Monday, 30 April 2007
Fisher and Paykel: Making the best of a bad situation
Here in New Zealand, we've been rocked by the news that Fisher and Paykel is moving part of its manufacturing to Thailand.
Many words have been written by minds smarter than mine about why the move happened, and what now. I'd like to write about how it was done.
My mate David works at Fisher and Paykel (matter of fact, two of my mates, and they're both called David - strange, huh?). He's in the division where they make fridge doors, so his job is safe - for now.
But when I quizzed him about the feeling on the ground at F&P, he said many of the 350 who have now lost their jobs are relatively happy. They've received a good payout, and they can now try and find other work. Clean and simple.
Compare that with Brigid, another friend who works for Air New Zealand's ground staff. Since about October last year she's had the spectre of redundancy over her. Once Brigid had accepted her fate, the stakes changed. February 8th was to be her last day, then March sometime, and then ... let's call the whole thing off.
Can you imagine what the working environment was for those Air New Zealand ground staff? Negative, grinding, uncertain, demotivating.
Air New Zealand has done a fantastic job of rebranding itself a couple of years back - but they really threaten to flush all that hard work down the pooper if they treat their staff this way. There is no intrinsic or positive motivation for a ground services worker to treat a passenger well. Just the hope that someday, maybe, there will be a nice big redundancy payout to make it all worthwhile. It is deeply dysfunctional.
Air New Zealand, learn a few lessons from F&P. Yes, they couldn't save the jobs. That's a macro issue. But at least they got the micro issues sorted out.