Five-star pony tale is real inspiration

Some interesting motivational techniques have been bandied about over many centuries of HR evolution. But from the earliest times – when the caveman MD gave out blunt spears to under-performing mammoth hunters to make them up their game – through to the present day, a highly-motivated and productive workforce has always been the holy grail.

Guru thought he had seen it all, but, as happens every now and then, he was wrong. In a bizarre twist on company dress codes, a five-star hotel in India has asked senior staff to grow their hair and have ponytails. Senior executives of the Lemon Tree Hotel in Gur-gaon are expected to wear ponytails tied with yellow ribbon.

General manager Rahul Pandit said it was “very inspirational in the company”.

“When people say they want to get promoted, they are not saying: ‘Hey, I want the next grade’, it’s: ‘Hey, when can I actually keep a ponytail?’,” he said.

Apparently customers now find it easier to approach staff.

Now Guru is all for ponytails on female employees, and in these days of equality he shouldn’t be so suspicious of men with their hair scraped back across their heads. But Guru still can’t help but be reminded of the saying ‘under every male ponytail, there lies a horse’s arse’.

Staff woe as song remains the same
Shop workers are going stir crazy because they are being forced to listen to the same songs over and over again.

Recruitment website Retailchoice.com found that one in three shop workers has to endure the same album between six and 20 times a week, with 16% hearing the same record more than 20 times a week.

Britney Spears tops the list of the most annoying musical artists played on the UK high street. She’d best not launch into Hit me baby one more time in the near future by the sounds of it.

Out-of-office gems to get you in mood
Last week, Guru was kind enough to offer some of his personal sweetie collection (including chocolate-covered ants) in a bid to find out the worst thing HR professionals have been forced to swallow during their careers.

E-mails for the competition are coming in thick and fast, and the winner will be revealed next week. But in the meantime, here is a selection of out-of-office messages for you to savour:



  •  I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.
  • You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.
  • I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless e-mails you send me until I return from holiday on 4 April. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.
  • Thank you for your e-mail. Your credit card has been charged 5.99 for the first 10 words and 1.99 for each additional word.
  • Thank you for your message, which has been added to the queue system. You are currently in 352nd place. Expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
  • I have run away to join a different circus.
  •  I will be out of the office for the next two weeks for medical reasons. When I return, please call me ‘Margaret’ instead of ‘Steve’.

Guru wet behind ears

guruwet.jpg   Disciple Deby Linsell-Fraser, senior human resources adviser at legal publisher Sweet & Maxwell, responded to Guru’s call for pictures of people with their beloved Personnel Today in odd places. Here she is in the sea at Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia, shortly before the magazine disintegrated.



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