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Staff After Hours Activities – Should You Be Worried?

Group of happy people workers. Over gray background.

HOW WORRIED SHOULD YOU BE ABOUT WHAT YOUR EMPLOYEES DO AFTER HOURS?

The moment you hire an employee, they become a representative of your company. They are your company’s brand, your company’s vault, and your company’s asset. You don’t control their lives, but in many ways they control yours. This is because your company’s success can live or die on their behaviors both inside and outside of the workplace.

A great source of information on staff issues is available from the The Recruit Shop who recently shared some insights into how to manage what employees do away from the work place. The rest of this blog is based on information from a recent news story mixed in with my own experiences in recruiting.

The Concern Over After Hours Behaviours

What your employees do after hours can matter. There are things they can be doing, saying, or participating in that can have a negative effect on your company. But how much should you worry, how much should you ignore, and what can be done to control damaging behavior?

 Things Worth Worrying About:

Social Media – Clearly visible, easy to share, and often filled with spur of the moment thoughts, an employee’s social media account does matter. You can’t necessarily control what they say in private (nor should you try to), but you should at least be aware of whether or not the employee is announcing their employment and then sharing information that reflects well on the company, or if they are possibly branding your company poorly.

Job Applications – Perhaps the after hours activity you have to worry about most isn’t a bad behaviour at all, but rather a symptom of a mindset. Employees that are looking for new jobs may be doing so as a result of a problem within your company that you are currently unaware of, or underestimating the impact of. It is also possible that they have lost their loyalty to your company or are hungry for a new challenge. Either possibility opens the door for a variety of future problems, so it is important that you maintain an open channel of communication between your employees and their direct supervisors to ensure that you aren’t met with surprise resignations.

 Things Don’t Matter As Much as You Think:

Some problems although severe, are not issues which require attention from you personally. This is because you cannot necessarily control many of these issues on an employee level, but rather only protect your company from them at an overall level. These include:

Contract Breaches – A contract breach is a broken promise. Contracts are put in place to prevent individuals from behaviours outside of what the company deems acceptable. Contract breaches can be severe events, so why aren’t they worth spending too much time worrying about? Because within each contract is legal language that protects the company from the liabilities associated with the items in the contract. On a macro-level, your company should always worry about contract breaches. But on an individual-by- individual level, there isn’t much reason to worry. Employees are unlikely to break a contract, and if they do, generally they are the ones in the most trouble.

Privacy Issues – Chances are that within your company is a considerable amount of data, of both personal and professional nature. A breach in privacy, such as if an employee take private information home with them or shares it with others, can be a disaster to your company. But, like with contract breaches, the most you can reasonably do is set up standards in place to protect yourself and educate employees on what is acceptable and not acceptable. Once you’ve set those standards, there is no benefit to worrying about their after hours activity – only making sure you continue to keep your standards and legal safeguards in place.

 Preventing After Hours Problems

Create Policy – At a minimum, you should have policies in place so that employees know exactly what they need to do at all times, and what is expected of them in the company. This is especially true for having a company-wide social media policy (that discourages sharing negative information that could reflect poorly on the company), a privacy policy, and more. Sometimes employees are simply ignorant of what they can and cannot do. Strong policy helps discourage unwanted behaviors.

Encourage Loyalty – No amount of oversight can prevent employees from illegal or reprehensible activities. For example, an employee that is going to steal credit card details is likely to do so if they can get their hands on them. It’s up to your company to limit access to these things, but if they are planning to break the law they usually know what they’re doing.

What you can do, however, is encourage employee loyalty. Offer good pay. Treat your employees with a great deal of respect. Show them that you value them at all times. Employees that are loyal to the company are far less likely to engage in negative behaviors, leave for other jobs, share industry secrets, and more, because they are loyal to you just as you are loyal to them.

If you need help in recruiting staff or implementing policies to protect your business and build staff loyalty, contact Hall of Fame Recruitments Solutions, part of the Hall of Fame Business Group Australia incorporating Hall of Fame Marketing

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