The Undercover Boss series from the US has worked pretty well for Channel 10, so it was only a matter of time before they looked to deliver a local iteration of this reality format. It’s not rocket surgery: The CEO/MD/Boss of a large organisation goes undercover within their business to see how the place really runs so they can seek to fix the problems or celebrate the unsung heroes championing their business.
The show’s catch cry of “Extreme times call for extreme measures” may have worked mid-GFC (when the show debuted in America), but it’s not as pertinent now. Lots of companies are back on track & delivering better results than the last two years. It’s a little over-urgent. As with the hushed voice over delivering the narration suggesting something far darker than what we’re seeing. The end ‘reveal’ is also lacking some depth: while we’re not expecting a cool million to be dropped on anyone or a new career opportunity offered, the payoffs are pretty lame when compared to how people were helped out in the US version.
In episode 1 it may have been a passing comment by Don Meij, CEO & Managing Director of Dominos Pizza, but for him to say that he’s interested to know how his busiest store manages their staff & the process is a little disturbing. The Belconnen store has been their busiest for 4 years and he’s only just wanting to know now?! Still, Don finds some great staff with great attitudes & great examples of customer service promoting his business, giving him reason to understand some of the reasons Dominos holds such a significant market share in Australia. Everybody loves Raj.
In episode 2, Peter Murray of Veolia Environmental Services manages to screw up his own recycling sorting line. I guess you can’t blame the boss. He handles it all pretty well, with good humour, but notes with horror some pretty basic gaps between expected standards & what he saw.
It won’t set the world on fire, but it’s innocent enough & not going to offend anyone. The market is also fairly diluted as with the publicity surrounding these shows will surely pique anyone’s radar when someone is coming into the organisation with a camera crew under the guise of “late career workforce changes”. Not so undercover boss.
Undercover Boss, Channel 10, Mondays 8:30pm
Image Sources: Channel 10