By: Bill Wednieski
The Headhunters, LLC is only a few years old but we are racking up some truly entertaining and head-scratching personal stories from our clients. All of the stories compiled below are real. Some of the stories led to clients reaching out for help on a new search, some are from executives at our clients, and sadly some of them come from our experiences with a candidate or two.
Two days’ pay
An operations leader I work with launched a state-of-the-art facility, and he operated the facility with 10 hour shifts over four days, otherwise known as 4/10s. A talented employee nearly always called in sick or went AWOL one-day each week. The plant manager finally confronted the guy and asked why he insisted on only working three of the four days required every week. The guy gave a great answer with plenty of gall, “Because I can’t figure out how to pay my bills only working two days.”
An HR leader called me earlier this year with a story that left me without words. If you know me, you know I am rarely speechless. Seems an employee that did great work carrying one of the most positive attitudes ever was terminated for watching porn at work. The most mind-numbing part for me was that this was the guy’s third or fourth warning. I could not help but imagine the unpleasant task for that HR leader having to deliver the warnings, and how mortifying it had to be for the employee on the receiving end. The circumstances are just wild; the guy wasn’t hiding in a private office. But rather worked in an open-office setting with short cubicle walls with half a dozen co-workers. So, I just had to confirm with the HR leader when finding the replacement, was the #1 criteria for the search for the next candidate “no porn”?
Years ago when I worked at Plante Moran the firm had an opportunity to work with Detroit Public Schools (DPS), which it turned down. DPS had an emergency financial manager named Robert Bobb and he had a novel idea. Mr. Bobb required DPS’s 12,000+ employees pick their checks up in person and show ID. Guess what? Mr. Bobb’s procedure worked and eventually uncovered 250 ghost employees. Even today this story blows me away at the chutzpah it takes be a fictitious employee . . . 250 times!!!
Competing against us?
A cannabis client of ours operates a dispensary in a Michigan college town. It is customary in this industry to offer employee discounts. One of the professional back office guys was always running out to meet friends in the parking lot. Turns out he was buying company weed and passing half that discount along by selling to friends and family. Luckily the guy did not get prosecuted, but he did get fired.
No, I won’t cook the books
‘Cooking the books’ to inflate asset values and overstate profits is neither new or novel. A finance “Director” candidate shared a great story. A publicly traded company hired a new CFO following some financial reporting errors that resulted in a deemed “material weakness” in their controls over financial reporting. The company made a genuine effort to remediate . . . but they missed something. A senior finance leader discovered a new error that was material. The CFO protested correcting the error. The Director refused to cook the books. The Director got fired, then hired a lawyer and won a confidential settlement. The CFO got fired anyway.
Got a story to share?
I’ve never been a tabloid reader but I do enjoy hearing these stories. If you’ve got a great story and you’re feeling it, please feel free to share it with me at Bill.Wednieski@theheadhunters-us.com. Thank you for reading our content.