Thursday, April 16, 2009

Domino’s employee video goes viral, is poor training to blame?

When you order a pizza you generally trust that none of the toppings have landed in someone’s nose before they made it on your pizza. Right?

Sadly, there’s a new viral video sweeping the Internet that has seriously damaged customers’ trust in one of the country’s most popular pizza chains and two employees are to blame.

A couple of Domino’s employees are now unemployed and facing felony charges after posting videos of themselves defacing food while preparing it for delivery. The videos show an employee breaking various health-code standards including sticking cheese up his nose, putting nasal mucus on sandwiches and passing gas on salami before it made it onto a sandwich.

“We got blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea,” said a Domino’s spokesman, Tim McIntyre, who added that the company was preparing a civil lawsuit. “Even people who’ve been with us as loyal customers for 10, 15, 20 years, people are second-guessing their relationship with Domino’s, and that’s not fair.” (New York Times)

Company President Patrick Doyle has posted a YouTube video of his own apologizing for the unacceptable behavior of these two infamous employees and asks that customers continue their support, despite the embarrassment it has brought to the company.

"You can be the safest driver, you know," McIntyre said. "But there's going to be that Friday night someone's drunk and comes from out of nowhere. You can do the best you can, but there's going to be the equivalent of that drunk driver that hits the innocent victim." (Advertising Age)

You hope that most employees would have enough common sense to refrain from illegal activity at work, let alone film it and post it on YouTube, but some may need a reminder from time to time.

A great way to remind employees how to act online when representing the company is through regular training. After you’ve developed a sound social media policy (read our guidelines for social media use), it’s time to explain the policy and consequences for not following that policy to employees.

How formal or informal your employee social media use training will vary depending on the nature of your business, but should give employees a clear understanding of what is considered acceptable online behavior when representing the company.

There’s no doubt that your policies and social media guidelines will change as new technologies and social networking tools emerge, so it’s best to provide training on an on-going basis.

The best way to defend your company against an unfortunate situation like what Domino’s is going through right now is through preparation. It’s impossible to control what employees will say about you online, but with clear policies, employee training and the proper planning, you’ll be in a much better place to handle any issue.

Do you think poor training could have played a role in Domino’s current dilemma? Does your organization train employees on how to represent the company online?

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