Yesterday, I went on an interview for a job at a manufacturer. It was obvious, and reinforced multiple times during the interview, that this place operated under the Kaizen/ lean/ continuous improvement principles. In fact, they beat you over the head with this idea when a visitor walks in the front door and sees:
There’s no big desk, potted plants, or cushy chairs. There is, however, a note on a door that says, “Follow the instructions by the phone.” There is indeed a phone, and a phone list. Visitors are instructed to call the extension of the person they have an appointment with. If you don’t have an appointment? Leave a card. And then get out.
As a job seeker, I was startled by this set up. I’m used to wandering in and having a receptionist there to schmooze with. Not in this place; it was as if I was given an efficiency and competency test right there in the lobby. I was perplexed until I had a chance to think about the experience.
And then I loved it. These folks were saving 30K on someone’s salary, and another 4K on benefits. Visitors were doing the “recepting” for themselves, not unlike checking out your own groceries at the supermarket. I know, there’s something to be said for first impressions, and “visitor experience.” But you know, not having someone there wasn’t a big deal. Really.
Now, let’s fast-forward to a meeting I attended at my temp gig today. No agenda was offered before the meeting. Half the time was taken up by going over handouts. There was a thrilling ten minute discussion about my work hours, because, you know, when the temp works is darned important.
That was not a productive use of anyone’s time. It was an hour that I could have been accomplishing other tasks, and I was annoyed.
I wasn’t sure that I liked the whole culture of the employer I visited yesterday, until I had a chance to get irritated by my current situation today. Those folks, they may be onto something.