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Here’s a new twist on outsourcing – a developer outsourced his work to China, unbeknowst to his employer, paid them a fraction of his salary, and spent his days watching cat videos. While his choice of how to spend his newly-aquired free time may be questionable, there’s no doubt that his enterprising attitude could be an asset at the right company. Think about it – he showed initiative, he problem-solved, he was detail-oriented, he focused on the bottom-line (his), and he multitasked. Aren’t these qualities we are always listing on job postings?
And it’s what we want, really. Just, hopefully, most of our hires will deploy these skills for the benefit of the company, instead of just for themselves. So what’s the takeaway for HR here? Employees will do as little work as possible when given the chance? If the work is getting done, don’t look deeper to see how or why?
No, the truly intersting part of this case is that the company wasn’t aware at all of this deception. It was only reports showing a computer connecting from China that tipped them off at all. So managers must have been asleep for this guy to have watched every cat video on the internet while he was at work. The true takeaway here is there’s no replacement for showing up – and in this situation, I mean the managers. If they’d been more aware of this guy’s daily activities, they would have seen a disconnect between the “work” he submitted and his daily schedule (reprinted below for your amusement). Seriously, if someone sat at a workstation at your office and did this all day, every day, wouldn’t somebody have noticed?
9:00 a.m. – Arrive and surf Reddit for a couple of hours. Watch cat videos.
11:30 a.m. – Take lunch.
1:00 p.m. – Ebay time.
2:00 – ish p.m Facebook updates – LinkedIn.
4:30 p.m. – End of day update e-mail to management.
5:00 p.m. – Go home.
Ok, another day, another athlete to learn from. Let’s see what we can glean from the Manti Te’o scandal to improve our HR skills.
For those of you who only follow real news, the Manti Te’o scandal is basically this – he’s a football player, up for the Heisman, who has a girlfriend, who died. Except he never met her in person, it was all online, she didn’t really exist (so never died) and he may (or may not) have been in on the hoax. Notre Dame performs a cursory investigation, with no interviews, no looking into emails, cell phone records or other electronic communications, and swiftly proclaims Te’o a “victim”.
Now, I bet some supersharp HR pros out there can already pinpoint a few things Notre Dame did wrong here (Hint – the word cursory is a clue!).