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Inappropriate Employee Behavior Outside of Work: What Can I Do?

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, where clients and even possibly future recruits may have witnessed this behavior leaving an unfavorable impression.

As employers, we are very limited on what we can do regarding employee’s 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, even 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 allows 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 of 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 our uniform.

One of the most difficult aspects of human resources management is dealing with people. Are you getting inundated with complaints about managers or employees that take you away from more pressing matters? Are you looking for an on-going solution to combat these issues? Strategic HR, inc. has years of experience in employment relations. Visit our Employee Relations page to learn how we can help you resolve some of your toughest ER problems.