I’m shouting out about the new reality show that airs on Sunday nights called Undercover Boss. The purpose of the show, other than to get high ratings, seems to be to improve working conditions in Corporate America even while our economy demands more and more cost efficiency.
Here’s how it works: CEOs and COOs of major corporations, interested in increasing cost-effectiveness (Waste Management, and Hooters so far, and next week 7-Eleven), go undercover by becoming aliases. They take off their CEO hats and don the hats of lower ranking employees throughout their companies. They become recruits doing the jobs believed to be critical to operations of the company. These jobs – ranging from dishwasher and garbage collector to middle management – often have low visibility which make them, and the folks who perform them, easy targets for management neglect.
After a week in the field these CEOs have learned more than a thing or two regarding what the lower level jobs are about and, perhaps more importantly, how it feels to hold these lower level positions. The outcomes prove to be beneficial for the employees, resulting in better conditions, more caring management, and very importantly, the feeling amongst employees that they’ve been heard and someone really cares.
That impact is palpable as, on camera, the employees involved in the show are individually interviewed by the Execs who tell them the truth about what they were up to the week before, and why. We are informed of company changes being made, employees’ rights being honored, and we witness the expression of gratitude for sharing.
As viewers, in case we forgot, we cannot help but be reminded of the meaning and importance of human connection and caring.