Tony Chamberlain, Managing Director of Staging Connections got a makeover, donned the wig and hat and joined the front line of the company he leads in the most recent episode of Undercover Boss Australia aired on Monday 10 October on Channel 10.
Employees were introduced to ‘Douglas Holden' Mr Chamberlain's alias. For a week he worked undercover and did various work from loading trucks, building sets, dressing tables and rolling up cables.
Keeping it real
On ‘Douglas's' first day on the front line he spent time with the straight talking Shane, a Staging Connections truck driver. He got to hear Shane's honest point of view of the company, something he would only get the opportunity to hear because of the anonymity of the character he was playing.
Shane talked about disgruntled staff, lack of incentives and rewards for employees and even that there was no Christmas party.
Although difficult to hear, these comments were invaluable to the Managing Director. Undercover Boss gave Mr Chamberlain true insight into what is happening in his business, good and bad.
‘Shane's passion really shone through, and its employees like Shane that we really need at Staging Connections. He had some fantastic ideas that we intend to implement for logistics, rewards and incentives' said Mr Chamberlain.
Anonymity to gain feedback
Working as a set builder Mr Chamberlain got to experience a side of the business where he has full responsibility for - safety. ‘I noted a number of areas where appropriate safety equipment was not being used. This is our responsibility as a Management Team to protect our employees. Safety should always come first. I am especially grateful that I could see this as an outsider, to really see what hazards there are in the business and to create a better working environment for our employees.'
The end result
Tony also spent time with event stylist, Kristy who describes herself as firm but fair. Kristy demonstrated the work that goes into pulling off a 1000 person gala event.
‘I now understand the passion our staff have when seeing an event come to fruition. I was so proud of what we had achieved when I saw the event in full swing and the faces of the people attending,' said Mr Chamberlain.
'Back to Black'
The profound experience for Mr Chamberlain can be summed up as the managers of the business needing to get ‘Back to Black' meaning, for them to get out and join the front line of the business to really see how it works. As a result, each quarter the managers of Staging Connections will each spend a day in the field to see firsthand the issues. ‘It was amazing to see how dedicated and hard working all the people are that I got to work with. We need to constantly follow up on communications, tell them and tell them again how much they are appreciated.
‘I've learnt some valuable lessons about listening to what your staff are really saying, acknowledge and reward, create a safe environment and celebrate your successes.'