Chainsaw Mounir or has work ethics disappeared?

Funny story; painfully funny.

Earlier this week, I was giving a new employee orientation in our Dubai office.

On the first day, after a bit of discussions, this employee asked me for permission to go down to cafe below our office to get coffee. Although we have coffee in our office, (s)he, preferred Starbucks. I said of course, you do not need permission for this or anything similar. Even if you need to go to bank or take care of important personal business, it is OK. The employee said “I just wanted to make sure since some employers do not like their employees to leave the office during working hours.”

I was laughing and I said to myself “Wow, such people still exists”. I said this to myself since we have experienced many problems with employees ethics.

Next morning, I was walking in, and noticed this employee immediately switch the computer screen from Facebook to a job related screen. We allow Facebook and all social media sites at work, reasonable use. Reasonable use means, a few minutes here and there but not few hours.

Later that day, I had to leave early for urgent business. The same thing on the second day. However, something was bothering me since some actions I was requesting were not happening.

Because of significant abuse in the past, we had installed a computer tracking tool that gives us report on time spent on computer. It is a very powerful tool. When we suspect something, we turn the tool on, just to be fair to an employee since we do not want to judge someone based on gut feelings. I know – I know; employees will say this is not fair. It is fair because if someone is really working – the tool will show. And it is fair to us (employers) because if the employee is not working it shows and we can warn the employee.

OK Back to the employee

Orientation done, I came back to Lebanon with clear guidelines to this employee on what needs to be done and how to start working and learning about our business.

On my first day away from Dubai, I noticed that two or three emails went to this team member with no answers.

It was time for action. I reached to the tool for a report on how was the time being spent. Here comes the shock. Just look at the images here:

About 2.5 days on the job

About 2.5 days on the job

The last day on the job

The last day on the job

During this 3 day period (one image shows 2.5 days and another shows less than one day), the employee was suppose to be studying our website to learn about us, write questions, so we can continue the orientation on a daily basis.

It is clear from these reports that the employee was everywhere and visiting SUKAD site “every now and then”.

I tried to give the employee the benefits of the doubts and asked – ok – “Our daily meeting is in one hour, have you made a list of questions to discuss?” The answer came “I have been browsing the website all day and all is clear – no questions yet”. Now we know from the tool that this employee did not access the site, except a minute here and there, until after 3 pm. The data also show that in almost 6 hours, the employee was on our site less than one hour. It is worth noting that all the other sites in the images above are NOT-WORK related.

Cat & MouseI played dumb and blocked Facebook. Yes, I know – it is like playing cat and mouse.

The employee tried to access Facebook – but “restricted access” message was waiting. Tried again – same results. Tried again – same results; 5 tries in total. One would think the employee would learn and go back to work. No – the employee went on for other sites that are not blocked – for personal things; not work related.

The bottom line

First, abuse of company policy and use of company times – more than 80% of the working hours for personal time. I know about the 80/20 rule but one would think 80% company – 20% personal but in this case it was the opposite. Problem 1 – not working.

Second, when asked if (s)he has questions – the employee said all clear. How can an new employee come to a new company in a domain they have no experience in, and spend 3 days – without having a single question? Something was not making any sense. When the data show the employee was not even on the website, (s)he lied and said “all day on website”. Problem 2 – lying.

Third, when we showed the employee the data – the lie continued (actually changed) – and said “I was browsing the books in the office”. Problem 3 – changed the lie.

Fourth, when Facebook was blocked, the employee went on to other personal activities – not work. Problem 4 – if one distraction does not work, find another.

The above – does not even include the distractions on the phone and WhatsApp.

Time to say goodbye!

Now, in the employee mind we are the unethical people.


About Mounir Ajam

Mounir Ajam is eager to awaken the giant of project management within individuals, organizations, and nations! He is an experienced executives with global experience working on projects from the United States to Japan and in between. He has been privileged to work on multiple small projects and mega projects. Mounir is an author, volunteer leader, speaker, consultant, executive coach, and entrepreneur who is open for further learning and sharing.
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