Happy Hour’ is an HR Dive column from Reporter Ginger Christ. Follow along as she dives into some of the offbeat news in the HR space.
“Think you’ve had a bad day at work? Well, unless you watched someone in a pirate hat get electrocuted on stage in front of your whole company, I got you beat.”
Launched Aug. 15, Murder in HR — a Murder Mystery Podcast invites human resources professionals to consider that however bad their day was, it probably doesn’t beat that of Jemma, a fictional employee experience manager who watches a co-worker get murdered on her first day at an AI startup focused on nautical performance enhancement, or ships, aptly named Piece of Ship.
The podcast follows Jemma — played by Kate Mara of House of Cards fame — and the company’s chief people officer Nicholas — voiced by Brett Gelman, known for his role as Murray Bauman, the oddball investigative journalist/private investigator/Russia conspiracist in Stranger Things — as they investigate their colleagues using HR tricks of the (sea) trade.
Presented by Gympass, a fitness and wellness partner network for companies, Murder in HR is meant to play into the stereotypes of working in HR and give talent pros a reprieve from the stressors of their daily slog.
“The TLDR is that like there's a ton of very logical, very helpful, very rational content out there for HR, and as we were looking at the landscape and we were chatting with our customers, we realized that there wasn't a whole lot of content out there that would connect with them in an empathic way and in a way in which that would connect with some of the trials and tribulations of their job,” Gympass Chief Marketing Officer Ryan Bonnici told HR Dive.
“We wanted to create something that would lighten their day and give them something to look forward to outside of the #HRviolations that they're dealing with on a daily basis,” he said.
And that’s where murder comes in, apparently.
Gympass asked its clients to anonymously share some of the wildest stories they’ve encountered in their time in HR and was “inundated with responses from HR leaders around the world,” Bonnici said. The company then used those anecdotes to inspire the characters of the podcast.
“It was so fun working to build out the storylines for these characters, leaning into HR tropes, leaning into startup tropes, leaning into the stereotype of the fanatical, crazy CEO,” he said. “The challenge in HR is that it involves people, and people are unpredictable.”
I won’t share any spoilers — and to be honest, I can’t, because the podcast is only on the fourth installment of its 12-episode run — but I definitely found myself pulled in deep by Murder in HR’s premise and catchy theme music. I’m ready to put my elementary school-honed Clue skills to the test.