Article: Horror stories at work offer lessons for HR

Life @ Work

Horror stories at work offer lessons for HR

From zany Zoom blunders to social media spooks, here are spine-tingling stories every HR professional should learn from.
Horror stories at work offer lessons for HR

Many HR teams have years of experience and have seen many different scenarios play out – sometimes not in the most workplace-friendly way. In light of Halloween, below are a few spooky stories of past HR mistakes to help your organisation prevent these things from happening in the future!

Zoom debacles

An employee who was on a Zoom call for a board member meeting didn’t know their significant other was unknowingly walking behind them scantily clad throughout the entire call. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard something like this happen. 

Lesson: As most organisations continue to work in a predominantly remote environment, it’s important to remind staff of protocols and guidelines when attending video calls. Consider providing company backgrounds and encourage people to always be aware of their surroundings. 

Handling reports 

Another employee once made a claim about their manager. The HR department was slow to address the issue, until another claim was made about the same manager. Another incident occurred but since the HR team took so long, the employee took this complaint to the EEOC. 

Lesson: HR departments need to have a clear protocol for handling all claims and reports, and they need to follow it closely in order to avoid any further trouble. These protocols will also show employees their organisation cares about their issues.

Social media appropriateness

A manager once offered a job to a new hire. However, after the offer was made and accepted, the manager found inappropriate posts on the new employee’s social media accounts. The manager found these posts on their own time, and although the new hire had already given their current employer notice, the manager rescinded the job offer. 

Lessons: There are two takeaways from this story. First, have a clear social media policy for all employees. Ensure they know the consequences and the procedures for breaking the guidelines. Second, have a clear hiring process in place to ensure that there aren’t any conflicts of interest. In this situation, the hiring should have been done by a different manager if they had personal connections, and inappropriately rescinding the offer means the employer could now be on the hook for paying them.

Email etiquette

A few years ago, an HR team was sending over paperwork for an employee who was going through a disciplinary process. Instead of sending it to the individual employee, they accidentally sent it to the entire team. 

Lesson: The moral of this story is to remind employees of email etiquette and remind them to double-check everything before sending.

HR work can be overwhelming, sometimes frightening, even for seasoned professionals. If your organisation is looking for additional support, contact experts who can help you develop a strategy and stay on track!


This article was first published in October 2021.

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Topics: Life @ Work

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