If you have watched the Netflix series Selling Sunset, you will know that office drama is RIFE in the LA based real-estate company! Sure, some of it will be for the cameras. But some offices are genuinely that dramatic and toxic - trust me!
I binged the entire series while I was recovering from surgery and I picked up several things that I would address if I was their HR Manager...
Conflicts of Interest
The first thing I noticed within the Oppenheim Group was the cross over between personal and professional relationships. Now, this doesn't have to be a problem, but when it's poorly managed it becomes problematic.
Within the team, you have a historical romantic relationship between Jason (owner) and Mary (agent) which leads to the entire team feeling like Mary is given all the best houses to sell. Then it gets even worse when Jason enters into a relationship with newbie Chrishell (agent). When Brett (owner) gives Chrishell a $10m house to sell, the eye rolls from the team said it all.
In my opinion, the owners could have worked a little hard to ensure there was absolutely no cause for the other agents to feel out of favour compared to the agents with whom they had personal relationships. For example, have a fair system for allocating properties...don't just give the pricey ones to your girlfriend!
In addition, every single one of the agents seemed to struggle to separate professional relationships from being bezzie mates. Consequently, any drama outside of the office spilled over into work which impacted how everyone was feeling and working.
Failure to manage poor behaviour
There's a fine line between allowing your staff to talk about personal things at work and simply failing to manage poor behaviour.
There were SO MANY examples of behaviour at work which was unacceptable; bitch fights at open house events, unethical behaviour with clients and bullying to name a few!
I saw several examples of the owners of the business managing poor performance, but never did you see them attempt to manage the poor conduct issues - WTF?
The only time you ever see anyone trying to manage the behaviour is in one of the later seasons where Mary is promoted to Office Manager and she attempts to discuss Christine's poor attitude. To her credit, she tried to do the right thing, but then she let her emotions take over and completely undermined her position on the point she was trying to make = be professional!
If you listened to Episode 57 of How to HR you'll know where I'm going with this. A lot of drama unfolded at work events on Selling Sunset, particularly at open house events.
Now, the series drama never escalated past women shrieking at each other...but imagine if it had.
Imagine if someone's acrylic nail extension had taken someone's eye out...the company could be vicariously liable for that action. Particularly if there has been previous conflict in the office which hasn't been managed properly. That means the victim of the false nail assault could sue the Oppenheim Group (based on UK law practices at least) despite it not actually being the company's fault directly.
So...if that's not a good enough reason for Lilac HR to take on HR Management for the O Group, I don't know what is!
P.S. If the topics in this blog are causing you concern for your business, let's have a chat.