It is now pervasive. A day or two passes nowadays without a disclaimer of a sort in one news paper or the other advising clients of an organization not to deal with a particular disowned staff. The disclaimers are certainly issued as a protective strategy to prevent any attempt by the disowned staff from having any official dealings with innocent clients.

Organizations have missions and objectives that direct their operations. Every human effort in the organization at all levels must be effectively channeled into productive use for the growth of the organization. One cannot therefore blame management of any entity for the justifiable abrogation of the employment contract of a staff whose actions and conduct is inimical to its development.

Should management however issue an open disclaimer subsequent to the parting of ways between the organization and the employee? While this tool has long been employed to stop recalcitrant ex-staff from exploiting their previous association with an organization to their advantage, it is also important to take a closer look at the other side of open disclaimer.

On the surface, an open disclaimer projects a serious organization that is jettisoning a deviant staff with all his baggage of misconduct, unprofessionalism, under-performance, among others, that are considered seriously at variance with corporate norm. Underneath however is the question of how the particular staff got entry to be part of the organizational membership.

Organizations need a strong human resource function that passes prospective staff through a rigorous recruitment process to ensure that only the best are employed by the organization. Human resource practitioners of today would however tell you that there is so much pressure from their superiors when it comes to filling of vacancies. In the end, the recruitment process become a mere window dressing exercise in some organizations and relatives of bosses and board members are given a smooth sail into the organization. This obviously is a recipe for misconduct and under-performance, and is likely to end in the issue of open disclaimer. It is therefore important to allow the human resource function in every organization to play its screening and filtering role to minimize the risk of recruiting ?dangerous? staff.

Another managerial dearth has to do with how small and medium scale organizations commence operations in Ghana. Often new organizations in Ghana start small and grow gradually in the years ahead. The unfortunate managerial and administrative mistake that is often committed at the onset of these new organizations is starting with an army of unprofessional persons on the altar of cheap labour. This in itself paves way for grievous and unethical practices in the organization. The reason is not farfetched. Professional staff in any organization are constraint by the code and practices of their various professional bodies in addition to the rules and regulations of the organization. Secondly, professionals have an image to protect and are therefore careful in everything they do. Also as new organizations grow, some of the pioneer non-professional staff become irrelevant to the new direction and the industry requirements of the organization. Sensing possible redundancy following years of sacrifices, some scheme to dupe the organization to get their share of the cake before the unfortunate happens to them. The answer to this phenomenon is simple. Cheap things cost much in the end. Invest in quality human resource right at the onset of the organization. Their remuneration can be negotiated. We usually allow remuneration to become a constraint to recruiting professionals. On the media scene, those houses that started with professionals are now giants. Those that opted for mediocrity at the dawn of their operations are still struggling.

Beyond the human resource factor, organizations must also reflect critically on how their internal control systems are made to work. All human beings strive to do what is good and what is expected of them most of the time. At the same time every human being has a certain level of weakness in him that pulls him to do what is wrong. At the work place we do not put trust before organizational principles. It would be na?ve to think that because people profess to be religious, or are close relatives, or were trained in the best universities from around the globe they would necessarily be honest, diligent, and trusted staff. Rules, regulations, procedures and practices are therefore important in every organization to direct actions and conduct. Where internal control systems are relaxed for whatever reason, we must be sure that one or two people would attempt to exploit the situation to their undue advantage. The organization would sooner or later be issuing a disclaimer.

This writer is not against the issue of open disclaimer to protect the interest of organizations. It must be done when the need arises. The emphasis being made here is that while organizations directly or indirectly impugn the integrity of estranged staff through open disclaimer, they should also look inward and reflect on what they did right or wrong which allowed such non-conformity in their organizations. This is a food for thought.

*The writer is a Public/Health Service Administrator

Source: Fred Effah-Yeboah.

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