Wanna Know A Secret?

Another update from the Jungle….

Josh started his company with the help of several friends who are now enemies for life after a couple of business disagreements. After these mistakes, Josh intelligently concluded that his skill set didn’t include managing employees. So he hired Adele to handle employee problems.

Adele was wonderful. She created processes for hiring which allowed the company to hire better qualified people. She created work flows for tracking employee performance which improved the bottom line. Even her nifty termination process came in handy when employees began whizzing in, then back out, the door.

Josh noticed the company’s bottom line was sagging due to the high cost of employee turnover. When he asked Adele, she replied that employees were dissatisfied but couldn’t explain why. So he did what any concerned business owner does in such a situation. He hired a consultant to tell him what he already knew but didn’t want to believe.

Josh’s problem is Adele. She loves gossiping. Any confidential information she hears is liable to be repeated to other employees. She’s been feeding the feud between Chloe and Tammy by sympathetically listening to their grievances and then repeating their nastier comments.

She tells Chloe that Steve hates working with her after he complains that Chloe is always late to meetings. She tells Steve that Josh is planning to promote Sue to the job Steve wants because the company’s demographics will look better with a woman in management.

Josh is aware of Adele’s inability to keep secrets. After all, she’s repeated some of the juicier bits to him, like the rumor that Rob and Pam are having an affair. Actually, they both leave work at the same time because their daughters play on the same soccer team.

All the gossiping is causing widespread paranoia as everyone wonders what unfortunate “truth” will leak out on the office grapevine next. Josh is so shocked he accidentally dumps a cup of coffee in his lap. He feels betrayed by Adele because he was relying on her to take care of the people problems; not make them worse.

What are Josh’s options?

  1. He can give Adele a free trip into orbit without a rocket booster or parachute.
  2. He can accept the status quo because Adele updates him on what employees are saying about him and the company.
  3. He can reprimand Adele for gossiping but give her a second chance.

In the actual situation, the dysfunctional company simply muddled along from one crisis to the next until it was bought out by a competitor.

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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The Back Stabber

Another update from the Jungle….

backstabMarcella was happy to find a friend like Barry when she joined her new employer. He seemed like such a nice guy, interested in mentoring younger co-workers like her. Barry was a big help to her as she navigated the internal politics of her new employer.

Gradually over the months, Marcella talked about her children and she even gave Barry a few details about her messy divorce.   A female co-worker warned Marcella that Barry’s nice guy image was barely skin deep. Marcella dismissed the comments as sour grapes because the co-worker had been bounced from Barry’s team due to poor performance.

Then Marcella disagrees with Barry about how to solve a problem on their team project. Barry first tries to shame Marcella
in front of the other team members by explaining that he has so much more experience than her, his solution is the best. When Marcella refuses to back down, the matter escalates to their boss who agrees with Marcella’s solution to the problem.

A week later, the boss stops by Marcella’s office to ask if everything is okay at home. He assures her backthat she can have time off to go to court to deal with her son’s drug problem. Marcella’s shocked; her son doesn’t have a drug problem. Other co-workers stop by during the next few days to offer support.

Marcella remembers confiding to Barry several months ago that she was worried about some of her son’s friends. During that conversation she also said she was happy that her son’s school invited a community outreach police officer to talk to the students about the consequences of drug use. Marcella thinks that Barry twisted this information because he is mad about losing their disagreement on the team project.

What should Marcella do next?

  1. She can confront Barry to ask if he is the source of the rumor and then emulate Dolly Parton in “9 to 5” (threatening to change him from a rooster to a hen).
  2. She can complain to an HR representative but she has no proof Barry started the rumor and it’s not clear that any employee policy has actually been violated.
  3. She can avoid Barry as much as possible and never confide personal information to him again.

In the actual situation, the backstabbing employee eventually alienated so many employees that he became completely isolated. When the company downsized, he was the only employee not invited to join co-workers as they found new employers.

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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