How to recover from a major HR blunder

by HCA05 Mar 2014
Have you ever sent a sensitive email to the wrong person – or perhaps your entire staff database? This was precisely the blunder that Rosy Zory, chief people officer at media agency Carat, made a few years back, when she accidentally sent details of an unexpected upcoming staff restructure to the entire organisation.
An immediate IT recall failed to get the email back, but fortunately for Zory, her sterling reputation and 20 years of industry experience allowed her to recover – even after her epic HR blunder hit the news.
Now the chief talent officer at Aegis Media, Zory’s blunder serves as an example to HR professionals of just how far-reaching our mistakes can be.
If you’ve made an error that reflects badly on your character or your organisation, try following the PAR (Problem, Action, Result) strategy.
“In any situation, regardless of its severity, you need to accept responsibility and try to affect a positive outcome,” said Dr Peter Fuda, management consultant and thought leader with The Alignment Partnership (TAP).
“In my experience, there is no upside to putting your head in the sand, pointing fingers or obsessively dwelling on the position you are in. Ask yourself one simple question: ‘What is the best outcome from here?’. Once you have defined what the best outcome is, put the steps in place to course correct and move towards that outcome.”
Following a public HR blunder, it’s also important thing to engage in open and clear communication internally, to avoid the issue being blown out of proportion.
“It will help to nip in the bud any rumours or gossip and most importantly, it will help establish trust between employees and the company,” said Marnie Ashe, head of consulting and HR representative for Reload Consulting.
“This way, employees will know that if things go wrong, the company is open and shares information, rather than sweeping blunders under the rug to try and save face.”


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