I came across an episode of “Undercover Boss” this past Friday and was completely taken aback: How did I NOT know about this show??
The series is based on a British show of the same name. Each episode follows an individual with an upper management or executive position at a prominent business, who goes undercover as an entry-level employee in order to assess the issues of the company.
The executive alters their appearance and assumes an alias as an entry level worker in need of training by a regular employee. In order to account for the presence of the camera crews, The regular employees are told that the training session is being filmed as part of a documentary about entry-level workers. The boss, then, spends approximately one week undercover, working at a different area of the company each day. This allows the executive to spend time with the employee in a way in which he or she never would have before. At the end of the program, the "undercover boss" reveals his or her identity, rewards the hard working employees with incentives and offers training or better working conditions to those whose work was not up to par.
Now, I know that this is reality television, thus how much truth is actually shown is arbitrary. I am also aware that the show, just like any other, does play on the emotions of the viewer (think lots of tears and hugs, which many believe have no place in business, but more on that in a future post).
However, the series truly is fascinating. This is the first time that I have seen work displayed in such a manner on television. The executive, in his or her quest to improve the company, seems real. The employees, in their every day struggles as a defining part of the overall structure of the company, seem real. Therefore, whether you are a CEO at the top of the ranks or a worker at the bottom of the chain, there is something that you can learn from this program.
The show airs on Fridays at 8pm on CBS. Watch a clip bellow: