07 Feb 2011

Hiring Half-Baked Robots

When hiring people to serve and interact

07 Feb 2011

When hiring people to serve and interact with other people, don’t hire half-baked robots.

As I’m standing in line to board the airplane, a fellow traveller leaned over and mumbled out of the side of his mouth, “They are just one step away from being a robot, aren’t they?”

It didn’t take a genius to see each of the airline agents were obviously performing a routine — much like a robot. There was not a sense of urgency. Their attitudes weren’t necessarily bad, but they certainly had the appearance of not enjoying their work. Having to deal with a constant barrage of negative energy is tough; I know and I get it. But isn’t it that exact reason it’s important to make a choice? We all make choices in our life and just getting by seems to leave so much opportunity on the table.

I’m sure each person in line with me could offer some quick stories to their own week-in-the-life-of-John or -Jane Doe story. It probably generates a lot of interpersonal friction — and in this case, it’s in high volume as well! Speaking personally, It’s easy to let the stress of a long week of hectic schedules, travel and diet get me out of balance. I’m not perfect, but there is a choice about how I handle the stress caused by the imbalance.

I’d like you to meet, Ida. After a rush by all passengers to get boarded in literally 15 minutes, Ida spoke up for two passengers who had been directed to get on the wrong connection. She even got the entire cabin laughing about it, and made the entirely necessary 22 mble!

Take note:

Owners and managers, if you want to enforce a process that strips emotion from the interaction and promotes automation, buy robots and quit insulting both the employee and the customer with half-assed mission statements about service and little delivery. Otherwise, hire and fight for your team to be fully-baked human beings who actually enjoy — no relish — spending time in service of others.

Employees, make a choice to live your life in the “I’m Alive!” lane. If you don’t, you’ll end up looking at a world of disgruntled customers through glazed eyes to the soundtrack of bleeping barcode scanners while you sing, “Next, next, next…” Hold your employer accountable to this standard you want to execute, or hold yourself accountable to develop other opportunities of employment that will.

Leave a comment
More Posts