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It’s Going to Be a Bad Day HR’s Worst Morning Crises

June 1, 1999
Related Topics: The HR Profession, Featured Article
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When we asked you to identify the worst crisis you ever faced first thing in the morning, one respondent asked, "Aren’t all HR problems a crisis from someone’s perspective?"

Clearly the answer is yes: One person’s crisis ("the fax machine wasn’t working") is another person’s minor inconvenience. Still, with all due respect, some crises seem distinctly more serious than others. This year, we were particularly struck by the remarkable number of you who have faced workplace violence. Here are some of the other crises you shared. We aren’t so presumptuous as to say any one is the worst, but collectively, they show the range of problems faced by HR:

  1. Four women got into a fight during class. They all had to go to the hospital by ambulance.
  2. Employees that were held at gunpoint during a robbery needed counseling.
  3. I had to report a stolen car after an employee didn’t return with a corporate vehicle.
  4. Medical insurance was canceled in error over the weekend.
  5. A rogue supervisor started a mutiny. There were petitions and mass resignations.
  6. The morning newspaper included a letter to the editorfrom an employee that charged racial discrimination.
  7. Lightning struck one of our employees through his computer.
  8. No espresso for our French staff. Eeeeck!
  9. Placed an order for 10 temps, and none reported.
  10. A high-level sales employee, who was supposed to be making sales calls, instead had flown to Las Vegas, gone on a drinking binge and was gambling using the corporate credit card.
  11. A female employee pursued a male co-worker. When he did not respond, she killed his cat.
  12. An employee was trapped at the airport in Lithuania. I had to get diplomatic authorities to intervene.
  13. I came back from vacation to find that five vice presidents had resigned after receiving their bonuses.
  14. Union organizers were onsite passing out cards.
  15. We had to justify our entire budget by 11:30 or lose $500,000 in funds.

Workforce, June 1999, Vol. 78, No. 6, p. 48.

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