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  • The Storyteller

The Driver Who Would Job-Hop for $50

During one of my earlier trips to lovely Mauritius, I had a somewhat uncomfortable conversation with the hotel driver who picked me from the airport. It was more of a monologue, but I admitted I didn't stop him from going on - well, not for the first 40 minutes of the journey. Then I told him I was going to close my eyes to take a nap, before realising we were reaching within minutes.


The driver spoke about the guests with whom he had kept in contact, of how one had gifted his son with a computer and another who sent money and Christmas presents to his family each year. I started to get uncomfortable, wondering if he was trying to pass a hint. Perhaps a big tip at the end of the ride?


At one point, the driver said that there were many hotels on the island, with many new openings and that if another property were to offer him $50 more per month, he would move on – for sure, he emphasised. (To put in context, it was less than 5% what he was currently getting.)


I didn't know what to make of all his speech, except that it was highly inappropriate and unprofessional conduct, regardless of his circumstances and thoughts of his company. My thoughts switched to the hotel - despite its luxury positioning, glossy branding and all, it is sad that a team member was feeling and behaving this way. I was torn between feeling empathy towards the employee who was clearly unhappy at work - hopefully he was just an anomaly - or the management, who didn't have a clue how their well-constructed hotel image was being ripped apart by such negative comments. The worst would be that they do know about employees’ dissatisfaction, but not giving two hoots to do anything about it.


As I stepped out of the vehicle, I thought about all the other smiling faces who were welcoming me. Did any of them feel the same way as the driver? My first impression of the place had been tainted, and it would now take a lot more to reverse it and leave with positive after-thoughts.


Service Bank: Minus 5


Reflective thoughts: Do you know who on your team, if any, could be damaging for your brand reputation? How are you tackling this issue and are these short or long-term solutions? What have been proven to work?

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