Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What is the true cost of an employee?

I was sitting with my PA today going through a list of outstanding to-do items.

I asked, "Why is my dry-cleaning taking so long?"

"What dry-cleaning?" she asked.

"The dry cleaning I left in the black refuse back next to your desk with the note," I said.

"IITQ, there was nothing here."

"You're kidding me. Did the maid throw anything out?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. I don't think so. I walked in with her and there was nothing next to my desk," she said.

"Fuck. Somebody has stolen the bag. Get A to check the access control to see who has been in the office," I said. "This is a disaster. I think there was an Armani suit in the bag with shirts and ties - that's about R30 000 worth of laundry."

Later that evening I got a call.

"IITQ, I've been retracing my steps and I think I may have thrown that bag out..."

My PA wanted my bank details. She wanted to go and organise a loan to pay me back. I said, "Wait, let me go home and see exactly what was in the bag. Besides, its a mistake. I'm not going to make you take a loan."


4 imported shirts
2 imported silk ties
2 pairs pants for a suit - local, not Armani

Small mercies. Not an Armani suit, so about R14 000 damage rather than R30 000.

I wanted to cry. What a waste. I've been so careful with cash. I hate wasting money.

Some of it was my mistake. Perhaps I could of put the clothes outside the bag for her to see. But she was expecting the dry cleaning and a black bag placed next to her chair should have merited an investigation.

It made me think of the true cost of employees. Idle time, telephone, bandwidth, food, etc. And screw ups.

What to do about the fuck up. No, I'm not going to make her take a loan. Or dock her salary. I'll probably make her work in some extra time.

And it's all relative. My gran is really old and is sicker than she should be because of nursing and doctor tardiness. She's frail and a screw up could mean she dies. Big picture stuff.

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