The Elephant in the Room is a Cell Phone

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How many times have you heard the expression, “The walls have ears”?

Today, the walls also have eyes and recording capabilities. Air conditioner maker Carrier Corporation found that out the hard way when it announced plans to move its Indianapolis, Indiana, manufacturing facility to Mexico to take advantage of cheap labor.

The elimination of 2,100 jobs at a prospering company stirred outrage from politicians and news media. But, just when it appeared the company’s image couldn’t get worse, it did. An employee with a cellphone secretly recorded a meeting at which a company representative addressed employees, many of whom had served the company for a long time, about their impending job loss. The video went viral and made Carrier appear even more heartless than it was already perceived to be.

The lesson here is clear: be careful with both what you say and how you say it. Carrier had a bad PR situation due to management’s action. The video of the meeting only made it worse.