Sad — and scary –news from India, where a group of workers attacked and killed a 45-year-old HR manager at Allied Nippon, a joint Indo-Japanese venture that manufactures brakes and brake shoes for cars, according to the Times of India.
Joginder Singh died of multiple head and chest injuries about a day after workers suddenly attacked him and other managers with iron bars in protest of staff firings, according to AFP.
Nine of the factory workers in Ghaziabad have been arrested and charged with murder. Another 27 workers were identified as being part of the brawl and 300 are so far unidentified.
Two company officials remain in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.
As HRE wrote earlier this year, HR seems to be a more frequent target of violence by workers — and not just overseas. That’s because HR leaders are often the messengers of bad news.
William J. Daly, senior vice president of London-based risk consultant Control Risks, was quoted in the story as saying that HR leaders can be hurt by the tendency of senior leaders bringing them up on stage to announce bad news and then leaving them on-site to deal with the repercussions.
“Traditionally, HR [leaders] have thought they were part of the solution and trying to help people but are now realizing that sometimes, during a difficult situation, there is no positive spin on the fact that jobs are being lost or some action should be taken against employees.”
Daly says [scaling back the HR presence is] not the answer because communication from HR is too vital during those critical times and remains just as important to many laid-off workers after the fact.
The best they can do, he says, is to handle it like any other security risk — with preparation. Identify workers who may pose a security threat and figure out how to handle violence if it happens.
“You need to be aware of your surroundings,” Daly says. “This is your job, you need to go and do it, but you need to go in there with eyes open. If there are any threats or issues that come up, know how you’re going to deal with them. Have a plan.”
In this case, police said the company had no warning violence was about to explode.
The factory’s HR vice president Mahendra Chowdhary told the media the attack by workers “was premediated and unprovoked. Workers attacked and chased the human resources staff and those on the board of directors.”