The Snitch

Just a little of everything HR

When employees tarnish the company image

with 2 comments

Uh oh. Just recently, a video with two Domino’s Pizza employees in the United States was circulated on YouTube where they were filmed putting cheese in nostrils and passing gas on food.

Soon the internet exploded with the news of the video. As the video quickly gained over one million views,  people on social networking site Twitter started talking about it. Public outrage ensued and this became a public relations nightmare for the pizza chain.

While the two staff were identified, promptly  sacked and are now possibly facing jail-time, this is a case where “pranks” (as the two employees had called it) can bring about horrible consequences for the employees. Closer to home, DBS Bank recently got into some negative press when its vice-president for consumer banking group cards,  Josie Lau, openly breached the code of conduct twice by volunteering to be the president of activist group AWARE and the bank had to issue a statement to declare that the organisation did not support her actions.

So what did Domino’s do to manage this crisis?

First, the president of Domino’s, Patrick Doyle, made a YouTube video addressing the two employees’ conduct and apologizing for this behaviour. Then, the company started a Twitter account to respond and address individual questions and criticisms, as well as collect and highlight comments from their supporters.

But the damage is done. According to a survey conducted by HCD Research found that 65% of espondents who would previously visit or order Domino’s Pizza were less likely to do so after viewing the video.

But as HR practitioners, do you have a contingency plan for when employees misbehave or flout the codes of conduct? Is your company prepared to manage a public relations nightmare? What would you have done in Domino’s situation?

Have trouble loading the video? Why not check your company or computer’s firewall settings to make sure that Youtube videos can be streamed on your computer.


Written by Human Resources

April 23, 2009 at 10:27 am

2 Responses

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  1. I followed this story in the week and was waiting to see how they responded. Clearly Patrick Doyle is unhappy by this situation and rightly so as his week has probably be ruined.

    What’s key here is what the company does long term to ensure this doesn’t happen again. An apology is one thing – but how they engage training and HR to try and prevent these type of nightmares happening again is another thing…

    On a separate note, every company should have a social media crisis mgmt plan. It’s too late to get one when the ‘not so nice’ story gets into the media and goes viral.

    Ian Grundy

    April 23, 2009 at 6:06 pm

  2. My two cents – had Domino been in the social media scene proactively instead of as a reaction towards this crisis, the impact of the prank will be lessened. Social media is about trust – when you get into the fray only as a damage limitation exercise, it’s too late.


    April 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm

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