Stephen Martin undercover at Clugston Group

The second episode of The Undercover Boss was aired last night and saw CEO Stephen Martin go undercover at his company, the construction company Clugston Group.  From the opening scenes it became clear that Clugston had followed similar strategies to the likes of BA and BT in reducing pay/hours to avoid redundancies.  The argument being that if people don't like things they're welcome to try elsewhere.  Our very own CEO Ruth Spellman wrote to the Guardian about this very issue this week and it seems an issue that's emerging more each week.

Talent Management at Clugston

In the past Clugston would traditionally pick up youngsters from school and develop them into their roles as they gained experience of the various facets of the building trade.  The team Stephen joined had an average 'age' of over 20 years in the job at Clugston.  Now however this has changed with greater competition from other jobs offering better pay and opportunities to school leavers.  As Dick, the 'gang manager' said, every gang should have a trainee, but this doesn't happen due to the cost cutting measures implemented by Stephen.  This is compounded by the elder staff, such as Dick, retiring and taking their knowledge with them.

Training and new experiences

When Stephen joined the joiners he heard stories of tradesmen such as Leon wishing to be moved around the company more, to learn more about the different work on offer at Clugston.  Communication is the key with managers not listening to workers that request new experiences within the company.  This is worsened by the recession because staff don't feel confident enough to be open with their manager for fear of redundancy.

Training is key to the value associated with the job, both formal training provided by courses and the more informal training provided via apprenterships.  Nearly all workers highlighted in the show revealed how important learning new skills was to their sense of wellbeing.  This chimes with our own research that shows that training is crucial to making employees feel wanted and valued in their work so it's really valuable to see this from the horses mouth.

I'm hoping to interview Stephen next week for the blog so if you have any questions for him do let me know.


Well done Clugstons management. About time other company managers did the same, they would have their eyes opened!

I've worked on building sites before, you never get new guys coming on site and shaking peoples hands, that would have given his game away immediately. Go on and say "hello mate" and maybe but that would have sent alarm bells ringing for me straight away.

Its true - that people are starting to close up to their managers, and share less of their real concerns - for fear that they will appear as a weak employee who could be picked for redundancies.