructive dismissal but they didn’t listen to me.

Work has stopped in the factory – half the workers are toyi-toyi-ing against the CEO’s dismissal – the other half are toyi-toyi-ing in support of this removal!

Then a bombshell — 11 members of the executive committee have resigned in sympathy – including the CFO who handles all dealings with the market. The stakeholders were in disarray and our share price took a big knock.

But then the CFO said he would carry on when the new CEO is appointed – is this a withdrawal of his resignation? He is on a fixed-term contract anyway. I’m going to have to phone our labour lawyers to check on that one!

As is usual in these cases, the one executive the stakeholders all hoped would resign – didn’t. We haven’t been happy with our Director of Employee Wellness for a long time and hoped she would move on.

I suppose I’ll have to continue the Incapacity poor performance termination because the previous Incapacity Ill Health has fallen through.

When the new CEO comes in they tell me he will be the CEO – he will not be in an “acting” capacity. However, the contract will end next year March. It’s not a probationary clause. It’s a fixed term contract. Will there be a legitimate expectation of renewal? Where’s that number for the lawyers?

Any resemblance to living persons is entirely co-incidental.