Undercover Boss follow-up


Good morning reader,

I wanted to share an experience I had that I felt related to April’s Small Idea.   Just yesterday, while on the road, I experienced an “Undercover Boss” moment while in an antique shop of all places.  As I was talking to the proprietor, I learned the shop was a sideline and he worked fulltime in maintenance with a well-known company here in the southeastern Wisconsin area.    We chatted a bit and he shared the following:

“Yeah, they made 90 million dollars last year but now, working Sundays is paid at regular time when it used to be paid at double time.”

“There are fifteen hundred people in the office and only five hundred on the shop floor.  Managers managing managers managing managers”.                                                                           

“My brother has worked for the company for 40 years.  Now he’s moving to 2nd shift so he doesn’t have to put up with all the bull.  I’ve put in 32 years and I’m moving to 2nd shift as soon as I can.”

Now on the face of it I know I received a one-sided perspective.  There is probably more to the story at this company than this fellow portrayed and there are probably some legitimate reasons for the changes in pay structure and how the company is currently staffed.  I also know that this particular organization has been hiring recently.   

I chatted with this fellow for maybe 15 minutes.  During that short time he shared the above viewpoint which draws a particular picture of his workplace.  How marketable does it make this company from the perspective of potential employees/applicants?  Indeed there may be more positive employees who share a better viewpoint of the company.  However…maybe not.

Hopefully this illustrates why getting out and talking with employees is important.  Learning what their perspective is allows for responses to incorrect information that may be making its way through the rank and file and into the community.  All of us have a tendency to speculate when information is not provided and a rumor is the only type of flame that thrives in a vacuum.  And everyone gets burned.

On the same drive I heard another nugget, this time on the radio; one of the CEOs appearing on Undercover Boss made this remark after spending time with his employees and noticing their positive reaction when he told them “well done”:  “Maybe CEO should stand for Chief Encouragement Officer.”

I felt led to share this additional perspective with all of you.  Any chance to learn about and honestly communicate with those you work with daily is an opportunity, and time well spent.

Here to serve,

John Duba

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