Companies will often hold contests to provide some incentive for employees to increase productivity or improve attendance. So it was no surprise when a business owner announced a contest for his employees. They had an opportunity to win $10 in conjunction with visits by “secret shoppers.”
Great manager you think? Well think again. The contest was to guess which employee would be fired first based on the visits of the secret shoppers. He announced this contest with a company-wide memo. At first many employees thought it was a joke. When they found out it was not they quit. They filed for unemployment which the owner contested.
As most of us know, when an employee voluntarily quits their job they are often denied collecting benefits. However, if they can prove wrong doing, such as “constructive discharge,” their claim for benefits will be upheld. And in this case an administrative law judge said that a “firing contest” fell into that category of employer wrong doing. He deemed that the owner had created a “hostile work environment” and the judge ruled that the employees were due unemployment benefits.
I don’t want to think this owner was really that malicious in his thinking as to make employees wonder who was getting fired next and who is going to benefit from it. Maybe he was hoping that this would incent employees to work harder and be more productive. Whatever his reasoning it obviously made a BIG mistake and it cost him in money, productivity, morale and a ton of bad publicity. Oh and it gets my label of STUPID HR. Next time he needs to seek the help of a good consultant before he institutes another incentive program.