When a headline screams out
‘Spirit of David Brent alive and well’
you know that you want to read the story, just in case there’s dancing involved.
However, the article was not about a paper firm in Slough. Instead it’s Harris Interactive: “the [turn on deep radio advert voice] 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world …” according to its website.
The firm is in the process of consolidating its three Manchester offices, with 10–15 employees losing their jobs as a result. In parallel with this rationalisation, the European president emailed line managers with a revised company policy on office-based leaving parties and email announcements.
“office space must not be used during work hours for leaving events, and email is not to be used for mass communication of any leaving social event”.
(Leaving dos and broadcast emails are ok if you’re retiring, moving away because your spouse has got a job at the other end of the country or you’re a full-time graduate intern. Doesn't look like leaving to work for a competitor or just waking up one morning and deciding to stop working for HI counts!)
Seems that the timing of the memo ties in with the imminent demand for leaving parties. Great for an already battered staff morale I’m sure.
Now, all companies are within their rights to impose their own policies on staff, in line with what they think is best. But whereas disgruntled employees would have previously fumed, muttered and been a bit less productive for a few days, today's world allows them to express their dissatisfaction by contacting the national press.
I suspect that Harris Interactive will be in a slightly larger font on the blogosphere's tag cloud by the end of the day.
I've added a Technorati chart that should prove (or disprove) the hypothesis.