Friday, September 14, 2012

Appraiser's job isn't easy with certain crew.

As a cabin crew executive one of my duties was to appraise my subordinates from supervisors to the junior or new stewardesses/stewards.
Appraising comes with having to tell the appraisees their weaknesses and strengths.
The juniors were easy to talk with but not the seniors. Worst still if the seniors are union representatives.

Union reps hold certain amount of power and even our bosses would not want to have bad relations with them. No one in cabin crew could imagine  giving the union president a bad appraisal. Everyone in the office did not want any confrontation with these people.

The union chairman in cabin crew usually holds the position of the president in the overall airline union. He is a big shot,so big that he could bang table during meetings and negotiation with our SVP.
He lunches and rubs shoulders with the airline Chairman and CEO. He could compromise or go against the company in financial matters,staff salaries, allowances and bonuses. In this respect, no management staff would want to antagonise this hot shot.

When we were warded in hospitals due to illnesses, only the lower ranking bosses would pay us visits. But when the union guys were hospitalised, even CEO and Chairman would not only visit them but buy flowers for them.

During my time, the union reps who were appraised by me were quite co-operative. They did their part on board the flights. They also wanted to be exemplary but most can't really work well. They had been to meetings after meetings and away from hands on work for a while. They got rusty and were slower than others but we were sympathetic towards them. After all they had the welfare of their members at heart. But frankly most of them as we in cabin crew would say were the ya ya papaya type, meaning the smart asses who claimed to know everything about anything. They would tell cock and bull stories about their behind closed doors meetings with the CEO,Chairman and the SVPs to impress us.

Coming back to the appraisal part, fortunately for me I did not have much difficulty with them except a few.
To me, I did not care two hoots about them. I had given bad appraisals to a few of them. They would then counter report me and demanded my bosses deal with me. My bosses would be in a tight spot because I was not the type who could be easily bullied. I stood on my principle and never kowtow to these people.

To me a bad worker would not received a good appraisal and it's as simple as that.
I worked without fear and was not well liked by both the bosses and the unionists. I knew my stuff and no one could shake me.

There was a case of a supervisor who gave me problems on a flight. He didn't performed to expectation and I gave him a below average appraisal. He wasn't happy and went to see my SVP and demanded that the appraisal be nullified.
I was asked to explain for giving a bad report to this IFS. I stood my ground and the appraisal was considered justifiable.

A few years later, the above mentioned IFS's son wanted to join as a steward. He came to the office and spoke with several of my colleagues regarding his son. He was asking for help from them should they interview his son. He didn't speak to me. But when the day came for the interview, it was me who interviewed his son. It was not planned but a mere coincidence.
To be fair, the boy performed well at the interview and I passed him. He was eventually recruited.
The IFS retired and became a taxi driver. Again it was a coincident I took his cab. We finally spoke after a couple of years. When I arrived at my destination, not only did I pay the  fare but gave him a tip.

There was a case of a chief steward who was appraised badly by me. He was not up to the mark. First class passengers complained to me about the poor service. I spoke to the chief steward concerned but he became defensive and later abusive towards me.  This guy never got promoted since.

Another steward, this time a junior one. He was spoken to by me for chewing gums and walking around the airport area with his jacket unbuttoned. When told nicely, he wasn't happy. He was hauled up to the office and given a verbal warning by his ward leader. Two weeks later, my car was splashed with paint remover.

There were many of the above cases to blog about. I believe there are still such cases now. I don't know how the cases are being handled these days.
During my time, many of my colleagues would close one eye to cases of crew being rude and ill discplined towards them. Even when the crew did not perform well they were given good appraisals. It was easier to sweep the dust under the carpet and pretended nothing bad had happened on their flights. Everyone, including the bosses would be happy when no one rock the chair.
I believe the chair has not been rocked too much even till this day. Good luck SIA!


Anonymous said...

Well Said BT - Happy Crabbing !

Anonymous said...

SIA service has been declining since people like you left BT. I was there and I know your style of working much to our admiration.

LS George said...

BT you were pleased with my performance and gave me a very good check. Coming from you was more valuable than others.I am proud of the way you blog and it is good the world knows about it.
Cheers !

boh tong said...

Thank u ppl for ur kind comments esp LS George.