Boss uses WeChat trick to catch rule breakers

Updated: 2016-01-08 07:56

By Li Yang in Chengdu(China Daily)

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Three employees of a private gas company in Chengdu, Sichuan province, were fined 500 yuan ($83) each on Monday, two hours after they rushed to open a digital hongbao - a red envelope containing money - issued by their boss on the company's WeChat social media group.

Other workers in the group did not open the red envelope until noon break. The boss, surnamed Luo, said he did it on purpose to check who didn't focus on work in the office.

On Dec 31, the company issued a rule banning mobile phone play in the office during working hours starting on Jan 1.

Luo sent the hongbao containing 60 yuan to a group of midlevel managers at the company on the morning of the first workday after the New Year holiday, when he was off on a business trip.

The first person to open Luo's "gift", surnamed Yang, said, "I only got 10 yuan, and then I had to hand back 500 yuan. Anyway, it is my fault, and I broke the rule." He makes about 4,000 yuan a month at the company.

Luo said the gas industry is a special business that can affect the safety of tens of thousands of families.

"The employees should demonstrate due rigorousness and professionalism in their work. And the midlevel managers must set a good example first," he said.

Luo once noticed a worker playing on his mobile phone single-mindedly while at his post at a gas regulator station in the company's branch in Gansu province.

"The worker even did not notice me until I patted him on the shoulder," Luo said. "The young workers have no idea the tragedy an absent-minded moment can cause."

Luo fired the worker instantly. "Otherwise, I couldn't maintain discipline in the team," he said. The company has more than 600 employees.

"To my disappointment, when I sent the money to the group on Monday morning, one person rushed to it instantly, and all three early birds were team leaders in my headquarters," Luo told Chengdu Commercial Daily on Tuesday.

The incident stirred wide debate on the Internet. In a poll conducted by, a news portal headquartered in Beijing, 52 percent of people surveyed said Luo's method of inspection was improper, while the rest said it was necessary to take special means to maintain discipline in a company in such a special industry.

"The management model shows a lack of thoughtfulness by the boss, and will only make more difficulties for his future management because he ruined his employees' trust in him," said Li Yaming, an office clerk at a telecommunication company in Chengdu. "He himself was the first one to violate the rule of not playing with a mobile phone."

Zhang Ying, an adverting firm manager in Beijing, said: "I would rather make friends with my team members. Society runs on morality. The law is only the last resort. Likewise, when a team is held together only by rules, instead of mutual trust and care, it is not a united team anymore."

Xiao Shengfang, a lawyer with Guangdong Lawyers' Association, said: "Luo's action has not violated labor laws. As long as his rules are made in line with the practical needs of his business under a legal framework, he has the power to make the rules count."