In the hopes of improving employee performance, a Chinese company has implemented an unusual form of punishment for its less productive workers — they must eat live worms in public.
The firm, a home furnishing store in Hanzhong, Shaanxi Province, conducts the unusual penalty in a public square, according to People’s Daily Online (via the Straits Times).
At one such event conducted last Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., 50 employees gathered in the plaza. Two plastic bags were prepared, one with utensils and two bottles of liquor, another containing live yellow mealworms.
To kick off the “program”, the names of five or six under-performing employees were called out. A man then poured some liquor with an additional worm into each cup, and then told the poor fellows to consume them. All of them complied with the orders and drank the entire contents of the individual cups.
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A store employee explained that each worker is required every morning to report their productivity target for the day. Those who fail to meet their own targets are forced to meet their worm-eating fates the following day.
“Today’s punishment is eating worms they bought from a pet market. Four worms for losing one customer,” another employee was quoted as saying.
The man in charge, identified by his surname is Cao, explained in an interview how the company’s “motivational program” works:
“We set sales targets for the next day and everyone signs a guarantee. If anyone fails to achieve the target, he or she will accept the punishment voluntarily,” Mr Cao said.
“The targets are set by employees, with the purpose of self-motivation.”
Observers, however, disagree of the company’s chosen motivational tool, with some critics pointing out that demeaning employees goes against their basic human rights.