Norm Brodsky's 5 Most Controversial Business Ideas

Joshua Sheldon/Photonica
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Employee Referrals Cause Trouble

After a series of troubles tied to employees who had recommended their friends and family for jobs, Brodsky banned the practice of hiring relatives and associates. He even fired a woman who had sought an exemption for her friend and, when it was not granted, hired her anyway hoping that their relationship would not be discovered. “Understand, the rule was not a matter of convenience,” Brodsky says. “On the contrary, it was easier and cheaper to rely on staff recommendations... But I couldn't accept the number of good employees we were losing by hiring friends and relatives who didn't work out.” (For more, read "Firing Carlotta", May 2005.)