Saturday, 13 November 2010

S.P.A.N.K.S. (call centre motivation) Part 2

Caroline knew she would have to get up and go to work, much as she would rather stay in bed and have a "duvet day". She pulled back the bed covers and padded naked along to her bathroom, the cold water of the shower waking her completely. Yes it was not all some bad dream, she was really going to have to step up onto the podium this afternoon and accept a bare bottomed paddling in front of all her workmates. Worst of all she couldn't work out why, as last month like all the previous six she had hit all her sales targets. "Why did they have to change it?" she muttered to herself, as she patted her bare legs dry with a towel. What Caroline did not know was that the whole S.P.A.N.K.S initiative had been wrongly implemented from the start by the British office. The idea of it was to build better team understanding and moral, in previous places where it had been implemented they had shown a marked increase in team performance, but not so in Britain. One of the young executives from head office was flown over to see exactly what the problems in England were. At twenty four years of age, Laila Toi was, like Caroline, a rising star in the company but at a much, much, higher level. When Laila flew into England, Jane Murray was rather perplexed that instead of going to her hotel, she had insisted on going straight to the office and getting down to work. Not a good sign when your jet-lagged boss decides that she can't wait another day to get started. Obviously this was not just going to be a quick look around, and a nice dinner type of meeting. Jane, the forty five year old head of the British office was rightly worried about Ms.Toi's arrival. She had phoned her the day before, and had requested all paperwork and emails reference the S.P.A.N.K.S program to be available for her, and she made it clear that she wanted all of it. Jane met Laila at the reception area, and asked if she would like to have coffee before adjourning to her office, and which of the management team she would like to have in on the meeting.

"No. Get coffee sent to the room, I don't need to see any of your team this will be a one-on-one meeting." she replied brusquely. On getting into the office, Laila irked Jane further by taking the seat behind the desk, Jane's seat. "You have all paperwork I asked for?" demanded the small black haired girl.

Jane nodded, the rage in her growing at this fresh out of university chit of a girl, and handed her two large manila folders. One of the folders contained rather contentious photos taken at one of the punishment sessions. Taken without the girls knowledge.
Laila put on a pair of reading glasses and started to work, silently. Jane watched as Laila seemed to read each paper a couple of times, as she worked through the first file her face seemed to darken into a puzzled brood. The only thing she said to Jane's confusion was. "Sandbagging." Then she opened the second folder, the one containing among other documentation the photos. If she had looked in a dark mood before, now she seemed to be raging. She laid back in Jane's chair, closed her eyes for about thirty seconds in deep concentration, then took three very deep breaths opened her eyes and started to speak. "Somewhere this program has gone wrong," she said, her voice calm and even, "the idea is to form stronger teams, where the better sales staff drive along the not so good ones. The four teams compete against each other, as you would say a friendly rivalry. The losing team if they have not achieved one hundred percent of target will risk a team member receiving corporal punishment."

Jane nodded, confident that was how she had implemented the program.

"The results are measured as a team effort, all sales are grouped together and an average taken."

Again Jane nodded.

"The lowest scoring team, will then have a member picked from them at random. Who will be the one to as the Americans say -take one for the team- irrespective of their own personal sales."

Jane could feel her face flush.

"This system discourages sales staff from sandbagging their results by holding back leads back for the following month. It also encourages them to make every sale that they can each month. I would expect some of your top closers to be hitting one hundred and fifteen percent of their targets at least, more likely one hundred and thirty. None ever go more than one hundred and five."

Jane nodded realising her mistake.

"Take this girl for example, she hits one hundred and three percent of her target last month. Already only a week and a half into this month she has reached forty seven percent of her target, she is sandbagging, and she is in the bottom team. If she had hit even only an extra twenty percent her team would have been second."

Jane looked at the sales listings, and saw Caroline's name highlighted.

"Can you now understand how this system is supposed to work?"

Jane nodded and cleared her throat to speak, but was cut off as Laila continued her monologue.

"Also you seemed to have turned the punishments into some sort of sideshow to entertain the staff with. You used psychological profiling questionnaires to enlist your punishers. Do you know what happens when you do that?"

Jane shook her head.

"You end up with people with a certain mindset. Some people, both male and female have a... lets just say fascination with the giving and receiving of corporal punishment. That is why we always recommend that the senior staff carry out the required chastisements. So bearing all this in mind, and the mad inclusion of photographic evidence of something that the company would like to remain in house. I would suggest that you go and bring the paddle in from where ever it is kept."

"W... what... why do you need the paddle?" Jane managed to finally stutter out.

"So you can learn about corporal punishment first hand," Laila said flatly, "as from now on, if you want to keep your job. You will be the only one to administer the punishments. To give you the right motivation, and to teach you for this inept usage of a highly valued program you will also have a taste of the punishment you will be administrating."

"You can't be serious!"

"Never more so, I suggest you give your PA an early finish, as I imagine the you will want to keep this between the two of us?"
Jane rose from her seat and set off to retrieve the paddle, on her way she told Eileen, her PA, to have the rest of the day off. If the walk down the corridor to get the paddle had seemed long, the walk back clutching the paddle in her hand felt longer. She couldn't believe that this was happening. In a couple of minutes time, a girl young enough to be her daughter was about to spank her bottom. She was going to have to bare her bottom, and bend over like a naughty schoolgirl, while this young kid laid into her with the paddle.
When she re-entered her office, Laila had closed the blinds and was now standing in the middle of the room, her jacket removed and the sleeves on her blouse rolled up pat her elbows. All sorts of things ran through Jane's mind, what knickers did she put on this morning, how is she going to explain the bruising when she gets home, will it hurt, but most of all why did she feel sexually excited by it? She handed the paddle to Laila, half hoping it was all a bluff, half praying that it wasn't.

"Trousers and panties down please." Laila said, confirming that it was no bluff.

Jane unzipped her trousers, and lowered them along with her knickers in one movement, then unbidden bent across her now cleared desk. If the idea of receiving corporal punishment excited her, the reality didn't. The first swat came down on her catching both of her bottom cheeks, but more so the right side. The initial impact stung, but not to badly. Then it seeped in, the heat seemed to spread slowly the pain gathering in intensity, then just as it seemed to level out. THWACK! The second blow landed. How many will there be? Jane wondered gritting her teeth, waiting for the burning to dissipate. THWACK! Came the third.

"Good girl, Jane. You take this very well, we are halfway now."

So it will be six, Jane thought. Worse than the pain though was this slip of a thing calling her a "good girl". It was bad enough having her hitting her bare bottom, without her patronising talking. Laila then moved around to the other side of Jane for the final three strokes. THWACK! The fourth one came down, Jane's eyes were now misting over, tears were not far away. THWACK! The fifth landed, and Jane sobbed. THWACK! The sixth was delivered, with added venom.

"So that is it, Jane, we expect you to implement the suitable changes." Laila said as the crying Jane struggled to pull up her underwear and trousers without further agitating her bruised behind. "I will be back in three months, and I expect a huge change in the sales turnover, then perhaps the paddle will not be needed so often. For either you or your staff."

With Jane still trying to make herself decent Laila left the office for her hotel, and a well earned sleep. Through still teary eyes Jane looked at last months sales figures, and at Caroline's highlighted name, her fate was sealed.

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