I love it when bosses hear the truth from their staff

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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So who has seen one of the Undercover Boss programmes on TV? It’s pretty much a worldwide franchise now, with shows beamed into my living room from the USA, Canada and, of course, our fair isle. Which is great as Channel Four is where the idea started.

For those who haven’t seen it, the premise is that a boss goes undercover in his/her own company to find out the truth about what it’s like.

I do enjoy this type of documentary. Something always appeals to me, whether it’s the subterfuge or the just deserts at the end for the employees who have shown themselves to be less than their job description entails (I love a good disgrace).

But mostly it’s the confusion of chief execs who, when faced with the black-and-white opinions of employees unfettered by ‘bigger pictures’ of international markets and such (and who therefore tell it like it is), can’t believe what they are hearing.

Lately however, I’m confused by the episodes that I’ve seen which are rewarding employees for struggling in their private lives, for example with a disabled relative.

Holidays are dished out (especially in the USA version) because someone is kind in their home life.

Don’t get me wrong, I sympathise with all those who struggle in their lives. It just seems that the rewards for good work in this show have become tangled up in rewarding someone for being faced with a problem. Which is not, I thought, what the show is about.

What is very clear, though, is the intention behind wearelucky.com. The chap that runs this ‘campaign’ gives out £1,000 a day to people that he spots doing something kind and asks them to spend it well. This is not about looking good in front of the cameras, it’s about a very rich man getting rid of his extra cash.

His website is full of stories of people who have accepted his money and then spent it on ‘good’ things.

Of course being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing to get offered the chance to spend £1,000 to do ‘good’ would mean that you are very, very lucky. Especially as, being a rich man, he travels a lot.