The Grey Chronicles


HRM: Between A Rock and A Hard Place

Last 08 June at 1430H, prior to coming to the mills to render the night shift, I requested for a copy of my Income Tax Returns [ITR] for 2008. My son, who is a fourth-year high school in my former alma mater, is applying to take the College Admission Test for the University of the Philippines [UPCAT], Diliman, Quezon City. The Human Relations staff only asked for my employee number, a four-digit code, and assured me that the ITR will be ready for release the next day.

The following day, 09 June, I was on the morning shift. At the end of my 8-hour shift duty, I passed by the Human Relations [HR] office to retrieve the ITR. To my surprise, the ITR was neither prepared, signed, nor ready for release. The staff said that his immediate boss, the head of Human Relations, filed early in that morning a leave of absence for three days and will be back on the 11th. With the 12th of June declared as a Legal Holiday in celebration of the 111st Philippine Independence Day, it was assumed that the HR head might opt for a No Scheduled Work [NSW] on Saturday on the 13th, take his Rest Day on the 14th, thus would come back for duty on the 15th.

My sister, who is taking her master studies on statistics at U.P., planned to go from Manila to our family ancestral home, where my son is presently residing, and spend a three-day weekend (12th to 14th) there. She volunteered to expedite my son’s UPCAT application if all the necessary papers, including the ITR, was available by that time. She was scheduled to go back to Manila on the night of 14th June, and claimed that she could hand-carry the application and all the required documents to U.P. when she goes back to school on Monday, 15th June.

Frustrated with the turn of events, I might not deliver the things I had to do as agreed with my sister, in time for the application deadline, I blurted out, “What kind of office is this?” then exasperatingly muttered under my breath that when the head of department was on leave there were no designated person to sign in his behalf. I stormed out of the office, not wanting to blow the situation out of proportion.

Another department head, hearing my outburst, followed me out and ask about my situation. He offered help with the application, even going out of his way to have it signed by the HR department head, who happened to be his neighbor.

I explained to him that what bothered me most was the fact that the ITR preparation would only take mere seconds, the affixing of signature would take another few seconds, and the staff did not have a presence of mind to have it prepared and signed before the HR department head went on leave early this morning? This, to me, was conceivably a delaying tactic, or worst gross job incompetence of that particular staff.

It had been known in the past three years that GSPI had been withholding the release of the ITR whenever personnel requested a copy of it because withholding taxes deducted from employees have not been regularly remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenues. All too similar to the fate of the mandated salary deductions on the PhilHealth, a Medicare program, and Pag-ibig, a socialized housing program. Thus, the issuance of ITR is subject to legitimate debate (see Chapter XIII, Section 83 of the National Internal Revenue Code). Personnel who requested in the past have been interviewed by no less than the HR department head as to what purpose would the ITR be used. Huh? This is a public document, and a personal one. Do corporate entities have the power to pry on the usage of such personal document?

The withholding tax returns, although prepared by a corporate personnel, are still personal documents. Nowhere in the law specifies that ITR prepared by the company, the document and the information it contains, belonged to that company. Therefore, the use of such document is inherently in the discretion of the tax filer, not the corporation where the taxpayer is employed! The corporate representative, in this case the GSPI Human Resource department, only serve as a depository of that information, but neither does it own the document or the information nor it could withhold the release of such document or information.

I remembered one time when I sent to the former HR department head, a copy of a PDF file re: Is Your HR Department Friend or Foe? (2005). She was appreciative of the gesture, really liked the viewpoint and almost agreed to what the white paper contained. At one meeting, she claimed that the paper was right to the point, yet unfortunately, the expatriate management was at times frustratingly hard to please, and even hard to win an argument with their undue machismo. A year later, I heard she resigned because of a better job offer, which I presumed that she probably felt that the corporate environment then was delimiting her own potentials.

When she resigned, there was a debate among the production personnel who could possibly replace her. She was known to us to be an intelligent manager, an able leader, and a striking beauty! A week later, all of us were surprised when the head of Office Services, Security and Safety became the de facto HR department head! Most of us, sighed! Some even asked: whatever the hell does a security man knows about human relations! Others countered that might be the case that no one—local and expatriate—wanted the HR top job. Two expatriates already assumed the job in three years!

Or was it true that the company cannot hire another in the league of one Sanjay Mathur? He was the epitome of Human Relations on local TV. All talk, but no action! He is attributed to have said the now most quoted line: Money is no object!. This was subsequently disproved when the company held in 2005 its first diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. He wanted a 30-minute long fireworks show, solicited some Chinese suppliers, who gave him token samples. In the end, only the samples were used for a minute-long firework show during the diwali. There were claims by those who knew that the suppliers were not even fully paid for the use of the firework samples.

A professor used to say Human Resources Management is one tough job. It shoulders the brunt of frustrations on two sides: management executives and the managed ones. Much like, he claimed, a choice of sleeping between a rock and a hard place. Now, I could clearly see why the production personnel’s apprehension never waned. Or maybe with the required interview in return for a personnel request for a copy of his ITR, the current HR head’s underlying agenda is to take security in the realm of human relations? Has he anticipated the probable effects and likely unintended consequences of his course of action?

In retrospect, this might be one of the myriad reasons why I read Production Management for my masters rather than Human Relations Management. With production machines, when they break they can easily be repaired. With humans, when they break, they get disillusioned, however, the subsequent experiences are etched in their memory. Facilities fail, yet they remain still, silent. When Human Relations fail, people complain thus they sometimes blog!


Knowledge@Wharton (2005). Is Your HR Department Friend or Foe? Depends on Who’s Asking the Question, On-line: Knowledge@Wharton, 10 August 2005. back to text

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


1 Comment »

  1. very good
    thanks very much

    Comment by emo — 2009.June.14 @ 21:10 | Reply

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