For me, the revelations of our Undercover Boss this week were very similar to last week – CEO was unaware of the struggles of frontline employees, and vows to make changes.
The new twist this week was centered around a manager who was making his employees play his “reindeer games”, and didn’t seem to understand how wrong that was. Even when it was brought to his attention, he stated that he wasn’t going to apologize for being profitable and productive. Of course those measures were not the issue – respect for his employees was the issue.
What I think was really interesting was one of the executives responses to this behavior – we can retrain him.
Retrain him to do what? Play different games?
Here’s my problem with the “retraining” mentality when it comes to these types of issues – it doesn’t work. Training is used to build a skill, not correct inappropriate behaviors. By sending him to “sensitivity training”, it doesn’t specficially address his own behaviors and give him the opportunity to see just how wrong it was. It’s a waste of time and gives training a bad name.
From what we saw in the episode, he was made to apologize to his employees and from there his behaviors turned around. I would bet there was more coaching going on than what we saw to make that happen.
If nothing else, this continues to be a reminder that no matter how large the company is, what happens on the frontline equates to the bottom line. And you have to get close to see it.
Next week: 7-11 (Oh, thank Heaven!)