Employee Behavior Outside of Work: What Can I Do?
By Strategic Human Resource, Inc.
Question: Employees have come to me upset because a group of employees got “a little crazy” at a recent industry conference. The employees complaining shared that they felt like it made the company look bad since they had name tags on that included the company name. What can I do about this? Can I talk with them about their behavior?
Answer: Yes, it would be an appropriate conversation with the group of employees to remind them of professional behavior when they are representing the company. Proudly wearing the company name on their name tag, they are still seen as representatives of the company. Clients and even possible future recruits may have witnessed this behavior leaving an unfavorable impression.
As employers, we are very limited on what we can do regarding employees’ behavior outside of work. However, similar to social media, we do have the right to protect the company interests. If not already in place, it would be suggested to implement a Code of Conduct or Employee Ethics policy. This policy would state the company’s expectations of appropriate behavior from employees, including outside of work. The company can even go as far as to put restrictions on wearing company logoed clothing/hats outside of work. There are obvious downsides to this from a marketing perspective; but, when negative behavior takes the leading role, you don’t want the company name associated with it. Policies such as these provide a notice of expectation and allow the company to take disciplinary action if they feel it is necessary. Finally, be sure to frequently remind employees that when they are wearing anything with the company name on it, they are a representative of the company. If they wish to over-do-it in public, that is their choice; just don’t do it in uniform.
Strategic Human Resources, Inc., is a national full-service HR management firm based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its president and founder, Robin Throckmorton, can be reached at Robin@strategichrinc.com.