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Boston Market employee terminated on reality tv show

Boston Market was recently featured on CBS’ Undercover Boss and one disgruntled employee was terminated. Was it his fault? What should you be watching for in your own company?

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Boston Market employee terminated on “Undercover Boss”

CBS’ reality tv show, “Undercover Boss” disguises corporate executives as trainees and plants them at various levels of their company, with cameras rolling, in an effort for the executive to get a non-corporate view of the company. On a recent episode with Boston Market’s Chief Brand Officer pretending to be a trainee, she came across a shift supervisor who had a massive attitude problem, confessing over and over again a literal hatred for customers.

Marking the first time an employee has been terminted on the show, his comments would alarm anyone, let alone a top executive. “I literally hate customers more than anything in the entire world. I hate them so much. They’re terrible. It’s all about them all the time and they demand everything,” the employee “Ronnie” said.

Ronnie’s endless hate-filled comments led the CBO to ultimately excuse herself. “My job’s on the line. Here I am a representative of this brand and this is what happens. It can’t happen on my watch,” she says. ” I can’t have someone who just told me that they hate customers more than anything in the world serving our guests. That’s the complete antithesis of what we stand for.”

Later in the show when the branch manager is called in and she is told that the “trainee” was actually a Boston Market corporate executive, and that Ronnie had to go, who didn’t seem to mind that he was being fired on national television, stating, “I would tell them my attitude would change but I didn’t think it was that terrible. It’s not wrong of me to hate people.”

Video of the Boston Market employee

Having a bad attitude isn’t typically grounds for termination, but this goes above and beyond – this individual was going out of his way to indoctrinate this trainee with a seething hatred for customers.

[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”xEbadynvU9o”]

[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”zGcG8lSdGTc”]

Analysis: was Ronnie the problem?

During the show, Twitter lit up with people aghast at Ronnie’s behavior, and if you watched the video above, you’d agree that he really hated his job.

Is this Boston Market employee simply a bad apple? I don’t think so. He spoke so openly about hating customers, even within earshot of people, and knowingly on camera. Couldn’t this type of behavior be cured with some training? Some reprogramming? I would argue that the answer would be no, simply because the nature of his comments and how brazen he was about making them, he never intended on staying put, and he had nothing to lose.

He had to go, in fact, one would argue that he should never, ever work in the service industry again. But is all of this Ronnie’s fault? Of course he is accountable for his appalling behavior, but it is unbelievable that the branch manager or other leaders were completely unaware of his horrendous attitude problem – you don’t just whip that out to benefit a potential trainee. The executive probably had a lengthy off-camera conversation with Ronnie’s direct supervisor to discover how the problem began, was exhibited, and ultimately whether or not they could repair the problem.

Bad apples in your own company

Have you played “Undercover Boss” with your own company? Have you used secret shoppers to test the strength of your lowest level employees? If you’re an extremely small company, have you eavesdropped on your employees’ phone calls or interactions with consumers to make sure they match the tone of your brand?

Let’s face it, the restaurant business is tough, and filled with transient employees who hate people – Ronnie’s not unique, in fact, there have been a handful of comedies made in recent years on the very topic of the dysfunctional world of the low paying service industry.

So how do you deal with bad apples in your company? Prevention is the best method, and making sure that every single team member has been trained on the culture of the company, not just how to fill the napkin holder. Do all employees know why your company was founded? Do they have access to executives, or are they limited to communication with a direct supervisor? Do you yourself have an open door policy? Do you check in on the floor to make sure things are pleasing customers beyond their wildest belief? Are you asking customers yourself what they think? Are you reading Yelp reviews and addressing them?

Running a company is more about that P&L statement, and prevention is of course the best way to deal with bad apples, as they should be weeded out early, but when you discover someone who has come to hate their job either because the job is grueling, or maybe their personal life is out of control, human resource experts can advise best on what actions to take, but you have the choice of reprogramming someone and addressing the unique situation, or do as Boston Market did and recognize when it’s just not a match.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and sister news outlet, The Real Daily, and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. JoeLoomer

    February 6, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Unbelievable. I will say I don’t know how old the kid is, but this is such a screamingly obvious maturity issue. Ronnie will fix himself, perhaps through this experience.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

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You can now make Amazon returns at Kohl’s

(BUSINESS NEWS) Amazon is teaming up with Kohl’s to give shoppers a few of the brick and mortar conveniences with online shopping.

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With online retailers giving brick-and-mortar stores a run for their money, some brands are choosing to collaborate, rather than compete. Kohl’s has announced that it will team with Amazon to create “Amazon Experience” mini-stores within Kohl’s locations.

The companies are testing the concept with 10 stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas. If it goes well, they’ll expand that number to 82.

The Amazon Experience stores will be staffed with Amazon salespeople, but Kohl’s employees will run the Amazon returns counter. Customers can even bring unpackaged items from Amazon, and Kohl’s employees will help them pack and ship it back to Amazon, free of charge.

It seems that Amazon is looking to have more physical presence with customers and to make returns easier, while Kohl’s hopes to downsize their store space and generate revenue by renting to other brands.

Just this month, Kohl’s opened four smaller stores that have 60 percent less footage and 25 percent less inventory than their typical stores. Customers can still access the entire Kohl’s inventory at kiosks that also offer in-store pickup.

It’s clear that Kohl’s isn’t afraid to combine the brick-and-mortar and online experiences, and their collaboration with Amazon is further evidence that the brand is adapting to the digital marketplace.

“This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other’s strengths — ” said Richard Schepp, Chief Administrative Officer of Kohl’s, “ the power of Kohl’s store portfolio and omnichannel capabilities combined with the power of Amazon’s reach and loyal customer base.”

Industry experts predict that Amazon may find other ways to utilize their physical presence in Kohl’s to better serve customers.

Amazon has been dabbling in the world of fashion, and having mini-stores in Kohl’s could present an opportunity for Amazon customers to try on apparel before they buy, bolstering Amazon’s in-house apparel brands.

Apparel analyst Tiffany Hogan told CNBC “We could potentially see new Amazon lines popping up at Kohl’s.”

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IBM is putting blockchains to work for banks

(BUSINESS NEWS) IBM is putting blockchain tech to work so that they can launch a banking system for international transactions.

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Earlier this year, IBM unveiled its “Blockchain as a Service” based on Hyperledger Fabric, creating a public cloud service for customers to build secure blockchain networks.

Now the tech company announced they’re teaming up with payment company KlickEx Group and blockchain startup Stellar to change up the cross-border payment game.

The team is launching a blockchain-based system for banks, aimed to lower the cost and reduce settlement time for global payments for both businesses and consumers. International transactions typically take days, or even weeks, to complete.

Blockchains could speed things up, minimize errors, and provide more flexibility and transparency to banks. According to IBM, the collaboration “is intended to improve the speed in which banks both clear and settle payment transactions on a single network in near real time.”

In case you forgot what blockchains are, here’s a refresher course. Blockchains are a secure digital ledger of transactions with bits of information stored across multiple nodes in a network.

Since there’s no centralized hub, it’s less vulnerable to hacking.

Any time an action is taken, the ledger updates and that data is available to anyone with access to the blockchain. Additionally, each transaction is secured with digital signatures and encryption, providing transparency and security.

Blockchains can be used to trace and track transactions along every step of the way, providing a handy place to combine all product information besides just financial dealings.

For example, IBM suggested a hypothetical in which their system connects a Samoan farmer with an Indonesian buyer.

In this transaction, they stated, “the blockchain would be used to record the terms of the contract, manage trade documentation, allow the farmer to put up collateral, obtain letters of credit, and finalize transaction terms with immediate payment, conducting global trade with transparency and relative ease.”

Instead of scattered information, blockchains collect all relevant steps in a transaction. Currently, they system is used in twelve currency corridors, including New Zealand and the UK, as well as Australia and the Pacific Islands.

Within the next year, the system is expected to handle 60 percent of the South Pacific’s retail industry’s cross-border payments.

Bridget van Kralingen, Senior VP of IBM Industry Platforms, said in statement, “with the guidance of some of the world’s leading financial institutions, IBM is working to explore new ways to make payment networks more efficient and transparent so that banking can happen in real-time, even in the most remote parts of the world.”

Over a dozen banks are part of the initial pilot program, and plan to expand to Southeast Asia, South America, and other areas by early next year.

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Business News

A real life robot battle: America vs Japan

(BUSINESS NEWS) Robots are real and America is fresh out of a battle with Japan in a real life robot battle royale.

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What’s the future of sports look like?

Giant. Fighting. Robots.

That’s right, your childhood dreams have arrived, at least I know mine have.

Two years ago, American robotics firm, MegaBots Inc., challenged Japanese rival, Suidobashi Heavy Industries, to a showdown of the battle of the mechs. The challenge was accepted, but with one simple caveat: the inclusion of melee combat.

And so the Super Heavyweight Title Fight two-years in the making premiered on leading social video platform, Twitch, yesterday evening to tech and sci-fi fans alike who waited with baited breath for such an event.

In order to prepare for the match, the American team needed to build a new bot capable of fulfilling the duel requirement, as well as one that would be a force to be reckoned with against the Japanese fighting machine.

MegaBots, or “Team America,” was able to crowdfund the robot battle through a Kickstarter campaign earning over $500,000 by just under 8,000 backers. With this campaign, they were also able to upgrade their Mk.II behemoth that would be entering the rumble.

Meet Eagle Prime.

More metal. More power. More American.

According to MegaBots, Eagle Prime “weighs in at 12 tons, stands 16 feet tall, seats two, is powered by a 430 horsepower V8 LS3 engine, and costs a cool $2.5M.” This robot is massive; a good foot higher than its predecessor.

Founders Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti commented on the design of Eagle Prime, quipping, “We made it huge and strapped guns to it;” as American as apple pie.

Suidobashi’s robot, KURATAS, stands a few feet shorter (about 13 feet tall), but carries a more sleek and elegant design to it. With a tripod-wheeled base and twin Gatling BB canons with the ability to fire 6,000 bullets per second, it seemed a toss-up as to who would reign supreme in the first mech battle.

While this sounds like an epic episode of awesomeness, don’t expect Pacific Rim level combat just yet. Rather than give a play-by-play of the event, I’ll just tell you straight away that Eagle Prime came out on top in the brawl. To be fair though, it really wasn’t much of a brawl.

Eagle Prime had two years of extra time to be built in preparation for such a match against Kuratas. It was made bigger (and for “funzies”, added patriotic colors to the bot as well as a head of a bald eagle for a “head” as well as a chainsaw-sword-type of device that likely, and ultimately, ended up costing Kuratas a pretty penny in damages.

Really, Kuratas had no chance: there was a bit of overkill on the part of Eagle Prime.

The chain-sword alone raises some safety concerns, especially when we’re talking the future of sports. That said, the pilots of both mechs, Eagle Prime piloted by both Oehrlein and Cavalcanti and Kuratas by Kogoro Kurata, could use a bit more protective gear than helmets, even if the robots in action look like a couple of toddlers fighting.

But hey, it’s a start. And that’s the point.

Maybe one day we will be in giant stadium arenas watching huge robots piloted by humans hashing it out, but we’ve got a long ways to go. And maybe, just maybe, these things could be of use in natural disaster efforts.

Who wouldn’t want to be saved by an Optimus Prime-like, human-piloted “robot” that could withstand whatever was thrown its way?

It’s going to be an expensive endeavor that will require a nice chunk of change in investments and endorsements, though I will say, what a time to be alive.

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