CEO throws spanner in works of Pato’s favouritism plot
An early voluntary retirement of the Senior Transport Officer (STO) after a redundancy exercise created a vacancy in Pato’s logistics department.
Three supervisors pit each other for the job, however, Pato went ahead to demand the position he advertised in the three main dailies and on Trulogic’s website.
His argument was that Trulogic had become since the company had now become a recognized brand, they should cast the net far and wide for the best candidate.
In his fertile imagination, Pato’s intention was to get a candidate who would tilt the representation of other counties, in the middle management level of his department. He was also preparing to play the gender parity card to favour a preferred external candidate.
Another thing, none of the three internal candidates had undergone any leadership and management courses and the former STO mentor did not train them on-the-job because he feared that they could oust him from his position. This is because they had better papers than the previous holder, and were in Pato’s good books.
As the day for interview approached, the three supervisors were not seeing each other eye-to-eye, a factor that affected their performance at work. It was suspected that one of them had recently gone to his rural area to be “treated” to succeed in the forthcoming interview.
HR was surprised to receive 10 applications only from a labour market that is flooded with jobseekers. Out of the 10 applicants, five were shortlisted to face a four-member interview panel. Pato was to chair the panel assisted by Phyllice Nsao, the HR Manager, the Senior Drivers Officer, the Senior Administration Manager and a Transport Management Trainer from AA, Kenya. The interviews were scheduled in such a way that the internal and external candidates were alternatively interviewed.
The first candidate was Mercy Laito. She is one of the long serving supervisors whose promotion to middle management had been elusive for a while. She always spoke her mind especially on Pato’s erratic approach to staff matters.
Phyllice asked her: “Your department has many disciplinary cases against drivers. How do you intend to reduce them.” She said there is the need to enhance trust in the department and engage drivers with respect and dignity. She explained the required disciplinary steps so clearly that Phyllice wished she was one of her officers.
On transport management, Mercy informed the AA Transport Management Trainer that although many operations in the sector had been digitised, Trulogic was not keen to invest in transport technology compared to competitors. At the close of the interview, she blew her trumpet on how she saved the company cash on transport systems she had introduced. Throughout her interview, Pato was dump-folded praying that she does not outshine his external candidate.
Pato scared as Mercy shines
Other panel members were so impressed with Mercy that they wished she was the last candidate to be interviewed.
Beatrice Ketawa who worked with Trulogic’s main competitors was one of the external candidates, and she had comparatively managed a bigger fleet of delivery vans. She held a Diploma in Transport Management and boasted of five years working experience as a Senior Transport Manager (STM).
No sooner had Pato introduced the interview panel members than he asked her: “Sorry to ask you at this stage. We advertised for the position of Senior Transport Officer. You are already STM. Are you seeking for a demotion?” Panel members broke into laughter as Beatrice was composing herself to answer the question.
She said the duties and responsibilities of the STO were far superior compared to those of her current job. At the end of her interview, most panel members rated her as a strong candidate to watch out for in the finals.
Tito Kegiro, one of the supervisors, was the last candidate. Following his introduction to the panel members, the Senior Drivers Officer took centre stage asking: “What is the vision, mission and values of Trulogic?” Tito couldn’t recall them, so he said: “I see those items at the main reception wall. All along I have been thinking that they are meant for visitors and not staff.”
The next question was on what he could do to stop drivers from siphoning fuel to which Tito said there was need to seal the vans’ petrol tanks and punish the drivers who broke the seals.
Pato was seen nodding his head in agreement but he inwardly felt bitter that he had never considered that solution.
The Senior Administration asked Tito the last question: “What documentation is required for effective delivery of luggages.”
Tito the fumbler
Agains Tito fumbled until Pato said: “When you do not have an answer, say so to save the panel’s interview time.”
After the ratings of the eight candidates were processed, it turned out that Beatrice’s overall score was 42.5 out of 50 while that of Mercy was 42.3. Since the panel was unable to break the tie, Pato and Phyllice left the board room to seek guidance from CEO Ben.
Without mincing his words, Ben told them: “This is not a matter for tossing a coin, head to win or tail to lose. At senior management echelons, it is sometimes acceptable to select a highly qualified outsider instead of a weak internal candidate. For a vacant CEO position, the board can decide either way depending on their strategic objectives mingled with interests of various stakeholders . However, at middle management level, it is preferable to pick “one of your own’ from the talent pipeline as a means of boosting employees’ morale.”
This shocker made Pato leave the meeting a disappointed man since his Mercy had taken it, effectively locking out his candidate, Beatrice.
The writer is HRD Consultant and Author of Transition into Retirement, [email protected]