Over the last few days, I have seen some of the worst business and employment decisions and practices related to this COVID-19 pandemic. Below are actual events and true stories, from which I hope business owners and employers will learn.
A number of businesses and employers have “placed their head in the sand” and have done absolutely nothing in response to the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the things I have seen and heard are:
“We don’t need to advise our employees of the health risks they only need to wash their hands.”
“We don’t want to offer a work from home program because we will lose money.”
“Our employees are lazy and if we send them home, they will not work.”
“If employees won’t work, they can quit.”
“We don’t want to tell our employees anything because we don’t want to give them any ideas that they don’t have to work.”
In one instance, just last night, I visited a local ice cream parlor. Behind the counter, I recognized the owner. He was the only one working. I jokingly stated that I was honored to have the “Big Cheese” serving us. The owner responded angrily by telling me that his employees who were scheduled to work that day had all called in sick or had told him that they did not want to jeopardize their own health or the health of others. He was angry with this.
“All we have to do is have plenty of wipes.”
“We will simply clean the workplace on a daily basis, and everyone can still come to work.”
“Everyone is responsible to clean up their own workplace and equipment and we will be fine.”
“While other places are closed, my business is different.”
“We have posted coronavirus signs all around the office, that’s enough.”
The consequences of all this can and will be catastrophic to businesses and employers. Rhetorically speaking — Who would want to work for an employer which does not take employees’ health and safety seriously? Who would want to work for an employer which does not care about employees’ health and safety? What type of messages do ignorance, selfishness and greed give to employees? I think you see the point.
What will most certainly occur is that employees will call in sick; protest; decrease their work productivity; and post numerous negative reviews about your business on Glassdoor, Yelp and virally on social media.
Of course, the employees will most likely quit, either now or sometime later. These employees will go viral into the workplace, increasing the load on our healthcare system. And, once healthy, they will find a new job with any business or employer who cares more about their employees, than the business’ own bottom line.
Surely, if the employees then go to work for a competitor, the competitor will take full advantage of the fact of how their adversary mistreats employees, is greedy and selfish and does not take significant global issues seriously. The competitor will then spread this “negative press” to not only the business community, but possibly to mutual clients, customers and vendors. There is no need to explain what can and will happen next.