The Downside of Employees' Good Intentions

The Downside of Employees' Good Intentions Image: Granny Enchanted, via Wikimedia Commons

Bosses will complain about lazy and uninspired workers, but what about those who are too eager to please? While they may seem to be positive additions to any workplace, Constangy, Brooks & Smith partner Robin Shea warns that their desire to go the extra mile could land you in legal hot water.

On Employment & Labor Insider, Shea cites a number of cases in which workers carrying out missions to make their bosses happy got them in trouble instead, including the infamous Watergate break-in.

To encourage eager workers not to cut corners or violate laws, Shea suggests the following:

  • Set performance goals that are realistic, to avoid off-the-clock work.
  • Ensure that employees understand safety, ethical and legal considerations come first when carrying out any work task.
  • Make workers aware that there is a mechanism in place that allows them to report potential violations/problems without being retaliated against by their supervisor.
  • Set an example: Talk to your workers about how you chose to act responsibly in a “sticky” situation.
  • Investigate any issues brought to your attention, and take action promptly.
  • Reward honesty and employees willing to give you bad news.
  • If you say the wrong thing in front of your workers, clarify your true feelings immediately before they act on the inappropriate suggestion.
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