Worst HR Ideas

Our editors select some of the worst ideas perpetrated by HR professionals in the past year.

This article accompanies Best HR Ideas for 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010
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* Borat is Not for Business

One now-defunct Phoenix advertising agency held several events to boost morale -- and one of those events featured the showing of Borat, according to a story by ABC News. The naked-men wrestling scene did not go over well with a majority of the staff, according to the executive who proposed showing the film. He hadn't seen the movie; just heard that it was funny. The reaction definitely wasn't.

* Balance the Scales of Justice

Firing a bank teller for capturing a robber or terminating a cashier for wearing a "One Nation Under God" button can correlate to company policies, but such actions can also adversely impact the company's brand. When employees question an organization's basic sense of fairness, it can create difficulties.

* Time Your Terminations

Laying off a nurse while she assisted in surgery wasn't one of the best ideas conceived by a Madison, Wis.-based medical facility. And, while on the subject of reductions-in-force, it's all well and good that Web 2.0 and social networking are all the rage, but leave Twitter and Facebook alone when sending out layoff notices.

* Don't Assault Employees

One New Jersey hospital created a safety-training program by setting up a mock holdup and hostage situation at the facility's pharmacy. Facing a masked gunman, the technician on duty felt her life was in danger and has since filed suit for assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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* Follow Your Conscience

HR professionals have always struggled between their desire to help employees and their need to fulfill company business objectives. For some, that line can been stretched to the breaking point -- such as the HR manager who was sentenced last year to three years in prison for obstructing a federal investigation into worker-safety violations, and two other HR managers -- one who was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for his role in hiring illegal aliens and another who pleaded guilty to two similar violations. The last HR manager faces up to 20 years in prison.

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