Three managers walk into the bar [always a good place to start]. They all have gender-neutral names, so I’ll leave you to work out whether they may be male or female. Not that it matters in this context.
Frankie gets there first. “Hi. Large glass of wine please. What do you have?” The young barman pauses, and replies “We have…red…or…um…white. Um…oh, and pink”. Frankie thinks, and orders a beer. Its a corporate training centre. What can you expect? A wine list?
“Hey, Frankie – I’ll get that. And another please barman” says Sam. “It’s good to see you’re here representing HR – we don’t get chance to talk in the office”.
“Thanks Sam. Well I do walk up to your floor, but you’re never at your desk. And booking a meeting room is an operation in itself. I blame FM [smiles]” says Frankie, as the barman opens two bottles of bland EuroFizz. There’s no real ale either, as usual.
Sam thinks quickly, “Well, there’s the thing, you see. If HR didn’t insist on everyone having a desk, we would be able to create more meeting rooms…most of my team, especially me, are rarely at our desks [smiles back]”. Touché. Or touchy. This has been a battle ground for a while.
“Anyway, that’s why we are here, right?” says Sam, “to discuss what successful Workplace Management means to the Group Companies, who should lead it forward, and how…should be interesting”.
Jules jumps in, now off the mobile, “Hi Sam. Hi…Frankie? We haven’t met. I’m Head of Corporate Real Estate…CRE on your agenda. Good to see HR is here”.
Sam looks surprised, “Hey, Jules. I didn’t realise you hadn’t met Frankie. I thought you would be up in HR all the time, with your headcount planning files”. Jules smirks, with a knowing look towards Sam. Both know very well that HR is a net receiver of information, and has the reputation for never having current data.
Frankie knows. “That’s why the HR Director called this Away Day, of course. So we actually talk to each other, and share information and experiences”. Jules smiles, “Yeess…mmm…I read that on the agenda too. I sniff an ulterior agenda, not written on that paper there Frankie”.
Frankie knows, again. The HR Director is on the Group ExCo. But CRE reports into Finance, not even to the FD, but one level down. And FM reports into CRE, as it has done for many years, since the Group ‘centre’ was formed. The HR Director has initiated this Away Day. But only Frankie knows why.
“Jules, you old cynic. We just want to share information and experiences.” says Frankie.
Sam chips in, “Its unusual, that’s all. We usually have an Away Day with just CRE, FM and a few people from Finance. We may get a pitch from HR, but that’s usually about it. …I mean, it’s good. But, we were surprised that this is being led by the HR Director.”
Frankie is thinking how to reply, without giving away tomorrow’s opening speech by the boss. But, avoids it with a quip resembling Theresa May, “It’s about strong and stable governance!” she smiles.
Jules snorts, “It’s gunna be a beautiful thing!” in a bad Donald Trump impression.
They all laugh, and move the conversation onto politics. But Frankie knows. Its not going to be a beautiful thing. At least, not for Jules and Sam.