Many readers will have seen either Undercover Boss or Undercover Boss USA where the boss goes undercover, working with frontline staff to see how the business is really performing. I’m sure that these companies are selected for their entertainment value but they do throw up some real issues.
In many cases the businesses are not performing but the bosses seem not to be playing the blame game. They realise that in many cases head office is a little out of touch. What they do seem to get though is that if they support their staff then they will get the best out of them. They then stand a fighting chance of beating the recession.
So, you’re the boss. Do you dare to go undercover and find out what is really happening? How will you react when employees do not worship your photograph. What do you suppose they say about you? Do they like their pay and working conditions? What will you do when you find that front line staff are abused, spat at or are targeted by armed robbers?
You’re not the boss. Is your the sort of business where the boss would come and find out how you are doing? If so then great, if not then how can you attract his attention? If the boss (or bosses) is not interested then I recommend you look for a new and better job right away!
Finally, no bosses should be going undercover anyway. Employees should know who the boss is and how to contact them (about important issues). They should be able to equate those at the top with company vision and values. Bosses should also have their finger on the pulse and have a much better idea of the workings of their business and the opinions of frontline staff. Sounds like a call for a cull of middle management – make up your own mind about that!