Chinese ‘incentive scheme’ sees staff shamed on social media for not meeting sales targets

Ten employees of home furnishings company had photo taken as they held up signs reading ‘Freeloader Award’ and ‘Warning’

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 7:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 7:03pm

An “incentive scheme” for staff at a home furnishings company in northwest China resulted in 10 of them being shamed on social media because they didn’t hit their sales targets.

The employees of the firm in Baoji, Shaanxi province had their photo taken as they held up signs reading “Freeloader Award” and “Warning” when they did not meet sales benchmarks, China Business News reported on Monday.

The photos were posted on WeChat and other staff were told to forward them, according to the report. They were later deleted, but one of the 10 employees told the newspaper it had been an insulting experience.

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The men in the group were also told to do 200 push-ups, while the women had to do 200 squats, according to another of the staff members.

Gao Fang, the company’s marketing director, said the punishment had been organised by a consultant in an effort to boost employees’ key performance indicators (KPIs).

But when the company’s management saw the photos, they immediately told all employees to delete them from their WeChat accounts, Gao said. After further discussion with the consultant, the company decided not to proceed with the recommended “incentive scheme”.

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Shaanxi-based lawyer Shi Liang told the newspaper that the “insulting” action was a violation of employee rights and prohibited by labour and other laws. He said employees involved had the right to seek compensation.

Commenting on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, many people were outraged by the idea.

One Shaanxi-based user wrote that it was “disrespectful to the employees and would not help clients to get genuine customer service”.

Another person in Fuzhou wrote: “If sales are bad, you can fire the employees – no need to embarrass them.”