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From Doug to HR: Effective Communication Strategies Inspired by The King of Queens

I believe pop culture, such as TV shows, movies, music, and books, can provide valuable insights and lessons that are easily relatable. I am a huge fan of King of Queens reruns and I believe this show not only provides entertainment but also has valuable lessons on communication strategies that can be useful to HR professionals. In this blog post, I’ll delve into some of the specific episodes of King of Queens that highlight these lessons. If you haven’t caught an episode lately, you must add it to your list!  


Active Listening  

In the King of Queens episode “Strike Out,” Doug and Carrie’s disagreement was over a new company policy that required employees to sign a document stating that they had read and understood the company’s new policy. Doug’s frustration stemmed from feeling like he was being unfairly targeted and accused of something he hadn’t done. On the other hand, Carrie, who had experience as a human resources representative for a different company, believed that the policy was necessary to protect everyone in the workplace. 

The specific breakdown in communication occurred because Carrie did not properly explain the new policy to Doug, causing him to feel frustrated and unheard. Instead of actively listening to Carrie’s perspective and trying to understand why the policy was necessary, Doug became defensive and dismissive. This lack of communication not only caused tension between Doug and Carrie but also spilled over into their work lives, impacting their relationships with colleagues and management. 

The lesson from this episode is that effective communication requires active listening and an openness to different perspectives. Often, employees feel personally targeted by a company’s policies, but in reality, policies are designed to better serve the needs of the team as a whole. HR professionals must take the time to explain policies and changes clearly and address employee concerns to build trust and collaboration in the workplace. Employees, in turn, must be willing to listen and engage in constructive dialogue to ensure that communication breakdowns are avoided. 

Consistent Communication  

In the episode “Buggie Nights,” we see the consequences of inconsistent communication. Carrie is keeping a secret from Doug about a purchase she made for their house. She hides the purchase from Doug, but the secret becomes too much to bear, and she eventually tells him. However, Doug is upset with Carrie for not telling him sooner and for hiding things from him. This leads to miscommunications and misunderstandings between the two, causing tension in their relationship. 

This scenario is similar to the workplace, where inconsistent communication can cause confusion and frustration among employees. For example, if an HR department implements a new policy or procedure but only communicates it through one channel, such as email, not all employees may receive the message. This can lead to misunderstandings and resentment among employees who were not informed of the change. This communication should also include an extension of follow-up, creating a space for your employees to ask questions or give feedback. It’s important for HR professionals to ensure that company policies and changes are communicated clearly and consistently across all channels, including email, memos, meetings, and employee handbooks. This will help to ensure that all employees are on the same page and that there are no misunderstandings or miscommunications.  

Simple Language  

In “Eggsit Strategy,” Doug is tasked with writing a speech for his boss, but he struggles to understand the technical terms and jargon in the content he was given. Thankfully, Doug’s friend Deacon was able to explain everything to him in simple terms that he could understand. This episode demonstrates the importance of using simple language in communication, especially in a workplace setting where employees may come from different backgrounds and levels of expertise.  

HR professionals should avoid using technical terms or jargon that may be confusing to employees and instead use simple language that everyone can understand. This can prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Using simple language can also make employees feel more included and valued, as they are not excluded from important conversations due to a lack of technical knowledge. In this way, using simple language can improve overall communication and collaboration in the workplace. 

Encourage Participation  

Encouraging feedback from employees is vital to improving the work environment and increasing job satisfaction. It allows employees to feel heard and valued, and it also enables employers to make informed decisions that benefit both parties. In the “Block Buster” episode, Doug’s experience at the retreat exemplifies this. 

During the retreat, Doug initially felt out of place and uncomfortable, but he eventually took the opportunity to connect with his colleagues and listen to their perspectives. By actively seeking feedback, Doug was able to gain a better understanding of his colleagues’ concerns and suggestions for improving the workplace. In turn, he was able to communicate this feedback to management, which ultimately led to positive changes within the company. 

To encourage feedback from employees, HR professionals can implement various strategies such as conducting anonymous surveys, creating suggestion boxes, and holding regular check-ins with employees. Additionally, providing open communication channels such as town hall meetings or regular one-on-one meetings with managers can also encourage employees to voice their concerns and suggestions. By making these efforts, HR professionals can foster a culture of collaboration and trust, which ultimately benefits both employees and the company as a whole. 


In conclusion, King of Queens provides valuable insights for HR professionals looking to improve their communication strategies. By learning from the experiences of the characters in the show, HR professionals can create a workplace culture that values communication, trust, and collaboration. As Doug would say, “It’s not about the sandwich, it’s about the principle!” Applying these lessons to the workplace can lead to a more positive and productive work environment for everyone. 


  • “Strike Out” (Season 5, Episode 19) 
  • “Buggie Nights” (Season 8, Episode 5) 
  • “Eggsit Strategy” (Season 2, Episode 13) 
  • “Block Buster” (Season 7, Episode 23)