Another update from the Jungle…
Veronica has been feeling a bit down lately as she drives to work. As the HR manager for her company, she’s in charge of the plans for the company’s annual employee picnic. She’s tried delegating this responsibility but gave up when the employees she asked threatened to quit rather than get stuck with the job.
Veronica understands why they refused to help. The company picnic is not fun. Younger employees think pie eating contests are disgusting and they don’t care about activities for kids because they don’t have children. Alcohol was banned two years ago (for reasons that can’t be discussed because the lawyers are still sorting out liability for the “proximate cause” of certain alleged injuries). Older workers are simply disenchanted and the ones with marketable skills are bailing out as fast as they can update their resumes.
Veronica understands that, too. She tried for years to bridge the gap between the employees and the company owners. The owners refer to their employees as “talent” when talking to investors and other outsiders but they treat their workers like talentless twits. They micromanage all aspects of the workplace and have a well-developed snitch system for obtaining reports on “disloyalty”. The owners disguise their apparent contempt for their employees by insisting on annual gruesome rituals like the company picnic.
Unfortunately, this year a possible riot is brewing. Employees recently learned that the company gets a cut of the money collected from the vending machines in the break room. The owners have been using that money to cover the costs of the company picnic, meaning the employees are paying for their own company picnic.
What are her options?
- She can meet with the company owners to explain the mood of employees and ask them to cancel the picnic or to approve a budget to do something special this year.
- She can do the minimum necessary to stage the picnic and expect that even fewer employees will show up than did last year.
- She can polish up her resume and discreetly market her services to other companies with better employment practices.
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