Sunday, February 26, 2006

Humiliating the Staff

My wife has worked for Wallyworld since 1998, first as an associate then as a department manager for the last two years. She has a great work ethic and is a kind and gentle person, probably too gentle. She helped set up three new stores as they opened in our town because she likes the feeling of enterprise that goes with opening a new store. She did fine at the first three locations, earning several merit pins for good work, but her job has turned sour starting one year ago when she moved to her present location.

Here, she received a coaching for her "mods" not being perfect last year. She was being put under increasing pressure to meet new demands but was rarely given help though she often asked for it. At the same time management started taking away her riser space (above the retail shelf space), her bin space (in back) and she had to share one of very few "telzons" (hand-held wireless computers) with other departments. She was often pulled off her work to help other departments that already had help; she was usually the only one in her own department.

Recently she was given another coaching and a D-day after working very hard trying to keep up with the demands. In the recent SWASS meeting, the store manager openly humiliated her in front of her co-workers by reprimanding her for 11 misplaced or miscounted boxes of shampoo in her mod. She tried to explain that in that department, there are hundreds and hundreds of small items and that she made every effort to finish the mod in the time allowed as she had numerous other duties and "special" projects for other departments.

They are now in the process of demoting her to an associates position. Although she feels poorly treated, she is going along with it because she may have less stress, though lower pay. If management felt that my wife did not have certain attributes demanded of managers (the other supercenter did not have a problem with her work as dept. manager), they should have talked to her in private and explained their position to her instead of reprimanding and humiliating her in front of the whole team!