Guest Author - Dianne Walker
What would you do if you were the boss? With so many reality shows on television, it’s always interesting when they actually make a show about workplace drama. Does Someone Have to Go is a reality workplace series where small companies and their dysfunctional employees are put in the spotlight. The show attempts to mirror the workplace in that many employees think they can fix the problems that the bosses are unable to. Employees are given the power to make tough decisions.
The series premier spotlighted a small Illinois-based company where many of the employees are also relatives of the owner. The company, VMS, sells credit card processing machines. The owner Dema started the company in her parent’s basement when she was 19. Dema is now married, runs the company with her husband and has a staff of 70 employees. The company is not performing as well as it should so the employees are asked to select three employees to terminate, demote or be given a second chance.
The show opens with each of the employees giving their opinions of their fellow employees. For VMS, not only are there personnel issues, but the entire family works there resulting in what employees perceive to be preferential treatment. The results are employees who feel they have to walk on eggshells to not get on the wrong side of the family. The workplace dysfunction is hindering the company growth, and it’s time to do something about it.
A core group of employees are put in control for 48 hours. The ultimate goal is to improve performance, therefore, “someone has to go.” Once they are given the power, it was entertaining to watch the employees begin to feel the impact of their new charge. The best shocker was when the results of private interviews were played in front of the entire group in a conference room. Most people don’t view themselves as others see them, so it was a reality check for many of the management staff. Some of the comments were so harsh, it was embarrassing to watch.
The balance of the show was devoted to listening to each of the staff members responding to the comments made from the interviews and complaining about each other. There are no concrete actions being taken and no challenges being performed, just what feels like an hour-long gripe before the big “vote”. The next shocker was when the owners brought the group back together and revealed the salary of each employee. One employee stated it wisely. “There is no better way to pit employees against each other than to reveal salaries.”
The show promises to visit small companies each week in order to ask the important question, “Does Someone Have to Go”. While I’m not sure how well the show will do, if you’re looking for drama in a workplace other than your own, this show will definitely be the show for you. If you have no desire to spend an hour listening to more workplace gripping, perhaps you may want to find something else on television. The show does, however, drive its point home – being a manager and having to make tough decisions is not always easy.