We’ve previously written about the underrated wonders of Ask A Manager, a long-running blog where readers send in their difficult questions about workplace management issues and consultant Alison Green does her best to answer them. Trust us – it’s wild.
Think of it as the 9-5 version of Slate’s relationship column Dear Prudence, a dark and deep look at office micro-aggressions, miscommunications and completely cooked internal relations. What most appeals is the combination of everyday quandaries – (‘who keeps stealing my pens, and why? why?’) – with the truly bizarre H&R issues of “an employee keeps putting curses on her coworkers“, or, as we last covered, “what do I do when an ex-lover I ghosted is about to be my new boss?”.
This new entry, however, reaches a new height of awkwardness, as a hospitality manager writes in to ask: what do I do when an employee tells our CEO they need to address the ghosts in the building?
The issue, as it almost always does, stems from simple admin: at the end of their shift, the employee rostered on reception has to fill out a report, detailing any large-scale maintenance issues. It’s sent to several tiers of management, all the way to the CEO. They write:
Apparently the staff member who works weekend mornings sent out an email that included several things that did not belong on her shift report, including that the department was out of printer paper and staples, and that the desk calculator was starting to break.
Okay, so no biggie. Nothing here that can’t be sorted out with another reminder – perhaps, if it persists, some sort of template sheet which outlines what not to include.
But then the emailer details how they were “stumped on how to address the other thing”, explaining that the report went into a lot of details about guests flagging potential ghost sightings:
Apparently multiple guests asked her “if we have had any reports of ghosts,” and she thought that this was a reasonable thing to mention on her daily report! She didn’t just mention it, actually — she went into full detail about what the guests told her. According to her long paragraph describing the incident, multiple people claimed to see “a shadow of a silhouette outside [the door],” “including children” so “they don’t think it was because they had too much to drink.” This was in a section labeled “Issues to be Addressed”!
The manager continues to say the issue itself isn’t the ghosts themselves (they say they’re “willing to be convinced!” on the whole paranormal front), but that the employee thought it was appropriate:
I’m really blindsided by the level of judgment… belief in the supernatural aside, surely she should have realised that guests asking about rumours of a haunted old building wasn’t exactly an actionable complaint that needed to be elevated to management?
For the manager, it speaks to a larger issue: their employees lack the ability to judge situations, and having only recently moved into the manager role, they’re struggling to weed that out.
Alison agrees that it’s a massive lapse in judgement, says that the need to tell workers to not email their CEO about ghosts suggests that something larger is amiss at the hotel.
By that, she means employee standards, completely ignoring the fact that there’s an issue that multiple customers think the building is haunted. That’s bad PR, people!
Yep, readers, I’m going to take a stand: this ghost-hunting employee is onto something.
Perhaps she’s not suggesting that there are ghosts, but rather that the company ‘need to address’ their impending image crisis?
Or, considering that these ghost sightings appeared all at once, maybe something spooky is going on? Not necessarily paranormal, but more like an intruder?
Or maybe there’s a gas leak. Anyway, the comments all agree with me: this employee handled it poorly, but was in the right to address the ghost rumours. One day, she’ll be validated, but at what cost? In the meantime, you can read the whole ordeal here – and be sure to leave a pro-employee comment.
Source: Ask A Manager
Image credit: Scooby Doo