Tuesday 2 July 2013

Undercover boss - labour is still cheap.

I watched Channel 4's Undercover boss last night here in the UK. DHL's Chief Executive Phil Couchman went undercover to find out what really goes on across all aspects of DHL's business. Phil spent time as Eddie in a call centre, delivering in rural and urban settings, airside loading planes and landside sorting parcels. This is the 5th series of undercover boss here in the UK and you do start to wonder who employees think the person really is who is asking very articulate and probing questions about how the company is run.

The outcome often astounds me. As someone tweeted last night "it's not rocket science" and as someone said on the show "why didn't we think of that?" The fact remains however that many businesses don't know what's going on and don't make life easier for those who work for them.

Changes made as a result of the undercover boss at DHL last night included: a twice weekly visit from a physiotherapist for those doing back breaking work (literally) loading planes, pay equality between depots in the midlands, process changes and new training to support improved customer service.

I was wondering why some of these changes hadn't been made earlier and was reminded of a conversation I had with a neighbour the other week. The Tornado locomotive photographed below had chuffed its way through the town where I live.

I mentioned how grubby the men at the front were and asked if technology helped with shovelling the coal these days. I was told "labour was cheap then and they didn't need to make it easier." I wonder if life has changed that much despite all the technology that surrounds us daily. I have many friends trying to survive on the minimum wage and not only are the wages low, but conditions are such that those of us lucky not to be paid the minimum wage would revolt against them. Many on low wages don't feel they have a choice and when asking for better treatment are often met with "there's plenty more where you came from willing to accept the wage and conditions."  

I'm not suggesting DHL is that bad but some of the findings certainly support my contention that often very little is done to support the sustainability of those on lower wages. Sustainability of everyone within an organisation is essential to allow an organisation to flourish and is the final step in the ICECAPS model for business that I'm sharing more about in my blogs in July.

What are you doing to ensure the sustainability of yourself and those who work for you?

Alison Smith
Inspiring change inside and out

Blog 3 of 31 for the ultimate blog challenge for July.
Picture source: channel4.com via Alison on Pinterest

No comments:

Post a Comment