Thursday, August 2, 2012

Going for gold

Today at work we were all called into a meeting - they want to introduce what I would call flexi-work, and asked for volunteers to take part in the pilot. Basically anybody who volunteers (or failing that, gets roped in) will have a complex role involving perhaps twice as many tasks. I can see the rationale for it (they want to leverage the know-how of both teams, enabling us to achieve our SLAs, whatever they might be) but I won't be volunteering.

The so-called quality team mark ten calls a month from each of the eighty or so call centre employees. Each call is given one of five grades. At the bottom end there's a "fail" as well as a "total fail" which kills off any chance of getting a bonus. Total fails aren't all that uncommon. The vast majority of calls get a simple pass. The top two grades - let's embrace the Olympic spirit and call them gold and silver - are reserved for calls in which a special rapport is built with the customer. Golds and silvers give you an increased bonus, but they're rather hard to come by. The quality team deliberate at length before dishing out a silver, and sometimes the head of department gets involved. As for gold, well that grade might as well not exist. Amazingly someone recently got a gold for the first time in 18 months. By my reckoning that's 15,000 calls! Of course this is rather convenient when it comes to remuneration. "You can potentially earn up to $xxx per week." Yes, if every one of your calls gets a grade which is only given to one call in 15,000.

The sport of badminton has been brought into disrepute at the Olympics. Four women's doubles teams were disqualified for trying to lose (against each other) to get an easier draw in the knockout stages. I can't condone what they did, and I'm glad they got booted out, but heads must roll over a competition format that makes it advantageous to lose. It's amazing how often the organisers of major sports competitions come up with formats and rules without thinking them through properly.

Thinking a bit about Monday's poker tournament, my nervousness might actually have helped me. I don't think I gave away much about my hand because I'm sure I looked petrified no matter what I had.

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