Is a disagreeing employee also disloyal?

Many organizations, especially those that tolerate free expression, are bound to come across employees who show disagreement on some or another issue. Many people tend to think that such employees are disloyal. Are disagreement and disloyalty synonymous? Should an employee who disagrees with the company’s management be considered disloyal?

No connection with each other

Although there is a tendency to classify the disagreeing employee alongside the disloyal one; let us first understand what these mean and whether they are mutually exclusive.

A disagreement is when the employee feels that the management is not taking the right decision. This can be over just any aspect of the organization. That employee may not like the office policy on casual clothing. Or it could be on something as important as the direction the business is taking. On such occasions, the employee may feel tempted to come out openly against the management and demand that it change its policy on clothing. Or the employee may say that a particular senior manager’s actions or management style is seriously flawed.

All that this employee is doing is expressing his viewpoint. It in no way means that he is acting against the interests of the organization. The only sticking point is that his viewpoint may not be in consonance with that of the management. Should such behavior call for axing the employee? Not really, because there is enough scope for the management to talk it out with such an employee and sort out the differences.

Disloyalty is more dangerous

When an employee is disloyal, it means that he is doing something against the interests of the organization. Such an employee may not at all disagree with any of the organization’s issues, but may be working against it at its back. For instance, such an employee could be agreeing with everything that the company is doing, but could be working clandestinely in letting out its secrets to its competitor. Or he could be working part time for a competitor silently. Undoubtedly, such an employee is more dangerous than one who voices dissent, but has done nothing against the organization, and still very much aligns his own interests that those of the organization.

HR’s role

The HR has a very important task on its hands in dealing with such employees. HR has to decide if the disagreeing employee is having a genuine grievance against the management. The best course of action would be to bring both sides together and talk to them. This goes a long way in helping to identify areas of disagreement and settle issues. On the other hand, the disloyal employee, when he is found out, has to certainly be dealt with more seriously.



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