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Swansea City ‘The new era’ compared to the working day for many fans
Tuesday, 14th Sep 2021 13:17 by Reg Furniture

There’s nothing like enjoying your work, walking or driving into the place you feel comfortable plying your trade at, and happy that everyone else knows you are good at your job. Your boss, now they’ve been there for a few years thinks you’re great too, as do your peers. Nothing phases you, it’s what you are all about. You haven’t progressed that much but hey, it’s okay for now, and anyway I can always move on.

Last month though things changed a bit, your old boss for some reason left, and this young gun from a much smaller company was appointed in to his job. He’s got new ideas, and a different take on how things should be done. Mutterings amongst other employees, albeit under their breath indicate a slight feeling of discontent and disorientation. Fair play the new boss did say this would happen though, these things he wants you to do will take time. Sentences like “ That’s how we’ve always done it” have been heard all over the workplace. The guys in the back office, often called ‘The company defence’ because they are always playing from the back seem to have enjoyed it though.

The new processes they have had to get used to aren’t unfamiliar it’s just they haven’t done it for a while, some never, but they seem to enjoy it and revel in the fact that even when they make mistakes it’s not a problem. Even some of the customers can see it’s a better way to do things. Communication and awareness has already improved. The team leader, often referred to as the ‘safe hands’ of the defence sadly did make too many errors, he seemed unsure on his feet, getting rid of work to his colleagues far too late, almost holding on to it as if something may go right. He wasn’t sacked, just given a few weeks to understand the basics of the new system. He seemed happy with that, and the fact some responsibility had been taken away from him lightened his mood.

The new boss applauded him for his positivity.

Overall the back office staff seemed okay with the new processes. One of the local lads though, a popular character who had even been on work experience with the firm for years wasnt too sure. And anyway, more money was on offer within the industrial side of the company economy up north. He wasn’t interested that much in staying, his trade union rep met the big bosses but they could only offer an extra few grand a week for his services. It wasn’t an official offer but the rep went back to our popular local lad and he clearly wasn’t interested. He wanted to move up north. He even got his fiancé to say he hadn’t been offered anything when he had, it just wasn’t official, had he agreed to the offer it would have been official that very day. A play on words confusing some of the client base, well, possibly the less intuitive ones.

Over all though despite one training day when some staff from the Stoke office came down and really showed them up, things seemed okay, to an extent. The older clients were more patient with matters, they had seen change before. The more enthusiastic let’s say, who had seen huge results in recent times wanted immediate productivity, just like they were always used to. The clash of ideals was evident. Possibly to reinforce matters a return training day up in Lancashire didn’t go to plan either. The early tasks were fairly easy for our staff, unfortunately due to the strain of remembering all the new processes, then a sneaky tactic by the Lancs office of playing as a team, and not as individuals seemed to totally undo all the planning.

The new boss saw what went wrong, and was given a couple of weeks to get things back on track. Some of our staff aren’t the brightest I have to say, like some of our customers they come from a wide range of backgrounds and educational standards. At times you have to reinforce learning with them, as they clearly sometimes forget the basics, or don’t have the ability to remember them because they are over complicating things. I remember well going back to the boom days when we had another bright manager, what a boss he was. He was from Denmark, I liked him a lot. One of our, let’s say smaller employees, and a team leader went running to the director of our firm saying the Danish bloke didn’t know what he was doing ( basically he employed better staff with more intuition ) Back then it was treated fairly gingerly by the director, if he was asked now he would probably say he didn’t really give a Monkeys. This particular director pointed out the Danish guy was a European employee of the year, an international awards winner and was once described as ‘ Not just the best player in the world, but the only player in the world worth talking about’ Mind you Pele wasn’t that good during his working life before he got his big clock. Some would say he was just bang average. On the other hand Johan Cruyff said he was ‘ Denmark’s answer to Pele but more technical’ It’s a toughie. I think.

The positives from earlier training days at smaller depots in Reading, and then the apprentices coming up from Plymouth seemed a long while ago. However things were evidently changing. We lost a few clients, but we did gain a few too, those who enjoyed the new positivity within the office. They could sense that the change this ‘ young buck’ was delivering could work. The middle office were used to taking their time with things, I have to say, some would say ponderously plodding their way through the day. When they did up the anti a bit the new lads who had transferred from the Bristol office went sick. The strain of a productive day seemed too much for them. That was a concern. A new bright kid from Ipswich has recently joined us, he’s a right baller I think the young people say.

Due to Brexit it was also taking longer to negotiate new contracts with companies abroad, the only way it seemed we could get something positive done was to look at the job market. There were a few possibilities, a young French guy was interested in how we were doing things at our place. He wanted to come, and despite quite a few hiccups, he came in, and settled straight into things. This guy had been one of the most respected employees in Europe when he took the Italians on at their own game during one training day, he completely destroyed them. He really got his office tick-ing. The Dutch as well were quite enamoured with our new young boss.

It was always up front, in the despatch centre where things had been a bit quiet during the last few years that our old boss was with us. It seemed he was happy with a more functional straight forward process. It left a lot to chance, and was reliant on one of the more mature employees, one of them from Ghana, strong lad he was, his brother also worked with us but jumped ship for one of the lesser London based operations. He wasn’t any loss. The Ghanian that we had working in despatch back then was reliable, some would say relied upon too much. He sometimes worked with an ex school teacher in despatch, this guy often said he preferred to deliver his work from a more wider position, it gave him more time, but the old boss was a bit narrow minded, hence his more central despatch role. It worked for a bit, but once he got too complacent his work rate dried up so much he was binned off to the coastal office in Bournemouth, it was best.

Nowadays despatch seems to have one real operative who has turned a few heads. He has done himself no harm since he was late for work when the new boss came in. Since then though he has been pretty decent. It was clear he needed some help though and a lad called Micky came in recently, although with a poor sick record, and a question mark over attitude, if that is addressed, he should fit in okay.

One of the younger guys who stole the show in the Plymouth training day still seems persona non grata, and nobody is sure why. The Lincoln office wanted to retrain him but it all got pulled at the last minute. He seemed happy with that. However, he won’t be happy one of the local boys is being favoured in a more withdrawn role which apparently enables quicker delivery up to the Dutch lad to deliver on time and more frequently. Jury’s out on that one.

It isn’t a state of flux, I mean think about your job, if the basics remained the same but the way you had to do it changed dramatically could you master it in say six weeks. New forms, new ways of filling them in, a faster methodology in getting orders up to despatch, but of course not being afraid to start again if the queue is long and needs reviewing. Holding on to your ideals, the very basics, but investing in the new boss completely, trusting him and his advisors to the extent it’s just going to work, it just needs time.

Little steps of progression, job chats and the way you are asked to do things, how you are spoken to and valued as a person too. Trust, respect and transparency being the watch words. Belief, understanding and then trust again being the proof of progression. It’s there, I can see now our office is a lot happier, as people get to know that little bit more every day about themselves and each other, they seem to trust and believe in our progression. It’s remarkable really, new things do disorientate people, the way you write and verbalise your thoughts really does disorientate even more people. They frown and ask questions when the answers are in front of them. When you show them a new way of developing themselves, which will in time develop their whole way of evaluating their progression - it doesn’t always drop in to place. It’s easier to make excuses. That will be why I’ve heard many times in the last few weeks ‘ We don’t do it that way’ or ‘That’s how we have always done it ‘ I’ve said to one or two in response ‘ That’s why you are still in the same place as you were three years ago ‘ That’s when they frown. Head scratching starts in abundance.

However, the average time I’m told to understand and implement new processes in any job is nine months, that’s why two years is the training time for say a police officer or manager role in industry to understand their companies processes. Becoming competent then being asked to do it differently is quite an ask, especially when the client base want to see changes almost immediately. The funny thing here is it’s very rare our clients go elsewhere, they themselves just shut off until production at our end looks better to them. That’s always been the same. When they do return, often in droves we have to implement a ticket system like they have in the post office.

Obviously we are all hopeful that our new procedures are in place and better understood before too long, but it is what it is, and could take quite a while. That’s the way it is, we just have to do our best to be patient and understanding. Shouting and getting all impatient isn’t the way forwards, it’s negative and helps nobody. Least of all the very people we want to succeed.

Cheers for now, more later.

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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