There is so much to every Bond film that we don’t see. You’d probably lose the audience’s attention if you start looking into Bond’s performance management meetings, or worse, if a Bond film started focusing on his regular meetings with HR for sexual harassment.

But still, you can’t help thinking – how did he get away with that? And then you start thinking – I wonder what I’d have done if I were his HR manager? So let’s take a look at Bond’s antics, and what MI6 may have done – or should have done.

How far can office banter go?

You may think that James Bond is the only one at fault, but have a look at this “office banter” from GoldenEye, back in 1995:

Miss Moneypenny: You know, this sort of behaviour could qualify as sexual harassment.
James Bond: Really. What’s the penalty for that?
Miss Moneypenny: Someday, you’ll have to make good on your innuendos.

Nobody wants to stamp down on office banter, for fear that you’ll create a stifled atmosphere and reduce engagement. Banter does keep morale up, and when it comes to Bond and Moneypenny, the banter almost never stops. In this case, you probably want to keep a close eye on the relationship between Bond and Moneypenny, and if they appear to step over the line, then a quiet word with both protagonists separately is the best idea.

You certainly want to keep an eye on them at the Christmas Party. Then again, if you hear this conversation, you probably want to have a word with Mr Bond before it goes any further:

James Bond: What would I ever do without you?
Miss Moneypenny: As far as I can remember, James, you’ve never had me.
James Bond: Hope springs eternal.

Bond gets rebellious

Most recently, in Casino Royale, Bond was seen secretly accessing his boss’s computer in order to get information about a villain’s henchman. He then ignores his orders, and flies off to the Caribbean. Two issues here: first of all, Bond breaks into his boss’s house and accesses secure information using her password, and secondly, M needs to change her password.

At the very least, this would have resulted in a written warning for Bond, and many other employees would have been fired for such misdemeanours. As it was, M’s approach was to follow Bond, and insert a tracking device in his arm. It’s not a tactic that HR managers around the world would recommend, but it worked.

In Licence To Kill, Bond went AWOL again, ignoring his orders in order to pursue revenge against the people who attacked his best friend. As Bond attacked M’s bodyguards and ran off, M decided to leave Bond to his own devices, which was probably – in this case – the best thing to do.

However, imagine one of your employees ignoring his or her own workload, and doing their own personal work during office hours. Far from acceptable, and a performance management programme would need to be implemented to ensure that targets were being met. You can’t spend your time standing over an employee’s shoulder, and if the employee decides to resign – well, sometimes it’s for the best!

Equally, Bond resigned on this occasion, as he did in Casino Royale where he sent M an e-mail. Did he work his notice period? The statutory minimum is a week, but we suspect 007 would have been tied into a much longer notice period, given the length of his duty (50 years now!)

Bond needs some time off

In Skyfall, we see an emotionally troubled James Bond, who clearly fails all of the tests required for him to carry on working. His shooting is off, he’s described as an alcoholic by a psychological profiler, and he’s clearly barely able to do a few pull-ups. However, M lets him carry on, perhaps because she’s too ‘sentimental’ about her favourite agent.

When it comes to employee wellness, there’s no room for sentimentality. In this case, regardless of the business objectives (and the eventual outcome), Bond should have been given time off in favour of another agent. It’s Bond’s manager’s role to discern whether her employee is fit for work or not, and to therefore recommend a strategy for getting Bond fit for work.

Perhaps, though, there was a whole scene in Skyfall with Bond calling up the employee counselling helpline, set up through the Company Wellness Scheme? Perhaps we missed the hours of counselling, and Bond consulting company documents on healthy eating and how to get a good night’s sleep.

But that’s our responsibility – if we have unwell employees, we need to help them get back to full productivity, otherwise they risk making mistakes at work. By putting Bond back ‘in the field’, M was doubtlessly endangering his life, but also the productivity of MI6.

What of the contractual details?

Finally, what is Bond’s contract like? Does he work traditional hours of 9 to 5, or is he a freelancer? Is he paid inbetween missions, or does he get a bonus for every kill he makes?

Drawing up a contract for a spy can’t be easy. Equally, where is his place of work? Bond travels all over the globe, but is he expected to spend a certain amount of time at MI6 headquarters?

Equally, how does Bond work out his expenses? In Casino Royale, we see him whipping out the company credit card on several occasions, only for M to cancel all his cards at the airport.

There are so many unanswered questions about HR’s role in the Bond films, but perhaps it’s best that they go unanswered.