Today I write about an incident that happened to a famous foods company in Mexico. La Costeña is a foods company with a history of more than 90 years in Mexico. Famous for being one of the first to market chilies in the early 1920´s.
In the past days has been on the public eye, not for the quality or the taste of its canned chilies, but because a photograph. A couple of temporary associates took a picture unloading trucks. The trucks contained chilies, and in the picture can be seen two associates, one of them seems to be peeing on the products. The picture isn´t explicit as this guy was giving his back and cannot tell wether he was doing it or not. but his pants where down.
The story is that this picture got to the social media, where it went viral and of course, the company was under scrutiny. Obviously the company fired the two workers, but what is worth to analyse are the responses his president and CEO gave today to a Radio show in the morning.
Rafael Celorio, president and CEO of the company, gave an interview this morning where he talked about the pictures and provided his points of view on this matter.
He explained that those workers where temporary. This time of the year, he continued explaining, the company hires temporary workers to unload the extraordinary amount of products the plant receives everyday.
Celorio said that the recruiting process was really good. That they do hire workers based on recommendations given by permanent workers in the plant. And he continued explaining that during this time of the year, they have to hire many workers, and many of them stay in the plant, and others come back the next year.
What bothers me about this, is the fact that the company blames the workers and plays the old game of two bad apples. In a separate declaration the public affairs manager , said that in the plant work 3000 workers, meaning it was impossible to watch everybody at every moment. To my understanding and view, the company lost a precious opportunity to recognize the opportunities within their recruiting process and the root cause as to why, two temporary workers would do something like that. What could have happened that encourage those associates to behave like that. The easy part is to blame the bad apples. The hard one, is to recognize and find why those bad apples got mixed with the good ones.
Companies that hire temporary workers know in advance that hiring temps, is a risk. How can those companies minimize those risks? How can those companies improve the systems where situations like that, simply cannot happened?
Where was the supervisor? Too many workers to supervise? Was the plant running understaffed? Those are the kind of questions the company should ask themselves. How the system allowed that to happened? Of course, the system, is what should be reviewed.
Temporary workers deserve the same respect as permanent. They should be trained, coached and empowered too. It is worth to follow the same process to recruit a temporary worker, compared to a permanent one. Since those workers for a given period of time will impact the company the same as a permanent worker. I´m not saying this wasn´t the case. I criticize how hard it is for companies accept there are opportunities to improve. Especially in public.
Thank´s for reading, would love to read your thoughts.