Speak to a qualified consultant on 0333 444 0165

We’ve all watched it at some point, and with the tenth series of The Apprentice gracing our screens it got our team thinking about what a potential HR nightmare the programme is. From firing to hiring, a sequence that surely begins to ring alarm bells with many sensible people, the day to day tasks of the candidates throws up all sorts of interesting questions and lessons for potential employers to consider – and the latest series already has some unique ones of its own…

Two Meetings Then A Cab Ride – Unfair Dismissal?

We’ve all dreamt of being the big boss man like Lord Sugar, able to point the finger and have someone out the door straight away. Of course, it’s a TV programme so should be taken with a more than a pinch of salt, but for new employers that may not know all the ins and outs of employment law it may be worth understanding what a fair disciplinary procedure is.

Unfair dismissal can cost a company thousands, so it’s best to do things by the book. Don’t fly off the handle, unlike what you might see in Sugar’s boardroom, carry out a full and impartial investigation first to establish the truth of the matter and then invite your employee to pitch their side. Being transparent about what the meeting is for, and anything that might come of it, is key to this – not just to keep the employee feeling like their being treated fairly, but also so you can ‘show your working’ so to speak should anything happen.

Going through each warning stage dependent on the level of misconduct, from verbal through to final written, is also a vital part of complying with proper procedure.

Addressing Employee Behaviour

The very first episode of this series brought up some rather strange comments from team leaders and others that may have warranted further questions in a real business environment. ‘Decadence’ team leader Sarah for example advising that her all female team wear short skirts and heels, stating that “People buy from more attractive women”. Not sure that would class as acceptable business behaviour in any other situation.

We’re not even going to get started on candidate Daniel’s comments about making women “do what I want”.

6am Alarm Call & Straight To The Boardroom – Whether They Can Or Not

Ever heard of flexible working rights? Well if you’re an employer you should have, as your staff are entitled to work their own flexible hours unless you can provide a proper business reason for why they can’t. ‘They’ll miss out on the opportunity to be my next business partner’ is certainly not one of them, but if you’ve got any structural changes planned, or just don’t have the work for the periods they’re proposing to work for example; you may have a reason to refuse.


Ok, so there’s probably a fair few things that aren’t quite right about The Apprentice from an HR point of view, but we thought we’d just get you started with a few bits of food for thought before the series gets into full swing.

If you want to try and identify some of the HR procedures or practices in the show that aren’t quite right, or are a new employer that needs a bit more guidance than a Nick Hewer pout, then why not sign up for a free trial of citrusHR and take a look at our management guides?