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Halloween Horror

Another update from the Jungle…..

Louise strolled into the office on Thursday morning humming quietly to herself.   She was looking forward to seeing the Halloween costumes that her team would wear.   She tried to imagine how some of them would top their everyday attire.

Jake dresses in black and changes his hair color  each month.   His current orange mop makes him look like a black post with a pumpkin stuck on top.  Bill wears ratty old clothes that even Goodwill would throw in the rag pile. 

Her new sales manager, Emma, is a self-identified witch who dresses in gauzy flowing outfits.   Since taking over sales, revenue is up, customer complaints are down, and there are no past due accounts.  Louise has heard rumors that the owners of slow paying clients develop extremely painful rashes, but she’s not asking any questions.   

The office was quiet when Louise arrived.  As she walked past Jake’s work area, a sticky note caught her eye. The note said, “Pay up by Friday or the pig gets it!”  Louise stared at the note, aghast. Was one of her employee’s being blackmailed?

She needed to fortify herself with a double espresso from the coffee shop next door.  As she waited to be served she remembered that she hadn’t locked the office door.  So she hurried back to the office.

As she walked through the door, she heard Emma sobbing noisily and saw her cradling a box.  Emma thrust the box at Louise, tearfully babbling about a murder with poison. Louise looked in the box.  It was a dead rat.  “Eek”, squealed Louise falling back a pace. 

Louise inched away from Emma until she could turn and dash to her office.  She needed more than a double espresso.  She needed a slug of the single malt whiskey left over from a client event while she thought about what she had seen.  Had one of Emma’s potions gone hideously wrong?  Was another witch using dark arts against Emma?   Would company sales nosedive while Emma mourned a dead rat?

That was the start of an internal investigation which left Louise dazed at how much happened in her company without her knowing about it.    Jake and Bill had a lucrative side business playing poker.  At a recent poker night hosted by Jake, Bill stole a stuffed pig sitting next to Jake’s computer.  After a series of Instagram posts showing the stuffed pig suspended over a Crockpot of steaming liquids, Bill left the ransom note at Jake’s desk.

The investigation also revealed that the dead rat was Emma’s beloved Patches. Emma had brought her dead rat to work while she waited for her vet’s office to open. The necropsy (animal autopsy) revealed that Patches died due to a weak heart; he hadn’t been murdered with poison. 

Sometimes HR isn’t as scary as it seems at first glance.  Happy Halloween!

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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Who Will Be the Lucky Winner?

Another update from the Jungle…

The anticipation is killing everyone in the office—except Kate. Two months ago, her boss Steve announced he was finally retiring (and about time, according to some co-workers). Now, several co-workers are desperately campaigning for his job.

unnamed-59Kate doesn’t want the job. She has years of supervisory experience, but she’s no longer interested in riding herd on a bunch of people who are used to doing whatever they want. She still intends to enjoy the show as others compete to replace Steve; corporate succession fights are as ferocious as mixed martial arts fights, only with fewer rules.

Matt shows up every day in neatly pressed slacks and a shirt, instead of his usual t-shirt and jeans. He’s even traded in his dirty sneakers for a less battered pair of loafers. He is sucking up to the Board of Directors with gift cards, lunch dates and leather-bound notebooks extolling his brilliance.

Matt doesn’t know that Walter anonymously forwarded to every board member a video from an old Christmas party of Matt gyrating around the dance floor modeling various women’s garments. Walter had saved a copy for an emergency just like this. Walter doesn’t want the job; he just doesn’t want Matt to get the job.

unnamed-61Meanwhile, Kim bustles around clutching her iPad with a thoughtful frown. She’s trying to look authoritative, which isn’t easy to pull off when you’re barely five feet tall and weigh less than a fully-grown German shepherd. She proclaims to everyone that it’s time a woman was given the job.

Her pitch spooks the board chair into believing she’s a militant feminist out to destroy older white men such as himself.

unnamed-64Every morning, Kate braces for the stream of excited co-workers who stop by to tell her their theories on who should replace Steve. Their gossip updates Kate on the shifting alliances among her co-workers.

How should Kate respond to all the gossiping?

  • She can pack a sandwich and a six-pack to enjoy while she watches her co-workers destroy each other.
  • She can take notes so that she has more material for the bodice-ripper novel she hopes will make her rich and famous.
  • She can remain the confidante of her co-workers, functioning as a safety valve for the emotional rollercoaster that happens during succession battles.

unnamed-62In the actual situation, an outsider was hired to replace “Steve” leading to an exodus of disappointed internal applicants, and a new round of alliances to win favor with the new guy.  Office politics will remain a standard workplace feature as long as human nature remains the same.

HR can mitigate the damage caused by office politicking by encouraging senior management to set clear criteria on the qualifications and process for hiring.

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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