Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Inducing Colleagues

Well the recruitment drive was completed yesterday. We have two new checkout assistants, one new night-shift team member and one new grocery replenishment assistant. And I'm not struck with any of them.

Of course, before they can start work they have to go through the company induction day. This is when they're told all of the boring things they need to know, are shown a barrage of wannabe-cool videos about health and safety and customer service and are issued with their uniforms and other palaver. And it falls to me to guide them through this wonderful experience. If they were enthusiastic and keen when they went in, they certainly weren't when it was completed.

We kicked off with introductions. I told them who I was, and asked them to tell the group who they were. First up, Lisa. A former MacDonald's employee who almost couldn't attend because she had a meeting with the benefits office. Then there's Dave and John who are fresh out of working for a rival supermarket chain (I made a mental note to probe them about it because I'm considering a change of scenery). Finally, we had Dean who has only ever worked in construction.

The next part was to read them through the employee handbook. I hate reading aloud. I can read very speedily in my head, but trying to co-ordinate my mouth with my brain just doesn't work. I kept tripping over words and soon became very self-conscious. For instance, I spent most of the read-through with my hand covering my mouth because I could feel my front teeth sticking out. I was trying to create an impression - I didn't want to look like Bugs Bunny. And then, the further through the book we ploughed, the more my voice droned. By the end of it I sounded like Ian Curtis singing Love Will Tear us Apart.

And all that was on top of the blushes created by the content of my sermon. Have you any idea how embarrassing it is lecturing people about personal hygiene? I had to tell them they needed to take a bath before coming to work. I had to tell them to keep a hanky with them. I had to tell them to wash their hands after going to the toilet. I had to explain to them that sweaty people smell. I'm cringing just thinking about it.

The book covers a barrage of other insulting topics too. Like how to behave towards disabled people. You mustn't call them cripples, invalids, spastics, mentalists, loonies or spackers. The correct term is 'wheelchair user' - not 'wheelchair bound'. And there was me just treating them like the next person. I mean, who the hell would actually refer to somebody's condition when serving them? It's not as though you'd say "oh, let me pack your bags for you since you have Cerebral Palsy and, therefore, must find shopping a challenge."

With the book out of the way, it was time for the video. Oh the joys. The first one gives an introduction to working for Food Place. It's shot inside a store using actors wearing the company attire. It demonstrates dialogue you should use with customers: "Good morning and welcome to Food Place. Would you like me to help you pack your bags? Isn't the weather beautiful!"

I've seen it now about 15 times and it just gets cornier and cornier with each viewing. Particularly the scene which shows you how to handle awkward customers. It depicts a woman screaming a lengthy diatribe at a badly-portrayed cashier because the store has been moved around and she can't find suet.

Now the Accident Awareness video is one that I do enjoy. It's hilarious because it uses CCTV footage of real accidents that have occurred in Food Places across the country. I sometimes stick it on to watch while working in the training room (I know, I do need to get a life). Here are some gems:
  • "Take care when approaching outward-opening doors with no viewing window." Cue footage of somebody getting smacked in the face by a cash office door.
  • "Never attempt to move a roll cage on your own." Somebody tries to pull a cage from a tail-lift and it topples right onto them.
  • "Be aware of slip hazards throughout the store." A customer slips on a grape and ends up on their backside halfway down the aisle with their shopping basket scattered around them.
  • "Never try to climb on fixtures to reach top-shelves." Some fool steps on a shelf and it crashes to the floor, taking them with it.

I could watch that one all day.

The next part of the induction process, having got them to sign-off all their training sheets and fill in all their personal details, is to guide them around the store, taking care to point out fire doors. I don't know why, but I always feel like everybody in the building stops and stares whenever I do this. Here I am conducting a guided tour of a supermarket to four people in plain clothes. It attracts a lot of puzzled looks. And you feel stupid pointing at a shelf of Pedigree Chum and explaining: "This is the pet-foods section."

Could all readers please join me in a prayer. Please don't let Food Place recruit anybody else. Ever. Because I'll only end up having to bore you all with a fresh account of the induction process.

In other news, Emma worked on the checkouts on Sunday. And lost £30 from her till. My fury knew no bounds. It's been three weeks since our weekly cash discrepancies have totalled more than £10 - and that's for all the tills for the entire week. And this week, that airhead goes and loses three times that amount in one wallop. And on the first day of the trading week. So we went into Monday £33 down!


Al said...

How can you lose £30? 30p perhaps, but £30? £30!?! You sure she didn't lose it in her pocket?

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

Agree with Al's comment - must be pure stupidity. I check my change every time, it takes only a few seconds, and my till is never down. I know people who have been £16 down within 5 hours. Someone told me when they first started, he was paying out about £30 a week because his till was always down.

Al and Angry - do your places not make you pay if your till is down? We are ok if someone disputes what note they gave you, and it turns out they were lying, as long as the manager was there at the time to authorise it, otherwise we are have to pay it all back.

Pizza Hut Team Member said...

Apologies for calling you Angry, when you are infact Aggressive!!

Oh and roll cages, are you on about those metal things, about 6ft high and if you are lucky they have a little door on them, other times you are left with straps? I have to pull two of them by myself! Is the rule about not moving them by yourself actually followed?

AggressiveAdmin said...

I'm angry as well as aggressive ;)

No, we're not required to pay back till shorts from our wages, because they can't do this without crediting your wages if your till is over. And they don't want to be doing that. The general policy is to come down heavy and, if it persists, follow the disciplinary procedure. This way, an improvement MUST occur or else they will end up sacked.

I think it's wrong to dock pay for shorts anyway. Particularly when they can't prove who lost the money. If you had a corrupt manager, the staff would be losing out for it.

Yeah, that's what roll cages are. And the rule about two is only preached to us for the sake of Health and Safety. In reality, they don't give us staffing budgets to cover having two people doing every job - it would be ridiculous. I'm sure there's some stores out there are stupid enough to follow the rule.

Al said...

Our cashiers don't have to pay back anything they are short either. Although I would imagine if someone lost as much as £30 in a day then they would be subject to some sort of action.

If someone disputes the note they give us then the management will take their name and content details and won't pay them anything until a till check has been performed. If it comes up that amount over then they get their money back, if it doesn't then they don't.

With roll cages when working in the warehouse I was always told that it was fine to move one of them on your own unless it was damaged or stupidly stacked. In the former situation a pump truck was usually used because it was just easier. We were always told to never move more than one at a time though. Just as we were always told to pull rather than push, two rules which are blantantly ignored.

The majority of our stock comes in on two sided cages which are strapped and occasionally shrink wrapped.

AggressiveAdmin said...

*shudders* Shrink wrapped cages. Ugh. When you touch the cage after unwrapping it you get a 13,000 volt static shock. And the sound goes right through me...eek

Our policy was always to check tills when there was a dispute and settle it there and then but, recently, we've been told that if a customer is adament, we should just hand the money over. Another rule I refuse to follow. I'm not having bad results reflecting poorly on the cash office team because idiot customers can't keep track of their own cash.