Article by Jeremy Skidmore.
Life in the office has changed somewhat since I was last a full-time employee nearly 15 years ago.
Although I like to think that I treated people fairly when I was an editor and that the banter was all good-natured, some of the tactics I used would probably be frowned upon today.
I tended to view interviews as two people lying to each other about how good they were, so I preferred to find out a bit about someone’s personality, often challenging them to do impressions or talk about something meaningless for a minute.
It was a trick I’d learnt years earlier when being interviewed to be a Club 18-30 rep. That’s another story but the questions were all about trying to get someone to open up and seeing how they would fit into the team.
Meanwhile, with reporters, I was always trying to think of different ways to put pressure on them to get the best stories. I wanted them constantly on the phones, chasing leads.
These days, I would probably be hauled up in front of management for causing emotional distress to various individuals.
However, now I’m older and (perhaps) a little wiser, I can see that the work place for most companies has improved.
By and large, employees are given a lot more consideration because, the theory goes, the happier they are, the more successful your company will be.
Work places seem to be a lot quieter and more civilised too, as research on the internet has replaced a lot of the phone calls that used to be made.
But how satisfied are you with your company in 2015?
How motivated are you to deliver their objectives? Do you feel valued and secure and do you have a fun and sociable environment to work in?
Now, a new website www.workadvisor.co.uk will allow individuals in the travel industry to rate their employer.
If they are not happy, they can point out the improvements needed; if they are content, they can champion their employer.
In turn, companies will be able to easily engage with their staff.
I must declare an interest here, as I’m a shareholder in the business.
When I first heard about the company, I thought it was a brilliant idea (not mine) and unique in the UK travel industry, so I wanted to get involved.
But whether you use the site or not, then improved communication between staff and management is surely a good thing.
Interestingly, some people, particularly those in senior positions, may feel that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of employees.
Do they expect too much? Should people be more responsible for their own career progression?
And, do employees abuse the system at the expense of their employer?
Thankfully, I don’t hear many cases of the latter in the travel industry, perhaps because it is such an exciting sector and most people you meet are genuinely hard working and keen to do well.
I’ll leave you, though, with a story from my friend who is an HR director at a big company in another industry.
At a leaving party for an employee, the employee’s boss made a speech where he commented that the person had been with the company for ‘donkey’s years’.
That employee threatened to sue the company for ‘causing him distress’ and implying that he was too old to perform his tasks. The company settled, giving him an extra £10,000 as part of his pay off.
“It’s ridiculous,” said my friend, “but if it had gone to court, we would have lost with the way the law is. We would have been painted as the big, bad wolf bullying a member of staff.”
That, in my opinion, is bonkers. But I’d welcome your views