Friday, 28 December 2012

Undercover Boss - Diamond Resorts

This is not a show that - like with movies - I would have picked out. Luis did (big surprise there, right?) and got me to watch it one night. I was resistant. I honestly thought that, in the grand vein of reality shows everywhere, that this would only serve to get employees in trouble. It turns out, in case you don't know, that this show puts the CEO into different area stores/hotels/etc, so they can get a direct feel for what their businesses are really doing, what it is like to do basic jobs in the industry, and where improvements can be made to their businesses.

Here we have the owner of Diamond Resorts, who went to the first place as a client staying in a suite; then a maintenance man in the Palm Springs resort, then a dance instructor in another place and now as a hair stylist (yikes). I suspect he may go onto one more job, but maybe not; four is usually the maximum amount of jobs that one person can hold considering the average one-hour show is (now) 38 minutes long. The bigger irony with that tidbit is when I watch old DS9 episodes, they are 45 minutes long. But commercials are so ridiculous, we are down to 38 minutes of telly - that is 22 minutes of adverts! And you wonder why I object so much to adverts.

This poor guy is getting a crash-course in how many issues there are within the structure of the business. He's currently in the Mexico resort )I'm not sure what part of Mexico and how many resorts he has there, but he us unable to contain himself when he encounters a huge no-no and tells the employee who he really is. They are not actually supposed to do that, but I can see why he's out of his head with anger. The training that his staff is getting is shit - it is incorrect, in some cases illegal - and he knows it! And why shouldn't he?

Of course, I have had managers who did not know the various ins and outs of the handbook, but that was why I did annual training. And while I wouldn't expect the average CEO to know the rules like this guy, I had some who did (yes, Kevin, this does mean you!) but most did not - and did not care so long as we in HR did. I try to understand but really can't - a manager should understand hiring and to some degree termination laws and get immediate input on those things that they may not know - but I always expect a CEO to take a huge interest in really, truly understand how these rules work, what is company policy versus legal ruling, either state or federal, and which may take precedence. (In case you are wintering, federal normally trumps state policy except where salary is concerned. Then whoever is more generous trumps the other. So while states like Kentucky still show minimum wage as $2.00/hour, they must suck it up and follow Federal ruling which currentlhy stands at $7.50 - that is still too low, but beats the hell out of $2.00. Damn rednecks... setting up a minimum wage that wouldn't support a 14-year-old living at home!

So it turns out that this show provides a great amount of entertainment but also leaves one feeling quite warm and fuzzy. In the end, this CEO paid for the dance instructor to go to the Fashion Institute of Design, got her an LA apartment (unaffordable by almost anyone's standards) so she'd be close to work, and gave her some huge sum of money to get on her feet financially. He gave the hair stylist in Mexico $1,300,000 pesos (only $100,000 in US currency) to buy a house, $2,000USD to get her daughter's double hernia surgery, and I forget how much more so she only has to work her primary job and can spend time with her 2-year-old girl. He gave the electrician in Palm Springs $1,000,000USD to begin his own electrical business and agreed to be a 10% partner - the electrician having the 90%. And for the kid in the first job, in Housekeeping who has repeatedly tried to get management to understand what a poor job the staff of that department did, I don't know what he did, but I'm sure it included going to Hotel Management school (I know a couple of South African employees that we had who did this and I can tell you that this is not just six months of training but a full-time schooling program that is at least two full years if not four), gave him X dollars to get up to a level where he can devote himself to the training and a higher wage for working. This show is really worth seeing - and then feeling envious that your boss hasn't come upon you working your butt off, hearing your personal sob story and then giving you piles of money...

...as undoubtedly many will suddenly be seized by the green monster of envy.

But me, I worked for Baltusrol Golf Club. I worked for a place that put in every possible opportunity for all employees to be a part of and I will never regret that. In the almost two years that I have been gone, who knows what else they have done.

2 comments:

Johnpaul Mahofski said...

I watched a few episodes of this show, and was delighted to see some employees finally getting their just due. what got to me though was that the CEO didn't ultimately make long term fixes. I am quite certain 7/11 still overworks and underpays and the call centers are often still modern day sweat shops. So it was nice to see the CEO appreciate hard work I wonder if big changes are occurring?

Aislinge Kellogg de Gómez said...

John Paul,

Many CEOs just throw some money at those few employees they have learned about and feel obligated to do what they can for them. But many do set up comprehensive teams and//or promote an employee to go over those weak areas noted and ask them to come up with different solutions to many different problems.

I would tend to agree that 7/11 or worse companies like WalMart would do anything for their employees as they are constantly paying very low wages and do everything and anything to keep them from becoming full-time to avoid paying for benefits.

Undoubtedly there will never be perfect working positions. At least some CEOs are trying to learn and fix what they can. As a Human Resources Manager, I have always defended and maintained that our employees are the MOST important element we as a company have. Sdly, most did not learn that lesson and have ceased to exist. But my last employer did realise that and we did so much for our employees. It was the best thing we ever did.

We just need to make the CEOs and Presidents of the world realise this.

-Aislínge