- Blog post
Guy outsources his own job: What would you do with him?
As an employer, you certainly hope that your employees are enterprising, innovative people determined to get results as efficiently as possible. But we’re willing to bet you didn’t have something like this in mind:
Verizon recently published a case study describing an employee for a U.S.-based infrastructure company who outsourced his responsibilities to a Chinese firm, giving them about 20% of his six-figure salary for their efforts. The scheme worked so well that he started picking up freelance jobs on the side, farming those out as well. In all he’s estimated to have made $200,000 a year (after paying his contractors) for sitting around — using his free time to play around on Facebook and Reddit — while someone on the other side of the world did his job for him.
And lest you think someone noticed his shoddy work, his performance reviews were exemplary, highlighting in particular that his assignments were always pristine and on time. In fact, in one instance he was called the best developer at the company!
Ultimately the jig was up for this enterprising employee when the company uncovered someone accessing their materials from somewhere in China, whereupon he was fired.
On the one hand, the company was absolutely justified in firing him. His actions were deceptive and constituted a serious security breach. But on the other hand, the employee managed to turn in stellar results by thinking outside the box and delegating tasks to other skilled people. Stripped of any context, aren’t those exactly the kind of traits you look for in a manager?
This question sparked quite a debate in our office. So we want to know what you think: If you were in charge of an employee like this, would you fire him or promote him? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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I’d give the guy a promotion. I might not give him a raise (because yes, he did something wrong, and clearly he was OK on money), but I’d do what I could to keep him around.
This story struck a nerve with me. Many years ago when I owned a cleaning business, an employee and his underlings would finish cleaning some theaters for me in half the time I had allotted. In the middle of the night, they would then sneak to another cleaning job and work for another company for the remaining hours. I obviously paid for time I didn’t receive. The work was barely acceptable. It continued for 4 months. I was finally told by one of the employees when they had a falling out. I was personally embarrassed that I was so duped, and fired him because he could never be trusted again. I didn’t hire him to be enterprising. People who are pre-wired to be this deceptive are not welcome on my team. Nobody sleeps well when they’re constantly wondering if they’re being deceived. Had the guy in your example asked if he could delegate duties, that would have been perfectly honorable.
I’d definitely utilize his talents to help each department/function come up to speed and receive the same stellar reviews he received for a song. He is clearly an excellent manager, is able to outsource and train good talent which indicates good communicator skills to boot. I would have legal put a special contract together for him as well as include verbiage in my company handbook to prevent this type of behavior going forward yet encourage entrepreneurial ideas as such which have to be run past executive management first for approval prior to implementation of course with the proper rewards and recognition in place.
I would hire the person who was doing the “stellar” work and let them work remotely. It seems to be working