April Fool’s Day was three days ago, but some idiots are still pulling pranks. Danny showed up early on Monday with nylon fishing line which he used as a tether for a stuffed mouse he bought at a pet store. The morning was punctuated with screams as he yanked his mouse across the hallway each time the elevator doors opened.
Pam, from the HR Department, confiscated Danny’s mouse and threatened to let his co-workers beat him to a pulp if he tried the same trick on Tuesday. On Tuesday, Danny showed up with whoopee cushions and plastic snakes. By lunch, Pam had collected his entire stash.
This morning, Pam was waiting for Danny in the elevator lobby. While Danny distracted her, his co-conspirators sneaked in to the break room to raid the recycling bin in the kitchen. Jim and Barbara are military veterans, and they want to create a homemade bazooka they heard about while in the service.
First, they cut the ends off aluminum soda cans and duct tape them into a long tube. Then, they poke a hole in the bottom of the last can to create a breach. A crowd of curious co-workers gathers to watch. Barbara stuffs a tennis ball down the tube. Jim produces a cigarette lighter and ignites a spark. With a whoosh and a shoomp, the tennis ball hurtles across the room and smashes a hole in the plasterboard wall. Everyone scatters as Pam runs in to the break room.
Pam knows what’s really wrong with Danny, Jim, and Barbara. They’re bored and restless. The company has been fighting a hostile takeover for months, and employees are afraid of job cuts if the takeover happens.
During the slower winter months, everyone simply waited, too cold to care. Now, spring is here, and employees are twitchy as the takeover saga continues. Management has been very slow about updating employees on what’s happening.
What options are available for Pam?
- She can announce a contest to keep the April Fool’s Day practical jokes going for the entire month.
- She can begin playing her own practical jokes on co-workers to show that HR isn’t always the “Department of No.”
- She can suggest that management hold a “town hall” meeting to update employees on the hostile takeover and what it means for the employees.
Having a little fun to break the monotony and pressure is important. But sometimes hijinks are a symptom of a deeper problem, such as uncertainty due to workplace changes. HR can help by encouraging management to regularly communicate with employees to reduce the uncertainty.
If your company is struggling with HR issues, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor can help you create HR policies that are appropriate for your company’s size and then serve as a resource to your staff as the policies are implemented.
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