Undercover at Park Resorts
The first episode of The Undercover Boss was aired last night, showing Andy Edge, the ceo of Park Resorts, going undercover to find out what was happening in his business. We discussed the ethics of such a strategy last week. In a similar move to our coverage of The Apprentice we'll be covering each episode of the show to see if there are any lessons that can be learnt from the show.
The premise of the show is that Mr Edge works undercover at Park Resorts for a 10 day period. His rationale is that if staff are asked for feedback via official means they don't provide honest appraisal of their role or their opinion of the company.
Quite an insightful element of the show is that despite his high level role of marketing director, he himself has never worked in a holiday park before. I wonder if he's ever stayed in one either? Warren Buffet says you should never invest in things you don't understand, is a similar management mantra that you should never manage something you havn't got experience of?
The importance of training
Mr Edge then descended upon the kitchen, where his chef was woefully under trained (read not trained at all) and woefully under staffed to do the job effectively. This led to poorly prepared meals and in some cases legally unhealthy ones. At the end of the show it was revealed that Park Resorts were sending the intrepid chef on a cooking course, which had the double benefit of making him more able to do his job but also more motivated to do it well. Our own research has shown that 87% of staff want to be considered high potential. People want to be loved and feel they have a future in your company, and sending them on training is a great way of doing this as you're actively investing in them. One of the cleaning staff remarked on feeling invisible, if you want to remedy this, get them training!
Give people responsibility
The other takeaway story from the show was in the differing performance of the cleaning staff at the two resorts Mr Edge visited. It was almost a classic X and Y situation for those Douglas McGregor fans out there and this is a crucial area for developing your people and the talent within them. Our research has shown that individuals who think their organisation considers them to be talented, are significantly more motivated by the direction of their organisation. At the Isle of Wight resort this was writ large. The cleaning staff were well trained, well paid and given the responsibility to do their job without being micro managed.
How much do you know about your business?
Perhaps the biggest lesson he took from the show though was revealed towards the end. He mentioned his day job traditionally means looking solely at numbers and processes, and he had know idea about how things actually work. As marketing starts and finishes at the customer touch points this is fundamental to the Park Resorts business.
What did you think of the show? Do you know enough about the practical operations of your business?
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